A Summary of Prabhupada’s Miraculous Accomplishments

A Summary of Prabhupada’s Miraculous Accomplishments

Compiled by Paratrika Ananda das

In reading many of the profiles of Srila Prabhupada, I’m saddened that a number of his important projects, programs and achievements are never mentioned. In the following summary I’ve tried to compile a more comprehensive list of his credits. Although this list is also incomplete, I hope it presents a fuller picture of Srila Prabhupada’s greatness.  (Paratrika Ananda das)

 

A Summary of Srila Prabhupada’s Miraculous Accomplishments from 1965 to 1977

 

In 1965, at seventy years of age, he ventured outside India for the first time to fulfill the order of his spiritual master. During his voyage at sea, he suffered two severe heart attacks. He reached the shores of America with the equivalent of seven dollars to his name.

 

He founded the International Society for Krsna Consciousness with a small group of disciples, after a year of struggling alone in New York City. This marked the only time in history that a Krsna devotee successfully trained non-Indians in the strict disciplines of Vaisnavism. Amazingly, this was achieved during the blossoming of America’s hedonistic counterculture movement.

He sent his followers, chanting the names of God, into the streets of cities and towns everywhere and Hare Krsna became famous in every corner of the earth.

 

He sent his disciples to London, where they recorded the single, “Hare Krsna Mantra”, with George Harrison, in 1969. It became the fastest selling of all the Apple Corporation’s releases, including those of the Beatles. The record reached #3 in Czechoslovakia, #9 in Britain, and made the top ten in Germany, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Yugoslavia, and many other countries.

 

He formally initiated approximately five thousand disciples. These initiates represented a sweeping diversity of nationalities, races, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds.

 

He established 108 Krsna temples on six continents, installed the deity of Krsna in each center and trained his disciples in the process of deity worship. Thirty-two new temples (almost three a month) were opened in a single year, between 1970 and 1971.

 

He inaugurated the Rathayatra Festival of Lord Jaganatha in major cities around the globe, in effect, bringing the temple to the people.

 

He instituted the brahmacarini asram, something previously unheard of in Vedic culture, to give shelter to single women wishing to practice Krsna consciousness.

 

He instructed his disciples in 1967 to start an incense business to provide financial support for the temples. Within four years the business, Spiritual Sky Incense, generated an annual revenue of one million dollars (equivalent to $4,600,000 in 2004).

 

He introduced the “Sunday Love Feast” and other prasadam (sanctified food) distribution programs that provided millions of free meals to the public.

 

He created the world’s first chain of vegetarian restaurants.

 

He spoke daily on the philosophy of Krsna consciousness, delivering thousands of formal lectures. Over 2,200 were recorded and archived.

 

He conducted many hundreds of informal conversations on the science of Krsna consciousness with disciples, guests and friends. Over 1,300 were recorded and archived.

 

He had scores of interviews and philosophical discussions with news reporters, scientists, religious leaders and politicians, as well as meetings with world-renowned dignitaries and celebrities like Indira Gandhi, Allen Ginsberg, Ravi Shankar, Alice Coltrane, John Lennon and George Harrison.

 

He recorded more than twenty albums of devotional music.

 

He published the monthly magazine, Back to Godhead, which he called the backbone of his movement. At the height of its circulation in the mid seventies, over a million copies per issue were sold.

 

He launched the ISKCON Life Membership Program that enrolled tens of thousands of members.

 

He built major temples in Bombay and Vrndavana, and founded a spiritual city at Mayapur. All became international sites of pilgrimage.

 

He established primary schools to provide education in the principles of devotional service.

 

He founded the Bhaktivedanta Institute to advance Krsna consciousness within the scientific community, engaging serious academics in the consideration of the science of self-realization.

 

He formed the Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust to unearth and renovate the holy places of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes.

 

He set up farm communities to teach “simple living and high thinking”, emphasizing cow protection and dependence on God and nature.

