Mahanidhi Swami

In the following dialogue with a disciple, Srila Prabhupada personally reveals the unique identity and the glories of visiting, living in and bathing in Sri Radha-kunda.

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, of the many holy places in Vraja Mandala like Mathura, Vrindavana, Varsana, Nandagrama and Govardhana—which is the topmost place?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Radha-kunda is superior to all!”

  1. Dasa: What makes Radha-kunda so special and superior Srila Prabhupada?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Because it is there [at Radha-kunda] that love of Krishna overflows!”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, if a mature devotee wants to live somewhere in Vraja Mandala, where should stay?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Advanced devotees prefer to reside at Radha-kunda.”

  1. Dasa: Why is that Srila Prabhupada?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Because this place [Radha-kunda] is the site of many memories of the eternal loving affairs between Krishna and Radharani (rati-vilasa).

  1. Dasa: Can you say more about why Radha-kunda is so glorious, Srila Prabhupada?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Why is Radha-kunda so exalted? The lake is so exalted because it belongs to Srimati Radharani, and among all the gopis, Radharani is the most beloved of Krishna.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, what does Bhagavan Sri Krishna think of Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Sri Radha-kunda is also described by great sages as the lake that is as dear to Krishna as Radha Herself. Indeed, Krishna’s love for Radha-kunda and Srimati Radharani is the same in all respects!”

  1. Dasa: Wow! That’s amazing Srila Prabhupada, I never knew that Radha-kunda was so special and dear to Krishna. Srila Prabhupada is there any limit to the glories of this most wonderful and sacred place?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “There is no limit to the glory of Sri Radha-kunda.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, why does Sri Rupa Gosvami glorify Radha-kunda so much?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Sri Rupa Gosvami has given much stress to Radha-kunda because of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s desire to find it.”

  1. Dasa: So, Srila Prabhupada, since we are Gaudiya Vaisnavas and worshipers of Mahaprabhu, does this mean that we should live at Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “[Of course] Who, then, would give up Radha-kunda and try to reside elsewhere? No person with transcendental intelligence would do so.”

  1. Dasa: “So what you’re saying Srila Prabhupada is that an intelligent, mature devotee should live at Radha-kunda and worship Radha-Krishna in order to attain spiritual perfection?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Living entities who are eager to return home to the transcendental kingdom of God, Goloka Vrindavana, by means of attaining their spiritual bodies (siddha-deha) SHOULD LIVE AT RADHA KUNDA, take shelter of the confidential serving maids of Sri Radha, and under their direction engage constantly in Her service.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, are there any special benefits of bathing in Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “It is stated that a devotee will at once develop pure love of Krishna in the wake of the gopis if he once takes a bath in Radha-kunda. If one bathes even once, he can develop his transcendental love for Krishna, exactly as the gopis did.”

  1. Dasa: But Srila Prabhupada, many devotees are confused about this point. So is it okay to bathe in Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “Sri Rupa Gosvami recommends that even if one cannot live permanently on the banks of Radha-kunda, he should at least TAKE A BATH in the lake AS MANY TIMES AS POSSIBLE! This is a most important item in the execution of devotional service.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, Can you say anything more about bathing in Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “One should bathe there regularly and give up all material conceptions, taking shelter of Sri Radha and Her assistant gopis.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, it seems you are saying that devotees should bathe in Radha-kunda and also live in Radha-kunda. Is that right?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “[Yes!] It is also recommended that ONE SHOULD LIVE on the banks of Radha-kunda and should be absorbed in the loving service of the Lord.

