Seven important achievements of Srila Prabhupada

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Seven important achievements of Srila Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada has many accomplishments but let us reflect upon his seven most important achievements.

But before discussing his achievements let us briefly discuss about his journey to the western world which changed the world for good.

Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual journey

At the age of 69 when most people retire and prefer a peaceful life, Srila Prabhupada decided to go on a voyage to a distant land where he had never gone before. His mission was very clear.

He wanted to spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world, which was the desire of his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

Although he would have preferred to go long back but he had no money with him. At last, one kind lady, Sumati Morarjee, who was the owner of a Scindia Steam Navigation Company, allowed him to board her cargo ship, Jaladuta.

His meagre possession

Now he had a ticket and a seat in Jaladuta which would take him to the distant land, America. But he had almost no money with him. While boarding the ship his possessions were: a suitcase, an umbrella, supply of dry cereals, a Bengali copy of Caitanya –Caritamrta and Rs 40.

But his greatest possession two hundred three-volume sets of First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which he had translated and commented upon. These transcendental literatures were being carried in trunks.

This was the first time he would be travelling outside his beloved country Bharatvarsha.

While boarding the cargo ship at the Kolkata port he was not sure if he will ever return back alive. In fact, when he had revealed his heart to his near and dear ones about his mission, no one encouraged him. Everyone thought that he is treading on a wrong path. But he did not bother because he knew Lord Krishna is with him.

He boarded Jaladuta on 13th August 1965.His journey wasn’t smooth. On board he suffered 2 massive heart attacks. He would have left his body if the 3rd would have come.

Poem by Srila Prabhupada: Markine – Bhagavata – dharma

On board he composed a Bengali Poem ‘Markine – Bhagavata – dharma’ . Some of the verses are:

My dear Lord Krishna, you are so kind upon this useless soul, but I do not know why You have brought me here. Now You can do whatever You like with me ……

Somehow or other, O Lord, You have brought me here to speak about You. Now, my Lord, it is up to You to make me a success or failure, as You like…..

Only by Your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts, they will certainly feel gladdened and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life….

O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as You like.

Prabhupada reaches USA and successfully establishes Krishna Consciousness

After 35 days of journey, Jaladuta arrived at Boston’s Commonwealth Pier at 5:30 am on September 17, 1965. Prabhupada was finally in America and his mission was to spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world. This was also what his beloved spiritual master Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati wanted. He had the mercy of his guru and the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna.

During his initial days in USA, he had to struggle a lot. However soon his hard work, his dedication, his determination, his supreme sacrifice started bearing fruits. And in a short span of 12 years, he changed the face of the world, the Hare Krishna movement reverberated in every nook and corner of the world.

Now let us discuss his seven most important achievements:

Achievements of Srila Prabhupada

1. Established Iskcon & opened 108 temples

He established ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) on 13th July 1966 in New York, United States.  He established more than 108 temples all over the world in a short span of 12 years, opened several gurukuls and established farm communities.

Today Iskcon has more than 700 temples all over the world and thousands of centres. There are millions of followers of Iskcon worldwide.

2. Founder of Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Srila Prabhupada is the founder of Bhaktivedanta Book Trust which today has become the world’s largest publisher of Vaishnava philosophy. He has authored more than 80 books on Vaishanava philosophy.

Also, he was instrumental in introducing Vedic gurukul system of education in the western world.

He also started monthly Back to Godhead magazine which is today printed in almost all the languages of the world.  This was also the wish of Srila Prabhupada. He once commented, “Actually we want that BTG be printed in every major language and distributed all over the world so that there is no language barrier in taking to our movement.”

3. Established deity worship all over the world

He is instrumental in promoting deity worship all over the world. This is one of the most important achievements of Srila Prabhupada. He made us understand that deities are not just a carving of stone or metal, but they are actually Radha and Krishna. In this material world although we are not able to see Krishna directly with our eyes like Arjuna would see or the residents of Vrindavan and Mathura would see.

But today the same Krishna is present as arca-vigraha. If one is worshipping the deity as per Vedic standards and with all love and devotion then Krishna manifests.

Srila Prabhupada says Krishna looks weak

Once Srila Prabhupada went to a temple and took darshan of the deity. After paying his obeisances to the deity, he got up and looked towards the deity. He then said to the devotees who were there that Krishna is not being offered proper bhoga (food). He looks weak.

Later when the devotees inquired, they found that because of some mismanagement in the temple, proper bhoga was not being offered to Krishna on time.

So, the deity of Krishna is non-different from Krishna. Similarly, the deity of Srimati Radharani is non-different from Srimati Radharani.  When, we the conditioned souls render service to the deities then we get purified and develop loving devotional service for the Lord.

