Sri Krishna

Sri Guru Parampara

In the Brahma-vaivarta Purana, in a conversation with Ganga Devi, Lord Krishna describes that after 5,000 years of Kali-yuga have passed, His mantra upasaka, the great sage and worshiper of Krishna’s holy names, will appear and spread the chanting of Krishna’s names (in the form of the Hare Krishna mantra) not only in India but throughout the world.

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur

Later, in the 1800s, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, a great devotee in the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya line, predicted in his magazine, Sajjana-toshani, in an article called Nityananda Suryodoy, “Soon there will be a time when chanting of Krishna’s name will be heard in England, France, Russia, Germany, and America.”

In this regard, Srila Bhaktivinode also wrote in his Sajjana-toshani in 1895 that, “Sriman Mahaprabhu [Sri Caitanya] did not descend with His associates to deliver a certain number of human beings in the land of India, but rather His purpose was to deliver and uplift all living beings in all countries of the world by practicing the eternal religion of all souls.” In the same article, Srila Bhaktivinode questioned, when will that day come when all greatly fortunate souls take up banners, drums, and hand cymbals and cause the ecstatic waves of harinama-kirtans [songs of the holy names of the Supreme] and the singing of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s holy name to rise in the streets of their towns and cities?

In 1896, Srila Bhaktivinode predicted in his book, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts, on page 62, “The principle of kirtana, as the future church of the world, invites all classes of men without distinction of caste, creed, or clan to the highest cultivation of the spirit. This church will extend all over the world and take the place of all sectarian churches which exclude outsiders from the precincts of their mosque, church or temple.”

What all this means is that with his spiritual vision, Srila Bhaktivinode could see how the sankirtana process would be taken in the near future to the western countries and, indeed, all over the planet. In fact, in 1875 Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura also predicted: “A personality will soon appear to preach the teachings of Lord Caitanya and move unrestrictedly over the whole world with His message.”

Prayers are Answered

As an answer to these prayers and predictions, on Nandotsava, the annual festival day celebrating Krishna’s birth, in the year of 1896, there appeared His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, known as Srila Prabhupada to many. It was Srila Prabhupada who grew up as a pure devotee of Krishna who took the chanting of “Hare Krishna” around the world and made it a household word.

Srila Prabhupada appeared in this world in Calcutta, India. His father was also a pure devotee of Lord Krishna. He would always invite sadhus, holy men, to his house for meals and always asked them to bless his son to become a great devotee of Radharani, Lord Krishna’s most beloved devotee and consort. Srila Prabhupada’s father once bought him a small cart to pull the Deity of Lord Jagannatha, as they do during the great Rathayatra festival in Jagannatha Puri. So Prabhupada would organize little festivals in his neighborhood. Even then among his playmates, Srila Prabhupada was always considered the leader.

Prabhupada’s father also wanted him to be a good mridunga drum player. So Prabhupada had two teachers, one for mridunga and the other for academics. When Prabhupada became too absorbed in the mridunga lesson, the other teacher would be outside waiting for hours. Prabhupada’s mother would say this was nonsense. “Do you think that you are going to make a living playing mridunga?” Little did she know that his mridunga playing, that he would use to accompany his public chanting, would become famous around the world.

As soon as Srila Prabhupada could read, he would get the train schedules and calculate how he could get to Vrindavana, Lord Krishna’s birthplace. So, even then he was absorbed in thoughts of Lord Krishna.