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, these days we see many devotees serving Radha-kunda in various ways like doing daily parikrama, offering ghee lamps, sweeping the steps and cleaning the sacred waters. Srila Prabhupada, can you say something about the benefits of serving Radha-kunda?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “By serving Radha-kunda, one can get an opportunity to become an assistant of Srimati Radharani under the eternal guidance of the gopis.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, from everything you said so far, it seems that the conclusion is that to bathe and live always in Radha-kunda is the perfection of Krishna consciousness?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “The conclusion is that to live on the banks of the Radha-kunda and to bathe there daily constitute the highest perfection of devotional service.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, are you are saying that Radha-kunda is the ideal place for cultivating Krishna consciousness?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “[Yes] Therefore everyone interested in Krishna consciousness should ultimately take shelter of Radha-kunda and execute devotional service there throughout one’s life.”

  1. Dasa: Srila Prabhupada, to summarize everything we discussed, can you please answer this last question?

What will happen to a devotee who bathes regularly in Radha-kunda, and lives his whole life in Radha-kunda meditating on serving (manasi-seva) Radharani in the mood of the gopis?

SRILA PRABHUPADA: “If one is thus constantly engaged during his lifetime, AFTER GIVING UP THE BODY HE WILL RETURN BACK TO GODHEAD to serve Sri Radha in the same way as he contemplated during his life on the banks of Radha-kunda.”

Sri Radha-kunda ki jai! Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

(from Srila Prabhupada’s purports to Upadeshamrita)

Mahanidhi Swami

Srila Prabhupada lived and breathed the Bhagavatam. And out of his love and compassion, he distributed its nectarean teachings throughout the world.

His Divine Grace spent the last fifteen years of his life translating, writing commentaries, and constantly speaking on the most fulfilling philosophy of the Bhagavatam. In the middle of the night at 1 a.m., Srila Prabhupada would rise and start translating the Sanskrit slokas of the Bhagavatam into English. Then he would write his commentaries after consulting the comments of Sridhara Swami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami and Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.

Srila Prabhupada introduced daily Sanskrit verse recitation and classes on the Srimad Bhagavatam in each of the 108 Radha-Krishna temples he established. At any time of the day in some country around the globe, Krishna devotees are sitting together in some ISKCON temple to hear the Bhagavata philosophy in their local languages of English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Japanese, Chinese, Swahili, Telegu and many others. ISKCON’s Bhaktivedanta Book Trust has published and distributed millions of copies of Srimad Bhagavatam in over fifty languages to benefit the world.

Srila Rupa Gosvami says hearing the Bhagavatam (bhagavata-sravana) is one limb of panca-anga bhakti, the five most powerful means of attaining Krishna-prema. Realizing this, Srila Prabhupada published the KRSNA book, a translation and commentary on the entire Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, as one of his first books in 1969.

Indeed, Srila Prabhupada was so fond of the Tenth Canto that he instituted the daily reading of his KRSNA book in every ISKCON temple. Each night before sleeping, all the ashram devotees would sit together, honor hot milk prasadam and listen to the KRSNA book.

O what joy! And what satisfaction we all felt just by hearing the action-packed tales of Sri Krishna, the sweet Lord of Vrndavana! Afterwards, everyone would fall asleep and have happy dreams, the sweetest dreams in creation.

Srila Prabhupada introduced such a simple and sublime formula for attaining spiritual perfection. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! All glories to KRSNA book!

In the Preface to KRSNA book, Srila Prabhupada writes, “We therefore request everyone to take advantage of this great transcendental literary work. One will find that by reading one page after another, an immense treasure of knowledge in art, science, literature, philosophy and religion will be revealed, and ultimately, by reading this one book, KRSNA, love of Godhead will fructify.”

Good fortune brought a KRSNA book into my hands in 1974, and it was love at first reading. The pastimes of Radha-Krishna purely presented Prabhupada melted our hearts and attracted our wayward minds to the peerless path of bhakti. Enchanted by this transcendental prankster named Krishna, we innocently began a relationship with Krishna through the pages of the Tenth Canto.

Little did we know that forty years later we would still be following that beautiful blue boy and His glorious golden girlfriend, and worshiping that Divine Couple and Their eternal pastimes so beautifully portrayed in the Tenth Canto. We simply cannot read enough about Radha-Krishna. All other topics, hackneyed news and books seem pale and unattractive compared to the colorful emotional panorama of Krishna’s variegated lilas portrayed in the Bhagavata.