 

He commissioned his artist disciples to produce hundreds of illustrations of Krsna’s pastimes based on his meticulous instructions and the descriptions in his books.

 

He directed some of his followers to learn the Indian art of “doll making” to present Vedic philosophy through dioramas. This project became the FATE Museums.

 

He counseled his disciples on complex managerial, philosophical and personal issues in more than 6,000 archived letters.

 

He was the subject of more than 30,000 archival photos and more than seventy hours of documentary film footage.

 

He wrote approximately seventy books on the science of Krsna consciousness, sleeping only a few hours per day. Dozens of prominent scholars and educators from leading universities praised his work (see appendix).

 

The Encyclopaedia Britannica proclaimed that his voluminous translations from the original Sanskrit and his lucid commentaries “have astounded literary and academic communities worldwide.” This feat is even more astonishing considering the translations and commentaries were in English, which was a second language to the author.

 

He founded the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) in 1972, to produce his books. By 1976, over 55,000,000 literatures had been published in twenty-five languages and distributed in almost every country, making the BBT the world’s largest publisher of Indian religious and philosophical texts. One printing alone of Bhagavad-gita As It Is required seventy-six train cars to ship the paper needed to print it.

 

He completed the entire Caitanya-caritamrta manuscript (seventeen volumes) in eighteen months.

 

He ordered and supervised the BBT in publishing seventeen volumes of his books in only two months time, in 1974.

 

He circled the globe fourteen times, visiting twenty-four countries, preaching, inspiring his followers and making countless public appearances before multitudes of people.

 

He skillfully managed his international society simply through letters and personal meetings, virtually without the use of a telephone.

 

Books by

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is

Srimad-Bhagavatam, cantos 1-10, (29 vols.)

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (17 vols.)

Teachings of Lord Caitanya

The Nectar of Devotion

Sri Isopanisad

Easy Journey to Other Planets

Krsna Consciousness: The Topmost Yoga System

Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead (3 vols.)

Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers

Dialectical Spiritualism — A Vedic View of Western Philosophy

Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahuti

Transcendental Teachings of Prahlad Maharaja

Teachings of Queen Kunti

Krsna, the Reservoir of Pleasure

The Science of Self-Realization

The Path of Perfection

Life Comes From Life

The Perfection of Yoga

Beyond Birth and Death

On the Way to Krsna

Raja-vidya: The King of Knowledge

Elevation to Krsna Consciousness

Krsna Consciousness: The Matchless Gift

 

Scholars Review Srila Prabhupada’s Books

 

Bhagavad-gita As It Is

 

“No work in all Indian literature is more quoted, because none is better loved, in the West, than the Bhagavad-gita. Translation of such a work demands not only knowledge of Sanskrit, but an inward sympathy with the theme and a verbal artistry. For the poem is a symphony in which God is seen in all things. The Swami does a real service for students by investing the beloved Indian epic with fresh meaning. Whatever our outlook may be, we should all be grateful for the labor that has lead to this illuminating work.”

Dr. Geddes MacGregor, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

University of Southern California

 

“The Gita can be seen as the main literary support for the great religious civilization of India, the oldest surviving culture in the world. The present translation and commentary is another manifestation of the permanent living importance of the Gita.”

Thomas Merton, Theologian

 

“I am most impressed with A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s scholarly and authoritative edition of Bhagavad-gita. It is a most valuable work for the scholar as well as the layman and is of great utility as a reference book as well as a textbook. I promptly recommend this edition to my students. It is a beautifully done book.”

Dr. Samuel D. Atkins, Professor of Sanskrit

Princeton University

 

“As a successor in direct line from Caitanya, the author of Bhagavad-gita As It Is is entitled, according to Indian custom, to the majestic title of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The great interest that his reading of the Bhagavad-gita holds for us is that it offers us an authorized interpretation according to the principles of the Caitanya tradition.”

Olivier Lacombe, Professor of Sanskrit and Indology

Sorbonne University, Paris

 

“I have had the opportunity of examining several volumes published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust and have found them to be of excellent quality and of great value for use in college classes on Indian religions. This is particularly true of the BBT edition and translation of the Bhagavad-gita.”

