Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder; this "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India. Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Smṛti; these texts discuss theology, mythology, Vedic yajna, agamic rituals, temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Āgamas.
Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja and recitations, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, occasional pilgrimages; some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions engage in lifelong Sannyasa to achieve Moksha. Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, forbearance, self-restraint, compassion, among others; the four largest denominations of Hinduism are the Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism. Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is the most professed faith in India and Mauritius, it is the predominant religion in Bali, Indonesia.
Significant numbers of Hindu communities are found in the Caribbean, North America, other countries. The word Hindū is derived from Indo-Aryan/Sanskrit root Sindhu; the Proto-Iranian sound change *s > h occurred between 850–600 BCE, according to Asko Parpola. It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. According to Gavin Flood, "The actual term Hindu first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the term Hindu in these ancient records did not refer to a religion. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by Xuanzang, 14th-century Persian text Futuhu's-salatin by'Abd al-Malik Isami. Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.
The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people. This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus"; the term Hindu was used in some Sanskrit texts such as the Rajataranginis of Kashmir and some 16th- to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata. These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas or Mlecchas, with the 16th-century Chaitanya Charitamrita text and the 17th-century Bhakta Mala text using the phrase "Hindu dharma", it was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus. The term Hinduism spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious and cultural traditions native to India. Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book.
Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, arriving at a comprehensive definition is difficult. The religion "defies our desire to define and categorize it". Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, "a way of life". From a Western lexical standpoint, Hinduism like other faiths is appropriately referred to as a religion. In India the term dharma is preferred, broader than the Western term religion; the study of India and its cultures and religions, the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by th
RadhaKrishn are collectively known within Hinduism as the combined forms of feminine as well as the masculine realities of God. Radha and Krishna are the primeval forms of God and His pleasure potency in the Vaishnava school of thought in Vedic culture. Krishna is referred to as svayam bhagavan in Vaishnavism theology and Radha is illustrated as the primeval potency of the three main potencies of God, Hladini and Samvit of which Radha is an embodiment of the feeling of love towards the almighty God Shree Krishna. With Krishna, Radha is acknowledged as the Supreme Goddess, for it is said that Krishna or God is only satiated by devotional service in loving servitude and Radha is the personification of devotional service to the supreme, she is considered in Vaishnavism as the total feminine energy and as the Supreme Lakshmi. Various devotees worship her with the understanding of her merciful nature as the only way to attain Krishna. Radha is depicted to be Krishna himself, split into two, for the purpose of His enjoyment.
It is believed that Krishna enchants the world, but Radha "enchants Him. Therefore She is the supreme goddess of all. RadhaKrishn". While there are much earlier references to the worship of this form of God, it is since Jayadeva Goswami wrote a famous poem Gita Govinda in the twelfth century of the Common Era, that the topic of the spiritual love between the divine Krishna and his devotee Radha, became a theme celebrated throughout India, it is believed that Radha is not just one cowherd maiden, but is the origin of all the gopis, or divine personalities that participate in the rasa dance. Vigneshwara cannot be broken into two – Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, his shakti Radha such was the love of Radha towards Krishna that they became one. Krishna in Vrindavana is depicted with Radha standing on his left; the common derivation of shakti and shaktiman, i.e. Female and male principle in a god implies that shakti and shaktiman are the same; each and every god has its partner,'betterhalf' or Shakti and without this Shakti, is sometimes viewed being without essential power.
It is a not uncommon feature of Hinduism when worship of a pair rather than one personality constitutes worship of God, such is worship of Radha Krishna. Traditions worshiping Krishna, as svayam bhagavan, male, include reference and veneration to his Radha, worshiped as supreme. A view that exists of orthodox Vaishnavism or Krishnaism is that Radha is shakti and Krishna is shaktiman and are always found without any tinge of materialistic attributes or cause. From the Vaishnava point of view the divine feminine energy implies a divine source of energy, God or shaktiman. "Sita relates to Rama. As Krishna is believed to be the source of all manifestations of God, "Shri Radha, His consort, is the original source of all shaktis" or feminine manifestation of divine energy. A number of interpretations according to traditions possess a common root of personalism in the understanding of worship. Caitanyaite Gaudiya Vaishnava doctrine and mission is fiercely "personalistic," proclaiming the supremacy of Krishna, the identification of Caitanya as Radha-Krishna, the reality and eternality of individual selves, a method for approaching the absolute reality and the Deity as a person first and foremost.