The Tenth Canto is one big gushing fountain of sweet nectar that spins the mind and sends the heart on wings to the lotus feet of Radha-Syama. Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai!

Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada wrote commentaries on the entire Srimad Bhagavatam which he titled “Sarartha Darshini”, which means to see (darshana) the essential (sara) object (artha). It also means to understand and realize the essence of everything, namely Sri Krishna, His loving service and the attainment of Krishna’s eternal, blissful abode named Sri Vrindavana.

The Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidhana describes Sarartha Darshini: “This book reveals the most confidential meanings of the Srimad Bhagavatam, and gives immense pleasure to the Vaisnavas. With unparalleled genius, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura imparts a deep understanding of the sweet mellows of shuddha bhakti.

“In his commentaries, Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada reveals his own internal mood and how to extract the sublime mellows of the Bhagavata. It is my [Sri Haridas Dasji] conviction that of the 130 different tikas on the Srimad Bhagavatam, those of Sri Sanatana Gosvami and Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura are the best!”

In the following passage, Srila Prabhupada mentions the incredible benefit one will receive by reading Krishna’s pastimes in the Tenth Canto. Surely anyone who reads Sarartha Darshini will also attain the same wonderful result. Srila Prabhupada: “Krishna pastimes are so powerful that simply by hearing, reading and memorizing this book, KRSNA, one is sure to be transferred to the spiritual world!“ (KRSNA ch. 90)

O devotees, please read more about Radha-Krishna, remember more and tell others. Get absorbed and go crazy over Krishna katha! May everyone become completely attached to Radha-Syama, and enter the eternally blissful abode of madhurya-lila—VRINDAVANA!

Grantha Raja Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai!

Krishna’s Smiling Face Tenth Canto ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, people have a choice within maya, isn’t that a fact? They can choose what they want to do in the material world. People say that they can do this or that.

Srila Prabhupada: “What they can do? They cannot do anything. At any moment, you can be kicked out, ‘Get out.’ Therefore it is called conditioned life. There is no question of independence. That is foolishness.

“That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita [3.27] that they are not independent; everyone is completely under the control of the laws of material nature, and still they are thinking independent. There is no independence. All foolishness! By false egotism, one thinks that ‘I am independent.'” (Trans. Diary 5th July 1976)

Surrender to Krishna ki jai! Be an Instrument of Krishna’s will ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

We while walking along the beach beside the ocean of Srila Prabhupada’s vani, we found some rare gems of his words glorifying Sridhama Vrindavana. By reading and ruminating upon these sacred words, may we all expand our attitudes regarding and our appreciation for Vrindavana. Srila Prabhupada’s quotes have been arranged by topic.

  1. Identity of Vrindavana:
  2. “The earthly Vrindavana Dhama is always a representation of the original Vrindavana Dhama. Consequently Vrindavana Dhama is as worshipable as Lord Krishna. (Cc. 2.16.280 p.)
  3. “This Vrindavana is as good as Krishna.” (721030ND.VRN)
  4. “Always remember Krishna, Vrindavana is Krishna’s land, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto.” (760408mw.vrn)
  1. The Vrajavasis, Born Residents of Vrindavana
  1. “Anyone who is living in Vrindavana, even cats and dogs, they are also glorious, (740816BG.VRN)
  2. [Srila Prabhupada describes the position of the Vrajavasis living in Vrindavana]

“Simply by living [in Vrindavana], if they do not commit any sinful activities, they’ll go back to home [spiritual world of Goloka Vrindavana].”

Disciple: “Do the Vrajavasis need a spiritual master?”

Srila Prabhupada: “No, generally, naturally, the Vrajavasis are Krishna conscious.”

Disciple: “But they don’t have a spiritual master.”

