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His Divine Grace Mahāmaṇḍaleshwar Mahant Kṛṣṇa Balarām Swāmī Prabhupāda

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His Divine Appearance

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His Divine Grace Mahamandaleshwar Mahant Krishna Balram Swami Prabhupada appeared on the auspicious Jagannatha Ratha Yatra Festival Day(cart Festival of Krsna Balaram Subadhra held in Jagannnath Puri Dham, India). It was 1st July 1956 and he appeared in a Shrotriya Brahmin Gaudiya Vaishnav family. His family’s lineage dates back to Kashyap Muni who is one of the the seven sages born from the mind of Lord Brahmaji, the first living being of the universe. Swamiji was introduced to Bhakti yoga (the path of devotion) since his childhood. His father was a highly respected Vaishnav Brahmin and the guru of many people in Vrindavan Vrajkshetra. He was a reknowned scholar of astrology and a profound knower Srimad Bhagwat Mahapuran. Swamiji’s mother too was very knowledgeable. She was a highly intelligent and spoke elloquently from Srimad Bhagwat Mahapuran . Swamiji was brought up in an extraordinary spiritual environment, in accordance wih all the Vedic rules, under the care and purview of very learned devotee parents.

A rule of Vedic tradition is that one should not make his own or his own children’s horoscope. That is why, at the time of swamiji’s birth, his father had Swamiji’s horoscope made by the head of the Department of Astrology of Kasi Hindu Visvavidyalaya (Varanasi Hindu University), whose original hand-written prediction is still with swamiji, which states the following:

“This child will be a Sanyasi and the true chain of disciplic succession will remain with this Swami. He will have many disciples and his disciples will make disciples to carry the spiritual chain further. To fulfill his goal, this Swami will either participate with an organization or will establish his own organization.”

Education

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Swamiji’s father had began tutoring him from a tender age of 4 years. By the age of eight, Swamiji was rerolled in Vrindavan’s renowned Nimbark Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya College, while staying at the Gurukula (a Vedic residential campus)  within the same college. In the Gurukula Swamiji had memorized thirty thousand verses from scriptures. Meanwhile At the age of nine, Swamiji underwent the sacred thread ceremony and within the next few years he extensively studied various Vedic Scriptures – Vedas,Upanishads, Bhagavatgita, Srimad Bhagavatam,Sanskrit Grammar etc. After studying for eight continuous years in the college Swamiji was transferred to an English college, where he learned to translate the Ancient vedic scriptures written in sanskrit into English.  

Spiritual Initiation

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In 1972 Swamiji met his revered spiritual master AC BhaktiVedanta swami Prabhupada for the first time in Vrindavan Dham, Soon he finished his college and then he took shelter of his Spiritual Master. When he joined ISKCON there were only three thatched huts. Swamiji had left the comforts of his parents’ humble concrete home in Vrindāban and never looked back to return to his home. 

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When Prabhupāda came to Vrindāban, Swāmījī requested to be his disciple. When Śrīla Prabhupāda found out that Swāmījī is a Vrajavāsī, Śrīla Prabhupāda said that Swāmījī is already a Guru, therefore he does not need any initiation. According to Vedic scriptures Vrajavāsīs are Guru to everyone. Swāmījī again requested initiation one year later, but Prabhupāda told him the same thing. On many occasions Śrīla Prabhupāda said that he was already a Guru and did not need any spiritual initiation. Finally, Swāmījī said that without initiation, nobody can receive liberation, so he was called by Prabhupāda into his room at about five in the evening and accepted our Swāmījī as his disciple. This happened on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya tithi.. Swāmījī is Prabhupāda’s only disciple for whom Śrīla Prabhupāda chanted three full rounds of the Mahāmantra on the disciple’s own used beads; which he handed back to Swāmījī. Śrīla Prabhupāda chanted on only three seeds on a new set of beads for every other disciple in ISKCON and gave them those new beads.

Śrīla Prabhupāda told Swāmījī that he was serving Kṛṣṇa Balarām so nicely, and therefore his name is Kṛṣṇa Balarām Dās, and told Swāmījī how much he loves Kṛṣṇa Balarām.

Mood while joining ISKCON

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In regard to his Guru’s movement, our Swāmījī himself said, “I did not join ISKCON thinking that it had big buildings with many Western disciples so I could enjoy their company, but I joined because I understood that Śrīla Prabhupāda was a real devotee and I wanted to help in his mission. I joined to remain truly Kṛṣṇa conscious. I did not join to obtain worship, respect, honor, position, or donations for myself. But I joined my Guru, Śrīla Prabhupāda, knowing that he had wanted everything from the Vedic scriptures to be presented As It Is, and that included its etiquette.” Due to the ISKCON leaders’ deviation from the authentic Vedic standard (consult Swāmījī’s My Mission series for details), Swāmījī officially resigned from ISKCON in 1989. To this day, he is the only disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda who wrote an official resignation letter to resign from ISKCON as a member and the letter was accepted and published in the publication ISKCON minutes. Swāmījī carried on serving his Guru, and realized through the intense feelings in his heart that his Guru had passed on the torch of disciplic succession to him. Thus, he founded the organization Bhagavat Dharma Samaj in 1990.

