A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was born as Abhay Charan De on September 1, 1896 to a devout Vaishnava Hindu family in Kolkata. Since early childhood he showed the signs of a pure devotee of the Lord. He used to engage himself in kirtanas and also took part in Krishna conscious plays during schooldays. As a youth growing up in British-controlled India, Abhay became involved with Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement to secure independence for his nation. In 1922, he met a prominent scholar and religious leader, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. It was not a mere meeting because this proved to be the most influential incidence on Abhay’s future. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was a leader in the Gaudiya Vaishnava denomination, a monotheistic tradition within the broad Hindu culture. He noticed Abhay’s potential and requested him to spread the teachings of Lord Krishna and the Vedic knowledge to the English-speaking world.
In 1933, Abhay became a formally initiated disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and resolved to carry out his spiritual master’s request. Abhay’s initiation to this mission earned him the title of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. However, across the world he was respectfully addressed as Srila Prabhupada by his followers and disciples. Srila Prabhupada assisted the Gaudiya Math and published some of his own writings, but it was not until 1965, after a lifetime of preparation, that he set out to fulfil the mission his spiritual master had given him. At the age of 69 Srila Prabhupada was offered a free voyage on a commercial steamship bound for New York. His only possessions were Rs. 40 and a trunk with copies of three volumes of the Srimad-Bhagavatam which he had personally translated and published. However, Srila Prabhupada’s main asset was his staunch determination in bringing Vedic culture to the western world and his complete dependence on Krishna. After a year of hardship in New York, his efforts bore fruit. Encouraged by a small group of followers, he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in July 1966. In the 12 years that followed, Srila Prabhupada worked tirelessly to spread Lord Krishna’s message around the world. He circled the globe 14 times opening temples in all the six continents. Men and women from all walks of life came forward to accept his message, and eventually with their help, Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON centres across the world. He opened traditional Vedic schools and initiated 10,000 disciples who helped him in many international projects. Srila Prabhupada contributed to a revolutionary revival of Vaishnava tradition in India, the homeland of Krishna Consciousness. He opened dozens of temples in India and built grand temples and cultural centres in the holy cities of Vrindavan and Mayapur. He obtained a prime land in Juhu, Mumbai to build ISKCON’s International Headquarters. He prolifically authored over 70 volumes of bhakti literature based on ancient sacred texts of Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya Charitamrita. His writings have been translated into 76 languages. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust that was established in 1972 to publish his works, has become the world’s largest publisher in the field of Indian religion and philosophy. In November 1977, while surrounded by his loving disciples in the holy land of Vrindavan, Srila Prabhupada departed from this world and returned to Goloka Vrindavan, the eternal abode of Lord Krishna. On the spiritual plane there is no difference between appearance and disappearance because although the body dies, the soul continues to exist eternally. Therefore, the presence of Srila Prabhupada is still strongly felt by those who follow him.
What is the mission of human life?
The mission of human life is to end the miseries of material existence and attain a blissful life. We are constantly searching after happiness, but we often fail in our pursuit. We may get a glimpse of happiness, but it does not last forever. We do not want miseries, but we cannot avoid them. Scriptures inform us that we are spiritual beings, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, and by nature we are full of happiness – ānandamayo ‘bhyāsāt (vedānta-sūtra). Then, why do we suffer? How do we rediscover the lost happiness and lead a blissful life?
Srila Prabhupada, our beloved spiritual master founded the worldwide Hare Krishna Movement with below purposes to give us an opportunity for a life of peace and happiness:
Seven Purposes of Hare Krishna Movement
To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life, and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
To propagate a consciousness of Kṛṣṇa as He is revealed in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
To bring the members of the society together with each other and nearer to Krsna, and thus to develop the idea within the members and humanity at large that each soul is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
To teach and encourage the sankirtan movement, congregational chanting of the holy name of God, and to reveal the teachings of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
To erect for the members, and the society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the Personality of Godhead.
To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simple and more natural way of life.
With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.
A Satellite Centre of Vrindavan Chandrodaya
Hare Krishna Mandir Gurugram is a satellite centre of Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir, the upcoming worlds tallest temple in Vrindavan. The skyscraper temple-cum-heritage project will consist of a grand temple of Lord Sri Krishna at its center and will be surrounded by a park with varieties of lush vegetation. Green pastures, vistas of fruit-bearing trees, flower-laden creepers, clear water lakes with lotuses and lilies, and waterfalls that tumble from small artificial hillocks will transport the visitors to the times of Krishna. Everyone who visits this glorious park will also get an opportunity for a boat ride. Visitors will also get to see the different Krishna lilas, attractions in the form of dolls set up in natural surroundings in a rejuvenating ambiance of sound and light effects. This heritage tower is poised to become the world's tallest temple of Krishna. We aspire to create a world-class and iconic monument for Sri Krishna in the holy land of Vrindavan in pursuance of Srila Prabhupada's direction. Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir will place Krishna proudly on the world mindscape and Vrindavan on the world map. This project is dedicated to playing a larger role in shaping the future of India.