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Swami Prabhupada’s Journey from A Bengal Businessman to the Pioneer of Hare Krishna Movement

To mark Swami Prabhupada's 125th birth anniversary, a commemorative coin was released by PM Modi on September 1. (Image: ISKCON)

To mark Swami Prabhupada's 125th birth anniversary, a commemorative coin was released by PM Modi on September 1. (Image: ISKCON)

A.C. Bhaktivedanta, widely known as Swami Prabhuprada, was an Indian religious leader and the founder of the Hare Krishna movement and the ISKCON.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a special commemorative coin of Rs 125 on Wednesday, marking the 125th birth anniversary of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta, widely known as Swami Prabhuprada, was an Indian religious leader and the founder of the Hare Krishna movement and the ISKCON. Born in Kolkata in the year 1896 as Abhay Charan De, Prabhupada initially ran a pharmacy business before working as a lecturer, writer, and translator for a journal called Vaisnava after instructions from his spiritual guru Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, who asked Prabhupada to spread the teachings of Krishna throughout the world, according to Brittanica.

As his family did not share his religious interests, he renounced ties and travelled to the United States in 1959. Six years later, Prabhupada moved to New York, where he established the headquarters of the Hare Krishna movement with, according to the official website of ISKCON, a “mission to introduce the ancient teachings of Vedic India into mainstream America.”

Prabhupada’s message of peace and goodwill resonated with many young people, some of whome came forward to become ardent followers of the Krishna tradition, says ISKCON.

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The movement soon gained popularity and many of Prabhupada Swami’s books began to be studied widely. By his death in 1977, more than 50 his books on the Krishna tradition had been published and over 100 temples, ashrams, and cultural centers were opened around the world.

Under his inspiration, ISKCON devotees established temples, educational institutions, and started a vegetarian food relief programme. With Prabhupada’s vision that no one within ten miles of an ISKCON temple should go hungry, ISKCON’s food programme now feed around 1.2 million school children throughout India in partnership with the government’s mid-day meal scheme.

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first published:September 01, 2021, 16:41 IST