Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Average: 3.9 (91 votes)
Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Abhay Charan De, Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Hare Krishna Movement, Gaudiya Vaishnavism
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
September 1, 1896
Place of Birth: 
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
November 14, 1977


Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was a Gaudiya Vaishnava teacher and the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) commonly known as the "Hare Krishna Movement".

His mission was to propagate the Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a form of Hinduism that had been taught to him by his guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, throughout the world.

Born Abhay Charan De in Calcutta, he was educated at the prestigious local Scottish Churches College. Before adopting the life of a pious renunciant (vanaprastha) in 1950, he was married with children and owned a small pharmaceutical business.

In 1959 he took a vow of renunciation (sannyasa) and started writing commentaries on Vaishnava scriptures.

In his later years, as a traveling Vaishnava monk, he became an influential communicator of Gaudiya Vaishnava theology to India and specifically to the West through his leadership of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), founded in 1966. As the founder of ISKCON, he emerged as a major figure of the Western counterculture, initiating thousands of young Americans.

Despite attacks from anti-cult groups, he received a favorable welcome from many religious scholars, such as J. Stillson Judah, Harvey Cox, Larry Shinn and Thomas Hopkins, who praised Prabhupada's translations and defended the group against distorted media images and misinterpretations. In respect to his achievements, religious leaders from other Gaudiya Vaishnava movements have also given him credit.

He was exceptionally charismatic in the sense that he was successful in acquiring so many followers in the United States, Europe, India and elsewhere. After his death in 1977, ISKCON, the society he founded based on a type of Hindu Krishnaism using the Bhagavata Purana as a central scripture, continued to grow and is respected in India, though there have been squabbles about leadership among his followers.

Prabhupada was sometimes criticized by Neo-Vedantic relativistic philosophers, mainly due to uncompromising and 'unkind remarks' against non-Vaishnava systems, particularly 'the mayavadis'. This may be taken in the perspective of general underlying hostility of Neo-Vedantists towards bhakti, devotion, and orthodox Vedanta system presented by Prabhupada being in conflict with heterodox views of mayavadis.


Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada followed the Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a form of Hinduism that had been taught to him by his guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura.

Gaudiya Vaishnavism (also known as Chaitanya Vaishnavism) is a Vaishnava religious movement founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in India in the 16th century.

"Gaudiya" refers to Gauḍadeśa (present day Bengal/Bangladesh) with Vaishnavism meaning the worship of Vishnu.

Its philosophical basis is primarily that of the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana, as well as other Puranic scriptures and Upanishads such as the Isha Upanishad, Gopala Tapani Upanishad, and Kali Santarana Upanishad.

The focus of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is the devotional worship (bhakti) of Radha and Krishna, and their many divine incarnations as the supreme forms of God, svayam bhagavan.

Most popularly this worship takes the form of singing Radha and Krishna's holy names, such as 'Hare', 'Krishna' and 'Rama', (most commonly in the form of the Hare Krishna mantra) which is known as kirtan.

The movement is sometimes referred to as the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya referring to its traditional origins in the disciplic succession of spiritual masters (gurus) believed to originate from Brahma.

It classifies itself as a monotheistic tradition, seeing the many forms of Vishnu as expansions or incarnations of the one Supreme God, adipurusha.

Human life is simply awarded to a living entity so that he can realize his spiritual identity and his permanent source of happiness.

- Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



ISKCON was formed to spread the practice of bhakti yoga (devotion to God), in which aspirant devotees (bhaktas) dedicate their thoughts and actions towards pleasing the Supreme Lord, Krishna (seen as non-different from God).

ISKCON today is a worldwide confederation of more than 400 centres, including 60 farm communities, some aiming for self-sufficiency, 50 schools and 90 restaurants.

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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

Easy Journey to Other Planets

by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


Encompassing the systems of sankhya, astanga and bhakti, this absorbing publication treats the science of yoga, particularly in its application to out-of-body travel.

One can attempt to go to any planet he desires, but this is only possible by psychological changes in the mind or by yogic powers. Mind is the nucleus of the material body. Anyone who trains the mind to turn from matter to the spiritual form of the Godhead by performance of bhakti-yoga can easily attain the kingdom of God in the anti-material sky. Of this there is no doubt.

Pro Opinions

Saint the Krishna devotee


Krishna devotion was preached perfectly by Swami Prabhupada through his prolific writings and media and also through his traveling at various places.

There Was No One Like Him

babagirl8's picture

I started reading Srila Prabhupada'a books at age 12...Although I never got the chance to meet him personally,he remains a huge influence in my life.His teachings are so straightforward--there are no

sribonatar's picture

me too

Great sage. Once again the organization deteriorated once he was gone.

sribonatar | Thu, 01/14/2010 - 21:37
Prabir Chakraborty's picture

I agree

I fully agree with the views expressed, Prabhupada's dream was to build a world signifying with an umbrella under which entire world can stay, but his disciples quarrel among themselves and divided according to their own gains and whims.

Prabir Chakraborty | Fri, 09/02/2011 - 10:58

Con Opinions

Iskcon Temple

yashtraveler's picture

All Gurus at ISKCON Temple are very good teacher.

sisi's picture

So then why did you post a

So then why did you post a con opinion and not pro?

sisi | Thu, 07/07/2011 - 04:44
yashtraveler's picture

I am bit confse with tht option

That option is something new for me....But at-least my message is pass and impact is u...

yashtraveler | Thu, 07/07/2011 - 05:18

One home for entire world?

Prabir Chakraborty's picture

Prabhupada wanted to build a home, where entire world can live. But his followers cannot maintain his ideology.