Jiva Goswami in his Priti Sandarbha states that each of the Gopis exhibits a different level of intensity of passion, among which Radha's is the greatest. In his famous dialogs Ramananda Raya describes Radha to Caitanya and quotes, among other texts, a verse from Chaitanya Charitamrta 2.8.100, before he goes on to describe her role in the pastimes of Vrindavana. The central pivot point of the theology is related to the word rasa; the theological use of the word can be found early, about two thousand years before the Nimbarka or Caitanya school, in a phrase that the tradition quotes: "Truly, the Lord is rasa" of Brahma sutras. This statement expresses the view that God is the one who enjoys the ultimate rasa or spiritual rapture, emotions. Radha Krishna are worshiped in the following traditions of Hinduism: King Gareeb Nivaz ruled from 1710 to 1734 and was initiated into Vaishnavism of the Chaitanya tradition, which worships Krishna as the supreme deity, Svayam bhagavan, he practiced this religion for nearly twenty years.
Preachers and pilgrims used to arrive in large numbers and cultural contact with Assam was maintained. The Manipuri Vaishnavas Radha-Krishna. With the spread of Vaishnavism the worship of Krishna and Radha became the dominant form in the Manipur region; every village there has a temple. Rasa and other dances are a feature of the regional folk and religious tradition and for example, a female dancer will portray both Krishna and his consort, Radha, in the same piece. In Vedic and Puranic literature and other forms of the root >rAdh have meaning of ‘perfection’, ‘success’ and ‘wealth’. Lord of Success, Indra was referred to as Radhaspati. In references to Mahavishnu as the Lord of Fortune and used by Jayadeva as Jaya Jayadeva Hare – the victorious Hari, ‘Radhaspati’ all found in many places; the word Radha occurs in Taittiriya BrAhmana and Taittiriya Samhita. Charlotte Vaudeville, in the article Evolution of Love Symbolism in Bhagavatism draws some parallel to Nappinnai, appearing in Godha's magnum opus Thiruppavai and in Nammalwar’s references to Nappinnani, the daughter-in-law of Nandagopa.
Nappinnai is believed to be the source of Radha’s conception in
This article is about a Hindu theological concept: the original or absolute manifestation of God. For other meanings, see Krishna and Bhagavan. Svayam Bhagavān is a Sanskrit theological term for the concept of absolute representation of God as Bhagavan - The Supreme Personality who possesses all riches, all strength, all fame, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation. According to the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna is termed Svayam Bhagavan; as stated in Bhagavata Purana, Hindu Vedic Supreme God Para Brahman appeared before Vasudeva and Devaki in his divine original form before taking birth as Krishna. Vasudeva and Devaki after praising Vishnu, requested him to hide his divine form, which Vishnu agreed to do, transforming himself into a small baby Krishna. According to this account, Krishna never took birth from the womb of His mother like a common baby. Svayam Bhagavan It is most used in Gaudiya Vaishnava Krishna-centered theology referencing Krishna and that title is used there to designate Him, there being conflicting semantics or other usages in the Bhagavata Purana.
Traditions of Gaudiya Vaishnavas, the Nimbarka Sampradaya and followers of Vallabha consider Him to be the source of all Avatars, the source of Vishnu and Narayana. As such, He is therefore regarded as Svayam Bhagavan. Though Krishna is recognized as Svayam Bhagavan by many, He is perceived and understood from an eclectic assortment of perspectives and viewpoints; when Krishna is recognized to be Svayam Bhagavan, it can be understood that this is the belief of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, the Vallabha Sampradaya, the Nimbarka Sampradaya, where Krishna is accepted to be the source of all other Avatars, the source of Vishnu himself. This belief is drawn from the "famous statement" of the Bhagavatam. A different viewpoint differing from this theological concept is the concept of Krishna as an avatar of Narayana or Vishnu, it should be however noted that although it is usual to speak of Vishnu as the source of the Avataras, this is only one of the names of the God of Vaishnavism, known as Narayana, Vasudeva Krishna and behind each of those names there is a divine figure with attributed Supremacy in Vaishnavism.