Honours

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Swāmījī wrote Haricharyā Dīpikā, An Illustration of Devotional Service (printed in 1990) book, in Sanskrit Devanāgarī, which revealed Swāmījī’s strong command of the Sanskrit language and realizations of the path of devotion. This caught the attention of all the Mahants and Śrī Mahants of the four Vaiṣṇava Sampradāyas authorized by the Vedic scriptures. In October of 1991, Swāmījī was unanimously appointed to the position of Mahant by all the Mahants of the four Vaiṣṇava Sampradāyas. Śrīla Prabhupāda had desired this position of Mahant in 1975, which was unfulfilled at that time, but now his will has been fulfilled by our Swāmījī. In April of 2004, the four Vaiṣṇava Sampradāyas elevated Swāmījī to the position of Mahāmaṇḍaleshwar, choosing to bypass the position of Śrī Mahant altogether. Historically Mahāmaṇḍaleshwar is the highest position (equal to cardinal) that has been held among the Mahants of the four Vaiṣṇava Sampradāyas of all of India. At the Kumbha Melā in 2012, all the Śrī Mahants wanted to select Swāmījī for the topmost position of Jagad Guru. Swāmījī has yet to accept that honor.

Preaching

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Swamiji being a pure devotee is very dear to every disciple including Lord Shri Krishna. He showed the world the divine path of devotion and dedication towards Lord Shri Krishna to help the honest and sincere souls to reunite with Lord Shri Krishna. Swamiji propounded the philosophy called Achintyabhedabheda as guided by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the world. Swamiji traveled many times all over the world to spread the message given by Bhagwan Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. His bright personality, incredible knowledge and understanding of his purpose. His great commitment towards this cause are extraordinary. Due to such divine influence many people became followers of Swamiji.

Swamiji believes that out of great fortune, he has become involved in gosthiyanandee (interested in spiritually developing others) tradition of spiritualism, and he takes the responsibility to stop others from marching to hell by encouraging them to adopt devotional service. Gosthiyanandees (who feel for others’ development) fall in the most loving branch of Vaishnavism, therefore we should always guard ourselves from getting carried away by manipulators. No kind of scheme or psychological talks should take Swamiji away from his decided spiritual path. We should always remain chaste devotees to our Guru and Lord Krsna and our purpose and goal should be one-to stay forever under the guidance of and follow one Guru, the accepted Spiritual Master.

Acharya – Teaching by his own example

What is the meaning of life? What is our real identity? What was purpose of this creation? Who is the creator of this universe? What is the idea behind this creation? What are our obligations? It is necessary to answer these questions in order to lead a meaningful life. Swamiji had taken responsibility and commitment to answer all these questions citing references from our ancient Vedic scriptures namely – Vedas, Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Brahmasutras, Srimad Bhagavat Mahapuran etc. He has also written authentic translations for these important Vedic scriptures. According to the Vedic scriptures, an Acharya is one who has explained the inner meaning of the Vedic statements by writing his own commentaries, beginning with the Prasthanatrayi – i.e. the Brahmasutra, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads . Swamiji has done this work with utmost devotion.

 

Swāmījī has written Ekādaśī, the Day of Lord Harī (printed in 1986) book, he wrote the Vaiṣṇava Kaṇṭha-Hāra, The Guidebook for the Spiritually Inclined or A Necklace of the Surrendered Souls (printed in 1989-2018), and has given the Vrajavāsī Commentaries on many Vedic scriptures, including the Bhagavad Gītā (printed in 1991 and in 2017), and the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (printed in fifteen volumes, one-by-one starting from 1991 till 2013 and then printed as a set in 2016). Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is the sweet cream of the Vedic scriptures and the literary incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. Swāmījī is also the first Guru to write translations and commentary on the Vedānta Sūtra in over two hundred years, which nobody else has completed due to the level of understanding of Sanskrit required to translate the aphorisms and give commentary upon. He is also the first Guru ever to have written commentary in three different languages (Sanskrit Devanāgarī, Hindi, and English) on the Vedānta Sūtra (printed in 2016). Swāmījī has written the Guru Nirṇaya Dīpikā, or the Scriptural Decision on Who Can Become Guru and Who Cannot (printed in 1993), which reveals the Vedic injunctions on the qualifications of Guru without diluting anything. His Guru Nirṇaya Dīpikā is substantiated with evidence from over ninety Vedic scriptures and authorities, including direct disciples of Lord Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, such as Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī. Swāmījī has written many other smaller books periodically, including the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (printed in 2005). Swāmījī has spoken complete twelve Cantos of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in seven days and these seven lectures of Swāmījī has been assimilated as a book named as How to Spend Your Best Seven Days on Earth (printed in 2010). A Vedic Vegetarian named Healthy and Wise Choice along with many Vedic recipes (printed in 1993). Bhakti Bhajan Mālā, A Necklace of Devotional Songs (printed in 2005). There several Hindi books published as well and many books have been translated into several Indian and western languages.

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