Srila Prabhupada: “Yes, he has a spiritual master because spiritual master is within, caitya-guru. (760408mw.vrn)

III. Visiting Vrindavana

  1. “Shastra says that you should approach to a bhagavata, a devotee who is living in Vrindavana, a pure devotee and surrender unto him. That is tirtha yatra. Not that coming here [to Vrindavana] and taking bath in the Yamuna. (740316SB.VRN)
  1. Living in Vrindavana
  2. “Those who are living in Vrindavana, they should try to understand Krishna tattva [the truth of Krishna]. That is their business.” (721030ND.VRN)
  3. To live in Vrindavana means to know Krishna—how He appeared there, how He played here, how He executed His pastimes here. These are all celestial, all transcendental. Jaya Radha-Madhava Kunja Bihari. (721030ND.VRN)
  4. “As Krishna is worshipable, similarly His dhama is worshipable. We should be very much respectful to Vrindavana-dhama; otherwise we’ll be offender. Dhamaparadha.” (721029SB.VRN)
  5. “If we remain in Vrindavana, we should know that we are living with Krishna. And how much we should be cautious…and careful. Vrindavana Dhama is also Krishna.” (721030ND.VRN)
  6. [We should never commit sins while living in Vrindavana, or anywhere else. But if one living in Vrindavana somehow slips, then Vrindavana will help him.]

“Because I am living in Vrindavana. Vrindavana raja [dust of Vrindavana] will cure me, will purify me. That’s a fact. Yes!” (721029SB.VRN)

  1. “If you actually live in Vrindavana carefully, without committing any offense and sinful life, then in this life you are going to Krishna!!!” (721030ND.VRN)

Living In Vrindavana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Devotee: Srila Prabhupada where is the question of the free will of the individual?

Srila Prabhupada: “[You have] free will under Krishna. Your free will sanctioned by Krishna. However, you are not so free that whatever you like, you can do.”

Devotee: If I want to perform some pious deed, it is only by Krishna’s mercy that I will do it?

Srila Prabhupada: “Yes. It isn’t just a question of our free will; Krishna has His free will also, and that is supreme. You cannot bind Krishna to dictate in a similar way. If Krishna likes, He may act and if He doesn’t like, He may not act. That is Krishna.”

Devotee: [Then no matter how much we preach or sell books] ultimately it is simply by the mercy of Krishna that a living entity comes back to Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada: “Yes. So it is Krishna’s business where to show mercy, but you cannot oblige [order] Krishna that ‘You show mercy everywhere.’

“No! You cannot oblige Krishna, ‘You do this.’ That is not Krishna. Therefore whatever Krishna likes, He’ll do. If Krishna likes, He can give you mercy. And if Krishna does not like, He may not.” (Trans.Diary 14th March 1976)

Svatantra Bhagavan Sri Krishna ki jai! Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Quoting the verse below, which he did 67 times, Srila Prabhupada perfectly explains the mission of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

The golden avatar of love divine appeared in this world to preach gopi bhava, and the worship of Radha-Krishna following the example of the Vraja-gopis. Mahaprabhu also taught the worship of Vrindavana, Srimad Bhagavatam and the Vaisnavas.

Srila Prabhupada and all Gaudiya Vaisnavas accept that this one verse contains the entire philosophy (sambandha, adhidheya, prayojana) of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is Krishna consciousness in a nutshell. And every Gaudiya Vaisnava should study, memorize, realize and preach this most important verse written by Srinatha Cakravarti, Sri Advaita Prabhu’s shishya and Mahaprabhu’s direct associate.

Please study the passages below wherein Srila Prabhupada summarizes the mission of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. People often ask, “What is Krishna Consciousness?” This verse gives the true and complete meaning of “Krishna consciousness” because it contains the sweet essence of our Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy.