The theological interpretation of svayam bhagavān differs with each tradition and the literal translation of the term has been understood in several distinct ways. Translated from the Sanskrit language, the term means "Bhagavan Himself" or "directly Bhagavan". Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition translates it within its perspective as primeval Lord or original Personality of Godhead, but considers the terms such as Supreme Personality of Godhead and Supreme God as an equivalent to the term Svayam Bhagavan, may choose to apply these terms to Vishnu and many of their associated avatars. Early commentators of Bhagavata Purana such as Madhvacharya translated the term Svayam Bhagavan as "he who has bhagavata". Others have translated it as "the Lord Himself". Followers of Vishnu-centered sampradayas of Vaishnavism address this term, but believe that it refers to their belief that Krishna is among the highest and fullest of all Avatars and is considered to be the "paripurna avatara", complete in all respects and the same as the original.
According to them Krishna is described in the Bhagavata Purana as the purnavatara of Bhagavan, while other incarnations are called partial. "Krishna being Bhagavan. There is a universal acceptance of the uniqueness of Krishna incarnation throughout Hinduism, as well as the principles involved in His life and personality for which He has been described as Svayam Bhagavan. There is an element of countenance in many Krishna centered traditions to the subordination of Krishna to Vishnu; the reasons for that are given that it was the easiest way to accommodate Krishna's human story within the composite Vaishnava theological perspective. These "core texts assert and defend the ultimacy of Krishna's identity"; however inclusion of Krishna in the list of avataras does not subordinate him to Vishnu as one of the latter's expansions. Early authors, such as 12th century Jayadeva considered dasavatara to be principal incarnations of Krishna, rather than Vishnu; the prime supporters of the Krishna-centered theology, Gaudiya Vaishnavas and followers of the Vallabha Sampradaya and Nimbarka Sampradaya, use the Gopala Tapani Upanishad, Vedanta Sutras and other Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavata Purana as in verse 1.3.28 and the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, among others, to support their view that Krishna is indeed the Svayam Bhagavan.
This belief was summarized by the 16th century author Jiva Goswami in some of his works, such as Krishna-sandarbha. While Krishna himself is mentioned in one of the earliest texts of Vedic literature - the Rig-Veda. In the sixth book of the Hindu epic Mahābhārata, the Bhishma Parva, Krishna offers numerous quotations that reaffirm the belief that he himself is the Svayam Bhagavan. Verse 7.7 of the Bhagavad Gita, is used to support the opinion that Krishna himself is the Svayam Bhagavan, that no impersonal form of Brahman supersedes his existence, as it is a common view that Bhagavad Gita was propounding Krishna-theism before first major proponents of monism. Other pervading understandings of the position of Svayam Bhagavan asserted in the Gita are connected to, non-Krishna-centered, traditions. One tradition follows predominately the views of Sankaracharya commentary on Brahma Sutras and is referred as maya-vad which j
Yashoda spelt as Yasodha, is the foster-mother to the god Krishna and a wife of Nanda in the Puranic texts of Hinduism. Within the Bhagavata Purana, it is described that Krishna, born to Devaki, was given to Yashoda and Nanda in Gokul exchanging her daughter Adi Parashakti by Krishna's father Vasudeva on the night of his birth, for his protection from Devaki's brother, the king of Mathura. Various childhood episodes or Lilas of Krishna, growing in Yashoda's household abound in Hindu religious texts, important amongst them are, Krishna giving darshan to Yashoda with his Vishwaroopa or his Divine Form, it is stated by Ved Vyasa in Mahabharata, the main Epic which portrays Krishna as principal hero, that venerable sage Maharishi Narada once visited Krishna at Brindavan. Krishna as usual was swallowing it. Mother Yashoda, upon seeing it, was furious with Krishna for disobeying her and punished Krishna by tying him to a grinding stone. Upon witnessing this act a couplet broke forth Sage Narada "Enna Thavam Saidhanai, Yashoda" which in Tamil means: "What penance have You undertaken to be bestowed with the powers to punish the supreme".
And seen as a question to Naryana himself as to how he accepts all this. It means what penance Yashoda had undertaken in her previous birth to be bestowed upon with the powers to punish and care for the Supreme Vishnu. Upon this request it is said that Krishna opens his mouth in front of Yashoda who sees the Seven Oceans, the entire Universe with its vast expanse and Narayana seated upon Adishesha, attended upon by his beloved consort Mahalakshmi. Upon this divine intervention, Mother Yashoda faints only to be revived by Krishna and attended by Sage Narada, who explains to her about Krishna's Life. Krishna stealing the butter, Krishna tied to mortar in couplets written by poet-saint Surdas, where her deep affection for Krishna becomes an epitome of'Vatsalya Prema', Mother's Love and even'Vatsalya Bhakti’, Mother's Devotion. Yasoda played an important role in the upbringing of Krishna's elder brother Balarama and sister Subhadra, she had a daughter of her own known as Ekānaṅgā. She is the mother of Krishna.