Dr. Frederick B. Underwood, Professor of Religion

Columbia University

 

“If truth is what works, as Pierce and the pragmatists insist, there must be a kind of truth in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, since those who follow its teachings display a joyous serenity usually missing in the bleak and strident lives of contemporary people.”

Dr. Elwin H. Powell, Professor of Sociology

State University of New York, Buffalo

 

“There is little question that this edition is one of the best books available on the Gita and devotion. Prabhupada’s translation is an ideal blend of literal accuracy and religious insight.”

Dr. Thomas J. Hopkins, Professor of Religion

Franklin and Marshall College

 

“The Bhagavad-gita, one of the great spiritual texts, is not as yet a common part of our cultural milieu. This is probably less because it is alien per se than because we have lacked just the kind of close interpretative commentary upon it that Swami Bhaktivedanta has here provided, a commentary written from not only a scholar’s but a practitioner’s, a dedicated lifelong devotee’s point of view.”

Denise Levertov, Poet

 

“The increasing numbers of Western readers interested in classical Vedic thought have been done a service by Swami Bhaktivedanta. By bringing us a new and living interpretation of a text already known to many, he has increased our understanding manyfold.”

Dr. Edward C Dimock, Jr.

Department of South Asian Languages and Civilization

University of Chicago

 

“The scholarly world is again indebted to A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Although Bhagavad-gita has been translated many times, Prabhupada adds a translation of singular importance with his commentary.”

Dr. J. Stillson Judah

Professor of the History of Religions and Director of Libraries

Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California

 

“Srila Prabhupada’s edition thus fills a sensitive gap in France, where many hope to become familiar with traditional Indian thought, beyond the commercial East-West hodgepodge that has arisen since the time Europeans first penetrated India.

 

“Whether the reader be an adept of Indian spiritualism or not, a reading of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is will be extremely profitable. For many this will be the first contact with the true India, the ancient India, the eternal India.”

Francois Chenique, Professor of Religious Sciences

Institute of Political Studies, Paris, France

 

“As a native of India now living in the West, it has given me much grief to see so many of my fellow countrymen coming to the West in the role of gurus and spiritual leaders. For this reason, I am very excited to see the publication of Bhagavad-gita As It Is by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It will help to stop the terrible cheating of false and unauthorized ‘gurus‘ and ‘yogis‘ and will give an opportunity to all people to understand the actual meaning of Oriental culture.”

Dr. Kailash Vajpeye, Director of Indian Studies

Center for Oriental Studies, The University of Mexico

 

“It is a deeply felt, powerfully conceived and beautifully explained work. I don’t know whether to praise more this translation of the Bhagavad-gita, its daring method of explanation, or the endless fertility of its ideas. I have never seen any other work on the Gita with such an important voice and style. It will occupy a significant place in the intellectual and ethical life of modern man for a long time to come.”

Dr. Shaligram Shukla, Professor of Linguistics

Georgetown University

 

“I can say that in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is I have found explanations and answers to questions I had always posed regarding the interpretations of this sacred work, whose spiritual discipline I greatly admire. If the aesceticism and ideal of the apostles which form the message of the Bhagavad-gita As It Iswere more widespread and more respected, the world in which we live would be transformed into a better, more fraternal place.”

Dr. Paul Lesourd, Author

Professeur Honoraire, Catholic University of Paris

 

Srimad-Bhagavatam

 

“This is a work to be treasured. No one of whatever faith or philosophical persuasion who reads these books with an open mind can fail to be both moved and impressed.”

Dr. Garry Gelade, Professor of Psychology

Oxford University

 

“It has been my great pleasure recently to have read the Srimad-Bhagavatam in the superb edition authorized by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I am sure this monumental work will go far to bring the sublime message of the Bhagavatam to numerous Westerners who otherwise would miss this opportunity.”