This is what Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to give, to teach, to taste and to experience. To know the meaning of this verse and to follow it means you are a Gaudiya Vaisnava!

aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas, tad-dhama vrindavana,

ramya kacid upasana, vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita,

srimad-bhagavatam pramanam amalam, prema pum-artho mahan

sri-caitanya-mahaprabhor matam idam, tatradarah na parah

Sri Srinatha Cakravarti said, “Nandanandana Sri Krishna is the topmost object of worship, and His abode of Vrindavana is equally worshipable. The young married brides of Vrindavana, the Vraja-gopis, showed the best way to worship Sri Krishna. The most authoritative source of divine revelation is the Srimad Bhagavatam. Krishna prema, pure love of God, is the fifth and ultimate goal (panchama-artha) of human life. This is the essence of the philosophy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, so we consider this doctrine to be supreme.”

Srila Prabhupada comments on this most important verse: “Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, ramya kacid upasana, vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita,’ If you want to learn the process of worshiping and loving Krishna, just try to follow in the footsteps of the Vraja gopis, because their love for Krishna is the highest perfectional love of God; pure love for God.

“Here’s how they loved Krishna. Krishna was a cowherd boy, and Krishna and His friends and cows used to go to the pasturing ground for the whole day. Although gopis were at home and Krishna was miles away in the pasturing ground, the gopis were thinking, ‘Oh, Krishna’s feet are so soft! Now Krishna is walking on the rough ground, and the sharp pebbles are pricking Krishna’s foot soles. So Krishna must be feeling some pain.’

“Thinking in this way, the gopis used to cry. Just see, this is love! When Krishna returned, the gopis did not ask Him, ‘My dear Krishna, what have You brought us from Your pasturing ground? What is in Your pocket? Let us see.’ No! The gopis were simply thinking of how Krishna could be satisfied. The gopis used to dress themselves very nicely and go before Krishna. While dressing they would think, ‘Oh, Krishna will be happy to see me.’

“These are the loving affairs of Krishna and the gopis. Their relationship was so intimate and so unalloyed that Krishna Himself admitted, ‘My dear gopis, it is not in My power to repay you for your love.’ Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yet He became bankrupt—Krishna could not repay His debt to the gopis. So the gopis possessed the highest perfection of love for Krishna.

“I am describing the mission of Lord Caitanya. Mahaprabhu is instructing us that the only lovable object is Krishna, the only lovable land is Vrindavana, and the process of loving Krishna is shown by the vivid example of the gopis. There are different stages of devotees, and the gopis are on the highest platform. And among the gopis, the supreme is Radharani. Therefore, nobody can surpass Radharani’s love for Krishna.”(SP: Folio TQE 7c)

Srila Prabhupada: “Lord Caitanya recommends, ‘As Krishna was worshiped by the damsels of Vrajadhama—that is the highest, topmost grade of worship because that was pure love.’ The damsels of Vraja loved Krishna so much, without any return. That’s a sublime thing. So Mahaprabhu recommended, ‘That is the highest form of worship.’”(SP: Folio 660729BG.NY)

Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

My Friend You Begot a Son!

Srila Prabhupada said, “This date of Nandotsava is a very fortunate occasion. After Krishna’s birth, Maharaja Nanda celebrated a ceremony and this day is called Nandotsava. Nanda Maharaja was a little elderly when Krishna was born. At that time, some of his friends came to congratulate, ‘My dear friend, you have got a son in your old age!’ To his friends, Nanda Maharaja said, ‘How can you say I am old? Can old man cannot beget a child. I am young man!’” (Folio 690905VP.HAM)

A Blissful Nandotsava in 1960

Remembering Srila Prabhupada, Shri Gopala Chandra Ghosh recounted, “In 1960 or ‘61, Krishna’s birth ceremony abhisheka was performed at the Radha Damodara Temple at midnight. The next day all temples celebrate Nandotsava, Nanda Babas festival honoring Lord Krishna’s birth. They throw rupees, offer fruits and wear new clothes in the temple. Curd and turmeric are mixed up and thrown on the visitors. They sing of how the son of Nanda appeared here in Gokula. This service is performed with kértana, dancing, and chanting of hari-nama.