Yogamaya was born to her. Due to influence of maya the Whole World were asleep; as per Krishna's instruction the baby was exchanged by Vasudeva. Yasodha was unaware, she thought that she gave birth to putra Sri krishna and was more committed to Her son after He returned to Mathura. According to Devi Bhagwat Purana, the ruler of Mathura had decided to kill his sister Devaki's son Krishna as soon as he was born. In order to protect Krishna from Kansa and Yoganidra or Yogamaya were born at the same time from the wombs of Devaki and Yashoda and were exchanged by Vasudeva. Krishna survived as foster son of Yashoda. While Kansa tried to kill Yogamaya, Yashoda's daughter, she assumes her real form as Devi and flown to sky, she retired to dwell in Vindhya hills as Vindhyavasini Devi. Gaudiya Vaishnavism Krishna Janmashtami Nanda Baba Nandvanshi Yadu Yaduvanshi Ahirs Yashoda Krishna, a 1975 Telugu film directed by C. S. Rao; the film picturised the his attachment towards Yashoda. Sridevi played a role of the child Krishna in the film.
Story of Krishna and Yashoda Yashoda profile
Bhagavata Purana known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā Purāṇa, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata, is one of Hinduism's eighteen great Puranas. Composed in Sanskrit and available in all major Indian languages, it promotes bhakti to Krishna integrating themes from the Advaita philosophy and from the Dvaita philosophy; the origin of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam can be traced back to God Brahma who initiated Narada Rishi summarised in four verse called Chatur Sloki Bhagavatam. Narada Rishi submitted the same to Lord Veda Vyasa who elaborated to the presently available twelve skandhas and initiated to Sri Shukacharya. Lord Veda Vyasa has recorded the following narrations of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in seven days or in Saphaha format in the Puranas being worthy: Sri Shukacharya narrated Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for seven days to Parakshit Raja on the banks of Ganga and present Haridwar. Gokarna narrated Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for seven days on the banks of river Tungabhadra. Narada Rishi organized Śrīmad Bhāgavatam for seven days at Ananda on the banks of Ganga wherein Sanatkumara narrated.
Sri Sutacharya, present during the first narration of Sri Shukacharya to Parakshit Raja narrated Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to Sri Saunaka Rishi in Naimisaranya in an elaborate way and for a long period of time. The Bhagavata Purana discusses a wide range of topics including Cosmology, Geography, Legend, Dance and Culture; as it begins, the forces of evil have won a war between the benevolent devas and evil asuras and now rule the universe. Truth re-emerges as Krishna, – first makes peace with the demons, understands them and creatively defeats them, bringing back hope, justice and happiness – a cyclic theme that appears in many legends; the Bhagavata Purana is a revered text in a Hindu tradition that reveres Vishnu. The text presents a form of religion that competes with that of the Vedas, wherein bhakti leads to self-knowledge and bliss; however the Bhagavata Purana asserts that the inner nature and outer form of Krishna is identical to the Vedas and that this is what rescues the world from the forces of evil.
An oft-quoted verse is used by some Krishna sects to assert that the text itself is Krishna in literary form. The date of composition is between the eighth and the tenth century AD, but may be as early as the 6th century AD. Manuscripts survive in numerous inconsistent versions revised through the 18th century creating various recensions both in the same languages and across different Indian languages; the text consists of twelve books totalling 332 chapters and between 16,000 and 18,000 verses depending on the recension. The tenth book, with about 4,000 verses, has been the most popular and studied, it was the first Purana, translated into a European language, when a French translation of a Tamil version appeared in 1788 and introduced many Europeans to Hinduism and 18th-century Hindu culture during the colonial era. "Purana" means "ancient, old". Bhagavata means "devoted to, follower of Bhagavat – the "sacred, divine". An alternative interpretation of Bhagavata is "devotees of the Adorable One".
