A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami incorporated the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on 1966.  ISKCON rode the ’60s countercultural wave under the popular moniker, ‘The Hare Krishna Movement.’

With his Storefront Temple in 2nd Avenue NYC barely established, Bhaktivedanta Swami embarked on his first aeroplane flight for San Francisco to encourage the growth of his young movement.  His Storefront followers naively thought his movement would never stretch beyond New York.

The Hare Krishna Movement was growing like wildfire.  Centres were established all over the continent and the youth of America were attracted by the Swami’s charisma, grace and philosophy.  As they learnt about the culture of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, the Swami’s disciples adopted the respectful title of ‘Prabhupada’  for their teacher – ‘one who’s feet other masters sit.’

Prabhupada took his ‘Dancing White Elephants’ to India in 1969.  The tour was a great success.  Firstly, he revealed to the westernized Indians the miracle of westerners adopting the standards of Vaishnavism, pure Indian spirituality.  It was also an opportunity to train his young disciples and to introduce them to the sacred dhamas (places of pilgrimage) of India.

Prabhupada and his followers introduced the Hare Krishna Movement to the youth of Europe, starting in London in 1969.  His followers courted the Beatles.  George Harrison, in particular, became interested in the philosophy of Krishna consciousness.  Harrison arranged for Srila Prabhupada to stay at Tittenhurst Estate, the house of John Lennon.  George Harrison adopted many of the practices of Krishna consciousness and remained connected to the process until his last breath.  He recorded the devotees chanting.  The  Hare Krishna’s appeared on Top of the Pops as their record soared up  the charts.  He also recorded the hugely successful single ‘My Sweet Lord’ which invoked devotion to Krishna and further popularized the chanting of the maha-mantra in the western world.  He later donated a country estate to the movement, the present headquarters of ISKCON.

The Hare Krishna Movement was growing from strength to strength in the early 1970s under the expert managerial and spiritual guidance of Srila Prabhupada.  Prabhupada encouraged his American and European followers to conduct processional chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra – harinam sankirtan –  through the capitals of America, Europe, Australia and India.  He also encouraged the distribution of books and Back To Godhead magazines, printed by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (the BBT), and the opening of preaching centres and Temples.  The unprecedented sale of BBT literatures enabled Prabhupada to purchase land in India for the construction of impressive Temple complexes in Mumbai, Vrindavan and Mayapur by 1975.  The growth of his society, however,  did not stop his daily translation of Sanskrit and Bengali sacred writings.  His activities were nothing short of extraordinary – especially for a man in his late seventies.

Prabhupada tirelessly preached, wrote, taught, managed and inspired his followers.  His movement flowered in the west, and was given a boost in India with the establishment of his flagship Indian Temples in Mumbai and Vrindavan (in Krishna’s village near Delhi).  Prabhupada met with dignitaries, scholars and any one who would hear his message.  He travelled tirelessly around the gobe, inspiring his society with his personal presence.

 

All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Abhaya Caranaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!!  Ki Jaya!!

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