Prabhupada A.C. BhaktivedantaPrabhupada A.C. Bhaktivedanta (1896 - November 14, 1977) is a figure of Vedantic history. Prior to taking Hindu Vanaprastha vows in 1950, he was a succesful husband, father, businessman and industrialist. In July 1966, he founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in New York City. By the time of his death 11 years later, ISKCON was a widely known expression of Hinduism in the West.
Upon first meeting with his spiritual master, Srila Bhakitisiddhanta Sarsvati Thakura, in 1922 it was requested that Prahhupada spread Vedic knowledge throughout the English language. In 1933 he became a formally initiated disciple. Starting in 1944 and without assistance he started Back to the Godhead, an English language fortnightly for which he acted as publisher, editor and copy editor. In 1947 the Gaudiya Vaisnava Society recognised Prabhupada's scholarship with the Honourific Bhaktivedanta (Trans: Devoted Lover of Vedanta. See Bhakti and Vedanta). Beginning in 1950 he lived at the medieval Temple of Radha-Damodara in the holy city of Vrndavana. After taking sannyasa vows in 1959 and publishing his 30 volume translation of and commentary on the 18,000 verse Srimad-Bhagavatam, he left India to fulfill his master's spiritual mission. Arriving virtually penniless by freighter in New York, he was first helped and made his first converts amongst the Hippies who were openly searching for "Truth".
In the 12 years from his arrival in New York until his death on he:
- circled the globe 14 times on lecture tours that took him to 6 continents.
- introduced Vedic gurukul education to a Western audience.
- directed the founding of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, the world's largest publisher in the field of Indian religious texts and commentary.
- founded New Vrindaban
- authored 60 books on Vedantic philosophy, religion, literature and culture. Including 4 in Bengali.
- watched ISKCON grow to a confederation of more than 100 schools, temples, institutes, farm communites and ashrams.