“Later, I learned that this was Srila Prabhupada’s own appearance anniversary day. At that time, I saw Prabhupada very playfully dancing in the Radha Damodara Temple’s open courtyard. He was covered with this yellow-colored pauri, the prasada from Thakuraji Damodara. Prabhupada was dancing in Braja style, singing, “Nanda ke ananda bhaiyo, jai kanaiya lala ki”. I also saw him throwing some sugar candies, annas and paisas to the local small boys.” (Our Srila Prabhupada, a Friend to All)

“Nandu—My Childhood Name”

Once Srila Prabhupada said, “My birth name was Abhaya, which means there is no fear of death of this child. However, in my maternal uncle’s house, because I was born on the Nandotsava, they always called me ‘Nandadulal.’ (Folio 770719R1.VRN)

Just Nandu

Once Srila Prabhupada told Yamuna dasi, “I am so glad that you remember my childhood name “Nandu”’ given by one of my uncles.” (SPL 70-09-16)

Birth Tithi—Srila Prabhupada

In his diary, a disciple named Shri Tamala Krishna Goswami writes that Srila Prabhupada said, “I was born on Nandotsava. It was a Tuesday, Mithuni Rasi, Mrgashirsha nakshatra.”

Sri Krishna Nandotsava ki jai! Srila Prabhupada Janamotsava ki jai!

Nandadulal ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Birth and Childhood

His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada appeared in a family of pure Gaudiya Vaisnavas in 1896 in Calcutta. From early childhood, Srila Prabhupada showed clear signs of pure devotion to Lord Sri Krishna. At the tender age of five, he single-handedly organized a neighborhood Ratha-yatra festival to glorify Lord Jagannatha. He authentically decorated a small cart to resemble the Lord’s colossal chariot in Puri. Besides leading the kirtana party, he organized cooking and prasadam distribution.

With his enthusiasm and ecstatic love for Lord Krishna, Srila Prabhupada engaged the entire neighborhood in chanting:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Unlike other children his age who would waste their time playing, Srila Prabhupada preferred to visit the local Radha-Krishna temple. For hours together, he would lovingly gaze upon the transcendental forms of Radha-Govindaji engrossed in Their beautiful darsana and absorbing Their divine blessings.


As King Pariksit and many siddha purushas have done, from his earliest years, Srila Prabhupada began worshiping small Deities of Radha and Krishna. He quickly mastered the traditional beats and ragas on mrdanga and harmonium. With pure devotion Srila Prabhupada would sing sweet devotional bhajans to please Radha-Govindaji.

Meeting Sri Guru and Diksha

At twenty-six years of age, Srila Prabhupada met his eternal spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura (Founder-Acarya of Gaudiya Math). At their first meeting, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gave Srila Prabhupada a divine command: “Go to the West and spread Krishna consciousness in the English language.”

Preaching and Outreach Programs

In full faith, Srila Prabhupada embraced this command as his life and soul. After realizing his guru’s teachings, he started writing and distributing Back to Godhead [Bhagavata-darshana, Hindi ed.], an English language magazine on the science of Krishna consciousness. Although begun in 1944 in a small way, Back to Godhead now circulates worldwide in over fifty languages.

New Delhi Book Distribution

Srila Prabhupada, like all pure Vaisnavas, showed immense compassion for the suffering conditioned souls. Although they are rotting in the materialistic life of ignorance, the stubborn conditioned souls insist that they “have no time for spiritual life.” Neither their indifference, nor the sizzling summer heat of Delhi could keep Srila Prabhupada from distributing the cooling balm of Krishna consciousness. Once while selling Back to Godhead magazines Srila Prabhupada collapsed on the street from heat stroke. Yet he remained fixed in his determination to please his spiritual master.