Dr. Alex Wayman, Professor of Sanskrit

Columbia University

 

“The Srimad-Bhagavatam is extremely useful for all those interested in ancient India, whether their interest be that of the philosopher, the student of religion, the historian, the linguist, the sociologist or the political scientist. I truly hope that Srila Prabhupada will complete his translation of the entire Bhagavata and continue to translate other eminent Sanskrit works as well. Undoubtedly, this work of Swamiji’s is a great contribution to the troubled human society of today’s world.”

Dr. Sooda L. Bhatt, Professor of Indian Language

Boston University

 

“The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust editions of famous religious classics of India, with new translations and commentaries, are an important addition to our expanding knowledge of spiritual India. The new edition of the Srimad-Bhagavatam is particularly welcome.”

Dr. John L. Mish, Chief, Oriental Division

New York Public Library

 

“A commentary on the Vedanta-sutra by Srila Vyasadeva divided into twelve ‘cantos’ of which four are presented here in eight beautifully produced volumes. These lavish volumes, obviously the product of devotional effort, contain many lovely full-color illustrations.”

Choice magazine, June, 1975

 

“In the diversity of religious approaches offered by the yogis of India, the most significant, of course, is the way of Krsna consciousness. It is amazing to see how Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami has in less than ten years succeeded, by his personal devotion, untiring energy and efficient direction, in organizing the International Society for Krsna Consciousness. Now, he has undertaken the stupendous project of rendering the entire Bhagavata, the great devotional classic of India, into English. His edition is learning blended with devotional feeling and inspired by a definite purpose of communicating the intense Iyrical and devotional quality of the Bhagavata. Srila Prabhupada has done an excellent service by his able rendition of ‘the abode of divine joy’ that theBhagavata is.”

Dr. Mahesh Mehta, Professor of Asian Studies

University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada

 

“It is axiomatic that no book can be expected entirely to satisfy all its potential readers. Here is one, however, which can be said to come remarkably close to that ideal… we have here the ideal of what an edition of a Sanskrit text for a Western audience should be.”

Dr. R. E. Asher, Professor of Linguistics

University of Edinburgh

 

“For those who have no access to the Sanskrit language, these books convey, in superb manner, the message of the Bhagavatam. In addition to being a scholarly work, it directly reflects the spiritual aspirations of a religious community which has gained considerable popularity in modern America.”

Dr. Alaka Hejib, Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies

Harvard University

 

Srimad-Bhagavatam is a valuable source material and cannot but be attractive to serious students and scholars of religion and philosophy. I recommend this series, to anyone, as an important and useful reference work.”

Dr. C. P. Agrawal, Chairwoman

Department of Humanities, University of Michigan

 

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

 

“I am most happy to have these handsomely printed volumes which embody the work of so learned and sincere a believer in the message of the Caritamrta. I thank you.”

Dr. Daniel H. H. Ingalls, Chairman

Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies

Harvard University

 

“The appearance of an English translation of Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami’s Sri Caitanya-caritamrta by A.C. Bhaktivedanta [Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krsna Consciousness] is a cause for celebration among both scholars in Indian studies and lay-people seeking to enrich their knowledge of Indian spirituality. It will fill a most serious lacuna in our libraries and in our courses on the religious traditions of India.

 

“For the first time we possess a readily accessible edition for this great religious classic that will provide opportunity for scholars in Indian literature and followers of the Krsna consciousness tradition alike to compare the original text with a modern English translation and become acquainted with the deeper spiritual meaning of this work through the learned commentary of Sri Bhaktivedanta.

 

“Anyone who gives a close reading to the commentary will sense that here, as in his other works, Sri Bhaktivedanta has combined a healthy mixture of the fervent devotion and aesthetic sensitivity of a devotee and the intellectual rigor of a textual scholar. At no point does the author allow the intended meaning of the text to be eclipsed by the promotion of a particular doctrinal persuasion.