Bhagavata Purana therefore means "Ancient Tales of Followers of the Lord". The composer of this work, Lord Veda Vyasa, in his second verse has described the Subject and the Fruit of studying and named it as Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri is used for abundance or richness; such Sri hence called Srimad. Bhagavata means Sacred or Divine or Holy; the holy or divine verses brings an abundance of happiness, Knowledge, in Vedas and Vedanta, Vairagya to the reader or listener and hence is called Srimad Bhagavatam. The Bhagavata is recognized as the best-known and most influential of the Puranas and, along with the Itihasa and other puranas, is sometimes referred to as the "Fifth Veda", it is important in Indian religious literature for its emphasis on the practice of devotion as compared to the more theoretical approach of the Bhagavad Gita. It is the source of many popular stories of Krishna's childhood told for centuries on the Indian subcontinent and of legends explaining Hindu festivals such as Holi and Diwali.
The Bhagavata declares itself the essence of derivative Smritis. Here Vedas are like seeds, Brahma Sutra, Bhagavad Gita, Vishnu Sahasaranama is like trunk, leaves, flowers; the fruit and its Juice being Srimad Bhagavata. As Srimad Bhagavata has the substance of Vedas and Mahabarata, it has high significance; the Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence of all the Vedanta literature. One who has enjoyed the nectar of its rasa never has any desire for anything else; the text has played a significant role in Chaitanya's Krishna-bhakti in Bengal, in the 15th–16th century Ekasarana Dharma in Assam, a panentheistic tradition whose proponents and Madhavdeva, acknowledge that their theological positions are rooted in the Bhagavata Purana, purged of doctrines that find no place in Assamese Vaishnavism and adding a monist commentary instead. In northern and western India the Bhagavata Purana has influenced the Hari Bhakti Vilasa and Haveli-style Krishna temples found in Braj region near Mathura-Vrindavan; the text complements the Pancharatra Agama texts of Vaishnavism.
While the text focu
The cult of Krishna Vāsudeva is one of the earliest forms of worship in Krishnaism and Vaishnavism. It is believed to be a significant tradition of the early history of the worship of Krishna in antiquity; this tradition is considered separately to other traditions that led to amalgamation at a stage of the historical development. Other traditions are Bhagavatism and the Cult of Gopala, that along with the Cult of Bala-Krishna, form the basis of current tradition of monotheistic religion of Krishna; some early scholars equate it with Bhagavatism, the founder of this religious tradition is believed to be Krishna, the son of Vasudeva, thus his name is Vāsudeva. He is believed to be part of the Satvata tribe, according to them his followers called themselves Bhagavatas; this religion formed between the 4th century BC and the 2nd century BC, according to evidence in Megasthenes and in the Arthashastra of Kautilya, when Vāsudeva was worshiped as supreme Deity in a monotheistic format, where the supreme Being was perfect and full of grace.
In many sources outside of the cult, devotee or bhakta is defined as Vāsudevaka. The Harivamsa describes intricate relationships between Krishna Vasudeva, Sankarsana and Aniruddha that would form a Vaishnava concept of primary quadrupled expansion, or chatur vyuha. Radha Krishna Krishna in the Mahābhārata Bhagavad Gita Bhagavata Purana Hastings, James Rodney. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. 4. John A Selbie. Edinburgh: Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 476. ISBN 0-7661-3673-6. Retrieved 2008-05-03; the encyclopedia will contain articles on all the religions of the world and on all the great systems of ethics. It will aim at containing articles on every religious belief or custom, on every ethical movement, every philosophical idea, every moral practice. Hein, Norvin. "A Revolution in Kṛṣṇaism: The Cult of Gopāla: History of Religions, Vol. 25, No. 4, pp. 296-317". JSTOR 1062622. SINGER, Milton. Krishna Myths Rites & Attitudes. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO. ISBN 0-313-22822-1. Delmonico, N.. "The History Of Indic Monotheism And Modern Chaitanya Vaishnavism".
