He appeared as Abhay Charan De in 1896 at Calcutta, India. An astrologer who read his horoscope made his family jubilant by saying: “When this child reaches the age of seventy, he would cross the ocean, become a great exponent of religion, and open a hundred and eight temples”
It was in a meeting in 1922, with Bhaktisiddhant Saraswati Thakur, a prominent devotional scholar, where the prophecy started taking shape. Bhaktisiddhant Saraswati Thakur motivated him to dedicate his life in teaching Vedic knowledge and to preach Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s message of Krishna Consciousness throughout the English World. Then, in 1933, Srila Prabhupada became Bhaktisiddhant Saraswati Thakur’s formally initiated disciple and resolved to carry out his spiritual master’s request.
With the passing years, the 1st edition of the English fortnightly magazine, ‘Back to Godhead’ came up in the year 1944, started by Srila Prabhupada independently. In 1947, Srila Prabhupada was honoured with the title ‘Bhaktivedanta’ by Gaudiya Vaishnava Society.
After taking Vaishnava renunciation vows in 1959, Srila Prabhupada started devoting more time in writing and studying. He went to live in Vrindavana dham where he stayed in the historic temple of Radha-Damodara. Staying at Radha-Damodara temple, Srila Prabhupada started with his work of translating the Eighteen thousand versed Srimad Bhagvatam.
Struggling for years within India, with a strong resolve of fulfilling his master’s instructions, His Divine Grace, in 1965, boarded a steamship named ‘Jaladuta’ from Calcutta to New York. All he took with him were few dollars and a trunk of his Bhagvatam commentaries in English. Despite of sea sickness, vomiting, dizziness and two severe heart attacks on this journey, Lord Krishna gave him the courage to continue his journey. It was in the year of 1966 that after facing so many hardships, ISKCON was established.
Over the following years, his continuing leadership role took him around the World several times, setting up temples and communities in all the major continents of this World. People from different walks and fashions of life came forward to accept his message and helped him in establishing publishing houses and Educational institutions around the world. Presently the World’s largest Vegetarian Food Relief Program-‘The Hare Krishna-Food for life’ was started by Srila Prabhupada.
An aspiration to nurture India with the roots of Krishna Consciousness made Srila Prabhupada return several times, as he sparked a revival in the Vaishnava tradition by opening dozens of temples, including large centers in the holy towns of Vrindavana and Mayapura.
Regarded as a genuine and scholarly teacher of Bhakti, Srila Prabhupada wrote elaborate purports and transliterations of numerous Vedic scriptures, and many scholars and professors who met him became familiar with his work and continued to use Srila Prabhupada’s books as standard university texts. Perhaps, Srila Prabhupada’s most significant contribution is his books. He authored over seventy volumes on Bhakti Yoga, which are highly respected for their authority, depth, clarity, and fidelity to tradition. His writings have been translated into seventy-six languages. His most prominent works include Bhagwad Gita-As it is, the sixteen volume Srimad Bhagwatam and the nine volume Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita. This authoritative yet down-to-earth presentation of the continues to inspire the audiences worldwide.
Srila Prabhupada left his body in 1977 among his loving disciples, who continue to take forward his mission today. Before his departure to Goloka-Dham, Srila Prabbhupada had made ISKCON an internationally known proclamation of Vaishnavism.