Sannyasa and Vraja Bhajana

In 1959, Srila Prabhupada took sannyasa after retiring from household life. Taking shelter of Vrndavana, he rented a bhajana kutir in the Radha-Damodara temple where he absorbed the association of Sri Rupa and Sri Jiva Gosvamis. Srila Prabhupada spent six years there performing austerities and intensive Krishna bhajana.

Regularly, he bathed in Yamuna, and took darsana of Madana Mohana, Govindaji, Gopinatha, and Radha Ramana. He prayed for the mercy of the six Gosvamis and continued writing and printing. During bhajana he would sometimes receive blessings, inspiration, and direct guidance from the all-merciful Sri Rupa Gosvami.

Senior disciples say Srila Rupa Goswamipada once blessed Srila Prabhupada with sakshat darshana and a blessing: “Swamiji, just go preach in the west, and tell the people about the teachings of the six Goswamis. And I guarantee, you will be successful!”

Srimad Bhagavatam: Srila Prabhupada’s Love Offering

While living in the Radha Damodara Mandira, Srila Prabhupada began his life’s main literary work, an English translation with his personal commentary of the Srimad Bhagavatam. For Srila Prabhupada it was more of a devotional outpouring than a mere translation from esoteric Sanskrit to understandable English.

Gaudiya Vaisnava history reveals that some advanced devotees would begin crying in spiritual happiness while reading the Srimad Bhagavatam. Smearing the ink on the pages, their tears would make the lines illegible. Similarly, Srila Prabhupada once said that his Srimad Bhagavatam commentaries are actually expressions of his “devotional ecstasies.”

Working alone, Srila Prabhupada wrote in the wee hours of night, begged money to print, and personally hauled the paper around Chandi Chowk, Delhi to publish the first three volumes of Srimad Bhagavatam. Me personally and everyone on this planet has been immensely and immeasurably benefitted by Srila Prabhupada’s devotional presentation of the Srimad Bhagavatam and the divinely sweet, mercy-filled Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. For this, we are eternally indebted!

Humility and Guru Krpa

Recollecting these times, Srila Prabhupada once said humbly to his disciples:

“I did not know anything about writing. But my spiritual master told me to spread Lord Krishna’s glories in English. So this is what I tried to do, following in the steps of my Guru Maharaja. He was such a transcendental aristocrat. I had no great personal qualifications. I just tried to follow his instructions.”

Worldwide Preaching

Other disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura tried in various ways to preach Krishna consciousness in English-speaking Europe. One Bengali brahmana named Shri Premananda Bharati, a Gaudiya sannyasi, preached Krishna bhakti in America with some surprising success from 1902-1912. History shows, however, that it was Srila Prabhupada’s preaching mission alone that became a worldwide sensation and a fabulous success in just ten too short years. Of course, this happened by the divine sanction of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Fearless as Abhimanyu, Srila Prabhupada went to the world’s most powerful country, America, and introduced Krishna consciousness there in 1965. Besides speaking English and being a “super power,” America was leading the world in sinful activities and influencing other nations to follow their lead.

If Americans would take up Krishna consciousness, thought Srila Prabhupada, then surely it would spread to “every town and village,” as Lord Caitanya predicted five-hundred years ago. After all, “What’s a glorious victory without a glorious fight,” said Srila Prabhupada.

Perilous Sea Journey & Dancing for Krishna

At the age of seventy, Srila Prabhupada, armed with karatals and a crate of Bhagavatams, set off alone to America in 1965 on the steamship “Jaladutta.” During the arduous forty-day sea journey the ship met heavy storms. For two consecutive nights, Srila Prabhupada had severe heart attacks which almost killed him. On the third night, Lord Krishna appeared to Srila Prabhupada in a dream…

Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself was pulling the ship forward to America, encouraging Srila Prabhupada and promising him all protection. Upon safely reaching New York City by the mercy of Krishna, Srila Prabhupada penned this prayer

“My dear Lord Krishna, You are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me. How shall I make them understand the message of Krishna consciousness? I am very unfortunate, unqualified, and most fallen. Therefore, I am seeking Your benediction so I can convince them. For I am powerless to do so on my own.

