Radhanath Swami’s teacher

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada


Radhanath Swami’s teacher

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

I was in Vrindavan, India, in 1971, and I was among five or six other people sitting around Srila Prabhupada. He wasn’t my guru then; he was just one of the saints I was coming to visit.

Somebody asked him, ‘Are you the guru for the whole world?’
He didn’t say anything.

I was really very excited with anticipation—what is he going to say? Most people would say, ‘Yes.’ And after he paused for a few minutes, he looked down to the ground. With tears of humility in his eyes, he said, ‘No, I am the servant of everyone. That’s all.’



His Divine Grace, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) was the principle teacher for thousands of people around the world, including Radhanath Swami.

He is regarded as the world’s pre-eminent exponent of the teachings and practices of Bhakti-yoga, outside of it’s roots in India.


Born Abhay Charan De on September 1, 1896, in Calcutta, as a young man he became involved with Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement. It was, however, a meeting with a prominent scholar and spiritual leader, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, which proved most influential on young Abhay’s future calling.

At their first meeting Srila Bhaktisiddhanta asked Abhay to bring the teachings of Krishna to the English-speaking world. Deeply moved by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s devotion and wisdom, Abhay became his student and dedicated himself to carrying out his mentor’s request. But it wasn’t until 1965, at the age of seventy, that he would set off on his mission to the West.


In these eleven years, Srila Prabhupada circled the globe twelve times, bringing the teachings of Bhakti to thousands of people on six continents. Men and women from all backgrounds came forward to understand his message. With their help, Srila Prabhupada established centres and projects throughout the world including temples, self-sustainable communities, educational institutions, and what would become the world’s largest vegetarian food relief program.

With the desire to nourish the roots of Bhakti in its homeland, Srila Prabhupada returned to India several times, where he sparked its revival. In India, he opened dozens of temples, including important centres in the holy towns of Vrindavan and Mayapur.


We should be in harmony with our own consciousness; our mind, body, and soul should be one in interest and in purpose. And in that unified condition, we can actually express that natural innate love that we have found in our own life in everything we do in the world.


A tree full of ripened fruits bows down naturally, because of the weight of the fruits and it’s willingness to make it’s fruits accessible to others.



“By patience, good humor, and singing and chanting and expounding Sanskrit terminology, Swami Bhaktivedanta day-by-day established Krishna consciousness… What kindness and humility and intelligence… The main thing, above and beyond all our differences, was an aroma of sweetness that he had, a personal, selfless sweetness like total devotion. And that was what always conquered me.”

American Poet, Philospher & Writer


“The thing that always stays is his saying, “I am the servant of the servant of the servant.” I always liked his humility and his simplicity. He just made me feel so comfortable. Even though he was at the time seventy-nine years old, working practically all through the night, day after day, with very little sleep… he had a sort of childlike simplicity. Which is great, fantastic.”

Lead Guitarist for The Beatles & Musician


“Swami Bhaktivedanta brings to the West a salutary reminder that our highly activistic and one-sided culture is faced with a crisis that may end in self-destruction because it lacks the inner depth of an authentic metaphysical consciousness. Without such depth, our moral and political protestations are just so much verbiage.”

Catholic Theologian, Monk & Author


“One afternoon I rushed to a garden where Srila Prabhupada was scheduled to speak, but I was late. I found myself amid grazing cows. Leafy trees swarmed with sweetly singing birds and a crowd of native Vrajabasis gathered under the warming winter sun. Srila Prabhupada was just departing and hundreds of people lining the path bowed to him as a gesture of respect. I was among them. As I lifted my head from the sandy earth, I found his feet, covered by simple canvas slippers, planted just inches from my face. On my knees, looking up, I was face to face with him. His demeanor was grave.

“How long have you lived in Vrindavan?” he asked.

My mind squirmed, fearing he too would chastise me for living here. I replied, “About six months, Srila Prabhupada.”

His large dark eyes gazed down into mine. It was as if nothing else existed but that gaze. I felt that he knew everything about me—my strengths and weaknesses, virtues and faults, all I longed to achieve and all I prayed to be rid of. I was speechless. Perhaps a minute passed in this way. Then, before my eyes, his face blossomed into a munificent smile. “Very good,” he said, rubbing my head affectionately. “Vrindavan is such a wonderful place.”

In his glance and in this briefest of exchanges I experienced the love of an eternal friend, a benevolent parent, and of God. Turning slowly, he walked away down the path, his wooden cane tapping the ground with each step. I closed my eyes and pondered.

He is such a busy man, with tens of thousands of people the world over waiting for a moment of his time. Why did he stop for me? I have nothing to offer, I am just a penniless nobody who sleeps under a tree.

That small gesture had a profound impact on me, more than many of the miracles I had witnessed. It was an impact I could neither understand nor explain. Perhaps, I thought, the miracle of being an instrument of kindness is the most powerful of all.”


For millennia, the teachings of Bhakti had been concealed within Sanskrit and Indian vernacular languages, and the rich culture of Bhakti had been hidden behind the borders of India. However, today, millions around the globe express their gratitude to Srila Prabhupada for revealing the timeless wisdom of Bhakti to a world immersed in a hedonistic and distracted ethos.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada passed away on November 14, 1977, in the holy town of Vrindavan, surrounded by his loving followers, who work together to carry on his work today.