 

“These exquisitely wrought volumes will be a welcome addition to the libraries of all persons who are committed to the study of Indian spirituality and religious literature, whether their interests are sparked by the motivations of the scholar, the devotee or the general reader.”

Dr. J. Bruce Long, Department of Asian Studies

Cornell University

 

“It is a remarkable document of great historical and sociological importance, giving a picturesque presentation of the socio-religious climate in the India of Sri Caitanya’s times and the far-reaching social and religious changes wrought by him. As a literary piece, it is regarded as a work of great merit, having no parallel in the whole of Bengali literature. As a religious text, its sanctity is comparable to that of the Bhagavad-gita.

“This English edition translated by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is superb. It contains the original Sanskrit and Bengali verses with their English transliteration, synonyms, translation and elaborate purports, easily bearing testimony to the author’s profound knowledge of the subject.”

Dr. O.B.L. Kapoor, Emeritus Chairman and Professor

Department of Philosophy

Government Postgraduate College, Gyanpur, India

 

“It is a genuine joy to have this momentous biographical work on the life of Bengal’s great saint Caitanya, prepared by his best-known modern interpreter, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.”

Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer

Associate Professor of Ethics and the Phenomenology of Religions

Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California

 

“Year by year, interest in Eastern religious thought and philosophy grows in America. The editing and translating of the important Sri Caitanya-caritamrtawill make a substantial contribution to those who seek information about Indian concepts.”

Dr. Gerald A. Larue, Professor of Religion

University of Southern California

 

“I can recommend Sri Caitanya-caritamrta as a source of rich insights for every serious student of consciousness.”

Dr. Rory O’Day, Department of Human Relations

University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

 

Other Major Writings by Srila Prabhupada

 

Teachings of Lord Caitanya is an authentic and lucid account, in English, of the life and philosophy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The spiritual movement initiated by ‘the Great Master’ five hundred years ago has profoundly influenced millions of men and women in India ever since, and is presently making its mark throughout the world.

 

“Sri A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the present spiritual master of the movement in disciplic succession, has done a great service to the English-speaking world by making this spiritual treasure available in English.”

Dr. K. L. Seshagiri Rao, Professor of Religious Studies

University of Virginia

 

Krsna is an important book both for the new student of the history of religions and for the professional scholar. It is a helpful and significant contribution to the growing phenomenon of interest in the religions of Asia.”

William A. Johnson, Professor of Philosophy

Brandeis University

 

“The book Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead should prove to be an important addition to materials available for college courses in religion. It is one of the best sources in English for gaining insight into the bhakti religious tradition.”

Louis Roberts, Executive Chairman

Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,

Syracuse University

 

The Perfection of Yoga is most useful for anyone wishing to understand the meaning of yoga. It also introduces the student to the study of Bhagavad-gitaand shows how direct and simple, yet in another sense, how profoundly complex is the path of spiritual growth through yoga practice. It is a scholarly book, yet has a direct personal meaning for all — a powerful combination.”

Dr. Frank Ledwith, Professor of Psychology

University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland

 

“I think the best feature of the Hare Krsna movement is that it is providing scholars with excellent translations of the rarest books on Krsna-bhakti.”

Dr. Lawrence Shinn, Professor of Religion

Oberlin College

 

“I have read Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami’s books with great care, attention and profound interest, and have found them to be of incalculable value to anyone who is curious about India’s spiritual and cultural heritage. The author of these books displays on every page an astounding scholarship in the subjects treated, and also an understanding and ease of exposition of abstruse ideas, which are rarest gifts.”

Dr. H. B. Kulkarni, Professor of English and Philosophy

Utah State University

 

“The publications of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust are very valuable documents and will no doubt become classics for the English reader of Indian religious literature.”

Dr. Jerry M. Chance, Chairman

Department of Philosophy and Religion, Florida A&M University

 

“These books are not only beautiful, but also relevant to our times, as we as a nation search for new cultural patterns for our way of life.”

Dr. C. L. Spreadbury, Professor of Sociology

Stephen F. Austin State University

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