Srila Prabhupada – At various times people have called him a scholar, a philosopher, a cultural ambassador, a prolific author, a religious leader, a spiritual teacher, a social critic, and a holy man. In truth, he was all these things and more. He is the founder-preceptor of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known as the "Hare Krishna Movement".
At the ripe old age of 69, A. C. Bhaktivedanta swami prabhupada
boarded an Indian steam ship bound for America. Like so many who have come
before, He arrived only with a few dollars, a couple of trunks, and a dream.
But, His was not the usual dream of freedom, fame, or fortune.
He was not one of those modern entrepreneurial gurus who come to the west with slickly packaged, watered down versions of eastern spirituality, promising instant well being to anyone who could spare fifty dollars. Srila Prabhupada was rather a true holy man, one who could be called an acharya, which means a spiritual master who teaches by example.
Srila Prabhupada had a bold vision for the re-spiritualization of the entire western world. He sought to transform the predominantly material consciousness of the west, by transplanting the ancient religious traditions of India. First to America and then throughout the world. The seeds that this elderly saffron robed holy man planted took immediate root and blossomed into an international spiritual movement that profoundly influenced the lives of millions of people. In just 12 years, from 1965 until he passed away in 1977, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe 14 times, preaching, gathering disciples, and opening hundreds of centers for the study and practice Krsna consciousness.
In that time, He also managed to write and publish over eighty volumes of translation and commentary on the sacred texts that form the basis of Indian religious and philosophical thought, winning lavish praise from the academic community for his dedicated scholarship and profound insight. They became standard texts in almost every university and library around the world.
Today, his books are available in over thirty languages and are being printed at the phenomenal rate of twenty million copies a year.
Srila Prabhupada had also succeeded in transmitting the profound wisdom of the ancient Vedic culture in a form and style that was clearly understandable to the average modern man. He could somehow explain even the most difficult philosophical concepts to people who were totally unfamiliar with the complex Indian religious tradition.
All of Srila Prabhupada’s accomplishments were the result of his single-minded determination to make the science of self-realization both understandable and achievable even in a world increasingly consumed by material values.
Another side of why Srila Prabhupada succeeded is because of his life and personality. They were the epitome of the ideal he set forth for others to follow. His remarkable success was in great part due to an engaging personal warmth, a rare blend of deep moral strength and quiet humility that inspired both reverence and affection. He could offer to everyone he met not just a theory, but a practical way of living. At every moment, he was a true acharya, a professor emeritus in the science of self-realization who teaches others by example.