The Hare Krishna Movement: the Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-12256-6. Retrieved 2008-04-12. Mahony, W. K.. "Perspectives on Krsna's Various Personalities". History of Religions. 26: 333–335. Doi:10.1086/463085. JSTOR 198702. BHATTACHARYA, Gouriswar: Vanamala of Vasudeva-Krsna-Visnu and Sankarsana-Balarama. In: Vanamala. Festschrift A. J. Gail. Serta Adalberto Joanni Gail LXV. diem natalem celebranti ab amicis collegis discipulis dedicata. Gerd J. R. Mevissen et Klaus Bruhn redigerunt. Berlin 2006. COUTURE, André: The emergence of a group of four characters in the Harivamsa: points for consideration. Journal of Indian Philosophy 34,6 571-585
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Abhaya Caranaravinda Bhaktivedānta Svāmi was an Indian spiritual teacher and the founder-preceptor of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness known as the "Hare Krishna Movement". Members of the ISKCON movement view Bhaktivedānta Swāmi as a representative and messenger of Krsna Caitanya. Born Abhay Charan De in Calcutta, he was educated at the Scottish Church College in Calcutta. Before adopting the life of a novice renunciate in 1950, he was married with children and owned a small pharmaceutical business. In 1959 he started writing commentaries on Vaishnava scriptures. In his years, as a traveling Vaishnava monk, he became an influential communicator of Gaudiya Vaishnava theology to India and to the West through his leadership of ISKCON, founded in 1966; as the founder of ISKCON, he "emerged as a major figure of the Western counterculture, initiating thousands of young Americans." He received criticism from anti-cult groups, as well as a favorable welcome from religious scholars such as J. Stillson Judah, Harvey Cox, Larry Shinn and Thomas Hopkins, who praised Bhaktivedānta Swāmi's translations and defended the group against distorted media images and misinterpretations.
In respect to his achievements, religious leaders from other Gaudiya Vaishnava movements have given him credit. He has been described as a charismatic leader, in the sense used by sociologist Max Weber, as he was successful in acquiring followers in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, his mission was to propagate, throughout the world, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a school of Vaishnavite Hinduism, taught to him by his guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. After his death in 1977, ISKCON, the society he founded based on a type of Hindu Krishnaism using the Bhagavata Purana as a central scripture, continued to grow. In February 2014, ISKCON's news agency reported reaching a milestone of distributing over half a billion of his books since 1965, his translation of and commentary on the Bhagavad Gītā, titled Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, is considered by adherents of the ISKCON movement and many Vedic scholars as one of the finest literary works of Vaishnavism translated into the English Language. Swāmījī — original honorific used by American disciples Prabhupāda — bestowed by American disciples, 1968, popularised by ISKCON Śrīla Prabhupāda — bestowed by American disciples, 1968, popularised by ISKCON His Divine Grace — title of address bestowed by American disciples, popularised by ISKCON Svāmī Mahārāj — used in his home denomination Gauḍīya Maṭha Śrīla Bhaktivedānta — used in Chaitanya Mission / Science of Identity Born on 4 September 1896, the day after Janmastami, one of the most important Vaishnava holidays, in a humble house in the Tollygunge suburb of Calcutta in a Bengali Suvarna Banik family, he was named Abhay Charan, "one, fearless, having taken shelter at Lord Krishna's feet."
Since he was born on the day of Nandotsava he was called Nandulāl. His parents, "Sriman" Gour Mohan De and "Srimati" Rajani De, were devout Vaishnavas. In accordance with Bengali tradition, his mother had gone to the home of her parents for the delivery, only a few days Abhay returned with parents to his home at 6 Sitakanta Banerjee Lane, Kolkata 700005, he received a European-led education in the Scottish Church College, well reputed among Bengalis. The professors, most of whom were Europeans, were known as sober, moral men, it is believed that the students received a good education; the college was located near the De's family home on Harrison Road. During his years in the college, Abhay Charan De was a member of the English Society as well as that of the Sanskrit Society, it has been suggested that his education provided him a foundation for his future leadership, he graduated in 1920 with majors in English and economics. He rejected his diploma in response to Gandhi's independence movement.
At 22 years of age he married Radharani Devi, 11 years old, in a marriage arranged by their parents. At 14, she gave birth to Abhay's first son. In 1922, when he first met his spiritual master, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he was requested to spread the message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the English language. In 1933 he became a formally initiated disciple of Bhaktisiddhānta. In 1944, he started the publication called Back to Godhead, for which he acted as writer, publisher, copy editor and distributor, he designed the logo, an effulgent figure of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the upper left corner, with the motto: "Godhead is Light, Nescience is darkness" greeting the readers. In his first magazine he wrote: Under the circumstances since 1936 up to now, I was speculating whether I shall venture this difficult task and that without any means and capacity. In 1947, the Gaudiya Vaishnava Society recognised his scholarship with the title Bhaktivedanta, meaning "one who has realised that devotional service to the Supreme Lord is the end of all knowledge".
His well known name, Prabhupāda, is a Sanskrit title meaning "he who has taken the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord" where prabhu denotes "Lord", pāda means "taking shelt