In 1896, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada made his appearance in Calcutta, Bengal. He was given the name Abhay Carana by his Vaisnava father, Gour Mohan De, whose principle desire for his son's spiritual future was for him to become a pure devotee of Lord Sri Krsna, the ultimate goal of Vaisnavism.
Srila Prabhupada exhibited all the telltale symptoms of a nitya-siddha shaktavesa avatara. Such divine Personalities are sent/chosen by The Supreme Personality of Godhead to advent in a body so as to fulfill the mission of the Lord, namely, to impart the Absolute truth to the ignorant, forgetful embodied beings in human form. Abhay Carana’s ultimate destiny and mission would remain unmanifest to the unenlightened until the last few years of his life. Twenty-five years after his disappearance there are still many who are confused over His true exalted spiritual identity, even amongst those who consider themselves to be His followers.
In 1922, Srila Prabhupada's spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, naturally recognized the true shaktavesa identity of his new disciple. He immediately indicated that Abhaya Carana’s assigned mission was to be the vehicle by which the transcendental message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was to be taken to the western world.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and His Divine father, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, had laid a firm foundation for A.C. Bhaktivedanta’s western preaching venture. All three Acaryas spoke and wrote extensively in excellent English. Just prior to His Spiritual Master’s departure, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami's divine mission was again revealed, when Srila Bhaktisiddanta told Him to focus on preparing himself for western preaching. He advised Srila Prabhupada to avoid getting distracted by instructing him not to get too involved in the Gaudiya Matha's administration. Wise advice, as the mission soon divided with great controversy into many variegated missions. Instead, Srila Prabhupada wrote an English commentary on the Bhagavad-gita. In 1944, he started Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine.
In 1950, Srila Prabhupada retired from married life, adopting the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. In 1953, he received the name/title Bhaktivedanta. He established himself in the holy city of Vrndavana at the historic temple of Radha-Damodara. There, he engaged for several years in deep study and writing. It was there that Srila Prabhupada began work on his life's masterpiece - a multi-volume commentated translation of the eighteen-thousand-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana). He also wrote "Easy Journey to Other Planets".
In September 1965, after publishing three volumes of the Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada journeyed by steamship to the United States. Subsequently, His Divine Grace wrote more than fifty volumes of authoritative commentated translations and summary studies of the philosophical and religious classics of India.
In July of 1966, he established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Over the course of the next eleven years, until Srila Prabhupada’s departure in November 1977, millions of His Books were distributed throughout the world, translated into many different languages.
Despite all the temples, farms, schools, and many other programs that manifest through ISKCON, the founder-Acarya Srila Prabhupada insisted that his disciples focus as a top-priority on the printing, translating, and distribution of His many books. Today, Srila Prabhupada's books are highly respected by scholars for their authority, depth, and clarity. His writings constitute a veritable library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature, and culture.
After the departure of each successive Acarya, namely Bhaktivinode, Bhaktisiddhanta and Bhaktivedanta, their preaching missions deteriorated due to falling into the hands of unrealized, pretentious, institutional authorities. Fortunately, their writings remain for all sincere seekers to take shelter of for many thousands of years to come. These Acaryas literal presentations have even been 'tampered with' by foolish editors, on the excuse of improving their grammar. One should try to find the original books whenever possible, and avoid these edited versions.
The advent and pastimes of these great souls are in an exclusive class of their own, and they should never be misidentified as ordinary conditioned souls who have been forced to accept a material body as a result of previous karmic activities. In order to serve their Divine Master, God, they willingly and enthusiastically
accept an appropriate birth so as to facilitate the desire of the Lord, that the conditioned embodied spirit souls who are suffering due to ignorance be made aware of their spiritual identity and their eternal loving relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
by Rocana dasa