“O Lord, I am like a puppet in Your hands. So You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance. O Lord, make me dance as You like.”

New York City Struggle

In Manhattan, Srila Prabhupada struggled through the icy cold snowbound winter of 1965. He continued writing and occasionally selling a few Bhagavatams. But for one year nothing really happened. Gradually, a few yoga students began attending his classes on Bhagavad-gita. The word spread that an “Indian swami was in town teaching a unique yoga method: chanting Hare Krishna.” After his room was robbed, Srila Prabhupada moved into a small rented storefront apartment at 26 Second Avenue in the Lower East Side where all the seekers of transcendence were gathered.

On July 13, 1966, he founded ISKCON (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness) and initiated a dozen disciples. To receive initiation disciples must daily chant 16 malas of Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, read Srimad Bhagavatam, and give up illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling.

Preaching Success

Under Srila Prabhupada’s pure guidance the Krishna consciousness movement quickly flourished. Within months ISKCON Radha-Krishna temples opened in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Montreal, Germany and London. In the 1970’s, Srila Prabhupada traveled around the world fourteen times, establishing 108 Radha-Krishna temples in all the major cities of the Americas, Europe, Africa, India, Asia and Australia. He initiated five thousand disciples of different nationalities.

When news reporters queried Srila Prabhupada about his fantastic success, Srila Prabhupada replied, “Whatever has been accomplished has been done only because I had complete faith in the Holy Name of Krishna and the order of my spiritual master!” Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

He opened ashrams and pure vegetarian prasadam “Govinda’s” restaurants. On every continent he started Vedic gurukulas and goshallas to serve and protect Gomata. Srila Prabhupada was the first spiritual master in the western countries to introduce both full-fledged and elegant Deity worship of Radha and Krishna and the annual Ratha-yatra festival of Lord Jagannatha.

ISKCON’s Jagannatha Ratha-yatra festivals, complete with three beautiful wooden carts carrying Jagannatha Swami, Sri Baladeva, and Srimati Subhadra Devi, a thunderous sankirtana procession, and massive prasadam distribution, take place every year in over two-hundred cities worldwide.

Books, the Greatest Charity

Though constantly traveling and preaching to priests, princes, politicians, philosophers, scientists, and his disciples, Srila Prabhupada kept translating the Srimad Bhagavatam. He wrote over eighty books about Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead i.e. The Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Nectar of Devotion and the Science of Self-Realization. Srila Prabhupada also published his English translations with commentaries on the Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Isopanisad, Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu, Upadesamrta, Narada Bhakti-sutras, Mukunda mala-stotra, and Caitanya Caritamrta.

Srila Prabhupada’s books have been translated into fifty languages i.e. as French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Swahili, Hindi, Marati, Gujarati and Bengali. Millions of copies in various world languages have been distributed worldwide.

The Crowning Glory

In only eleven years, (1966-1977) between the ages of seventy and eighty-one, Srila Prabhupada accomplished his mission. He credited his phenomenal success to his personal effort, and his unshakeable faith in his spiritual master and the Holy Names of Lord Sri Krishna. He was not an ordinary person. Srila Prabhupada was personally chosen and empowered by Sri Krishna to spread prema bhakti through the chanting Hare Krishna all over the world.

Entering Goloka Dhama

In Vrindavana, during the auspicious Radharani month of Karttika November 14 1977, Srila Prabhupada chanted Hare Krishna and entered the eternal pastimes of Radha-Syamasundara while his loving disciples cried their hearts out in kirtana.

ISKCON and Future

Because of cooperation and strict following of Srila Prabhupada’s pure example and perfect instructions, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which he founded 50 years ago, continues expanding the world over. As one of the most dynamic religious and cultural movements, ISKCON has hundreds of temples on five continents.

May we always remember Srila Prabhupada, and continually chant with full heart and pure mind the song he brought to save the world:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Sri Srimad 108 Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!