His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada came to this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, for the first time in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, the famous theologian and founder of sixty-four Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic Institutes), took a liking to the learned young man and persuaded the latter to dedicate his life to the spread of Vedic knowledge. Srila Prabhupada becomes a follower of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and eleven years later (1933 in Allahabad) an officially initiated disciple.
During the first meeting, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura asked Srila Prabhupada to preach Vedic knowledge in English. In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote commentaries on the Bhagavad-gita, contributed to the activities of the Gaudiya Maths, and in 1944 began publishing a fortnightly magazine in English, Back to Godhead, which now continues to be published in the West by more than thirty languages.
In 1947, in recognition of Srila Prabhupada's rare erudition and devotion to the Lord, the Gaudiya Vaishnava community gave him the title of "Bhaktivedanta". In 1950, at the age of fifty-four, Srila Prabhupada renounced family life and became a vanaprastha, taking the vows of a hermit, devoting more time to study and writing books. He goes to the holy city of Vrindavan and takes up residence in the historic medieval temple of Radha-Damodara. Here, in a modest environment, he studied and wrote diligently for several years. In 1959, Srila Prabhupada took the vows of sannyasa. At the Radha-Damodara temple, Srila Prabhupada begins the work of his life's masterpiece, a multivolume annotated translation of the 18,000-stanza Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Puranas). Written by "Easy Journey to Other Planets" (Lithuanian: "Beyond time and space").
In 1965, after publishing three volumes of the Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada came to the United States to fulfil a mission assigned to him by his spiritual master. He subsequently published more than sixty volumes of authoritative translations with commentaries and studies surveying the classic works of Indian religion and philosophy.
When Srila Prabhupada arrived in New York by cargo ship in 1965, he had practically no funds. Only in July of the following year, after experiencing great difficulties, he founds the International Organization for Krishna Consciousness. When Srila Prabhupada left this world in 1977 (November 14), the organisation under his leadership had already grown into a worldwide confederation of more than a hundred ashrams, schools, temples, institutes, and agricultural communities.
Srila Prabhupada established the first Krishna Conscious Agricultural Community in West Virginia. In addition, he introduced the Vedic education system - the gurukula - in Western countries.
Srila Prabhupada is also the initiator of the establishment of several large international cultural centers in India. A spiritual city is envisaged to emerge around the center of Sri Dhama Mayapur in West Bengal.
It will take more than ten years to realise this grandiose ambition. In Vrindavan, India, a magnificent Krishna-Balrama temple and hotel has been built for guests from all over the world. There is also a large cultural and educational center in Bombay. Centers will also be set up at many important locations in India.
However, Srila Prabhupada's most valuable contribution is his books. Highly regarded by scholars for their authority, depth of thought, and clarity, they are used as academic textbooks in many colleges. Srila Prabhupada's writings have been translated into more than 50 languages. The publishing house "The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust", established in 1972 to publish Srila Prabhupada's books, is currently the largest publisher of Indian religious and philosophical literature in the world.
Already at a respectable age, in twelve years Srila Prabhupada traveled the planet fourteen times with lectures, stayed on six continents. Despite being very busy, Srila Prabhupada wrote extensively all the time. His writings form a whole library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.