Today because of Srila Prabhupada’s efforts Krishna is being worshipped in his archa or deity form all over the world. And people are getting an opportunity to get the mercy of Krishna.

Archa Vigraha non different than Krishna

Srila Prabhupada explains about the arca-vigraha form of the Lord,

“The transcendental form of the Lord installed in a temple is not different from the Lord personally. Such a form of the Lord is called arca-vigraha, or arcā incarnation, and is expanded by the Lord by His internal potency just to facilitate the devotional service of His innumerable devotees who are in the material world. The material senses cannot perceive the spiritual nature of the Lord, and therefore the Lord accepts the arca-vigraha, which is apparently made of material elements like earth, wood and stone, but actually there is no material contamination. The Lord being kaivalya (one alone), there is no matter in Him. He is one without a second, and therefore the almighty Lord can appear in any form without being contaminated by the material conception.” Srimad Bhagavatam 1.11.24

4. Introduced Rath Yatra festival outside India

He introduced Rath Yatra festival outside India and also in different Indian cities. Today apart from the grand Rath Yatra festival in Puri, Orissa (India), this glorious event is celebrated in more than 100 major cities of the world such as Dublin, Belfast, Birmingham, London, Budapest, Melbourne, Montreal, Paris, New York, Singapore, Toronto, Antwerp, Kuala Lumpur, Venice, Dhamrai.

This is one of the other noteworthy achievements of Srila Prabhupada.

5. Introduced Vaisnava dress like Dhoti kurta & sari

Dhoti-kurta is a traditional Indian dress, but many Indians because of the influence of western culture feel awkward wearing it. But Srila Prabhupada was very strict. He ensured his disciples whether in west, east, north or south wear Vedic dress.

He was travelling all over the world to teach all how to lead a Vedic life. So, he made sure that his disciples adhere to the Vedic standards. He wanted men to wear dhoti, kurta and women saris. Also, it was important for all the devotees to put on Vaishnava tilak.

I remember the most difficult thing for me was to wear dhoti kurta in my college days. I would think that if my college mates will see then they will make fun of me. And I would feel embarrassed to wear it in front of my parents, brother and sisters. Of course, now there is no problem.

Srila Prabhupada never compromised with any principles. He expected that whatever is given in the scriptures should be followed as it is. Initially when an American devotee wanted that they should give up Vedic dress and wear American dress as it would make them look normal which will help in preaching then Srila Prabhupada disagreed. Srila Prabhupada would say, men with dhoti, kurta, tilak and shaven head and women with saris and tilak look like residents of Vaikuntha.  

6. Made Hare Krishna Mahamantra popular all over the world

How did Srila Prabhupada start preaching? Just by singing Hare Krishna Mahamantra. He would go to park and sing the Mahamantra. And young American boys and girls got attracted to Krishna. Krishna is all attractive, his name is all attractive and when his pure devotee chants his name then obviously anyone listening would get attracted to Krishna.

And today, we see that the chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra has taken the world by storm. Today almost everyone knows this Mahamantra. You Tube is flooded with this divine melody. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came here to teach all to chant the names of Krishna and Srila Prabhupada, his pure devotee, carried forward this divine chanting.

7. Addicted millions to Krishna Prasadam

Iskcon means prasadam. Today, you ask anyone to share their experience of visiting Iskcon and most probably the first thing they will share about Iskcon is its prasadam. In this material world, we have this habit of stuffing ourselves with filthy stuffs. It makes us physically and spiritually sick.

So better to always eat prasadam. Because prsasadam is pure, delicious and carries the mercy of Krishna. Srila Prabhupada was here to distribute mercy of Krishna and one of the best ways is to distribute prasadam as much as possible.

In Kolkata Rath Yatra, thousands of plates of khicdi are distributed free to all and everyone relishes it. At Iskcon Newtown temple in Kolkata, devotees are planning to distribute prasadam to many nearby villages.

When one of the lady devotee asked Prabhupada how to go back to godhead, Srila Prabhupada said, “You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and eat nice kṛṣṇa-prasādam, you go back to home. Rest assured.

As almost all of us enjoy Krishna prasadam, so it won’t be wrong to say that many of us would choose “prasadam” as one of the most important achievements of Srila Prabhupada.

Conclusion

Although here I have highlighted just seven achievements of Srila Prabhupada but there are many more which we can add.

He was a charismatic spiritual leader and a powerful Krishna Conscious preacher. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu had predicted that his mission will spread in every nook and corner of the world.

pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma

“In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard.” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya 4.126)

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu empowered Srila Prabhupada to carry forward the mission of spreading Krishna Consciousness all over the world. Today by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, Hare Krishna movement is still growing and will continue to grow for thousands of years.

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