His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada appeared in this world in 1896 in Calcutta, India. He first met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, in Calcutta in 1922. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, a prominent religious scholar and the founder of sixty-four Gaudiya Mathas (Vedic institutes) in India, liked this educated young man and convinced him to dedicate his life to teaching Vedic knowledge. Srila Prabhupada became his student and, in 1933, his formally initiated disciple.
At their first meeting Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati requested Srila Prabhupada to broadcast Vedic knowledge in English. In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita, assisted the Gaudiya Matha in its work, and, in 1944, started Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine. Single-handedly, Srila Prabhupada edited the magazine, typed the manuscripts, checked the proofs, and even distributed the individual copies.
In 1950 Srila Prabhupada retired from married life, adopting the vanaprastha (retired) order to devote more time to his studies and writing. He traveled to the holy city of Vrndavana, where he lived in humble circumstances in the historic temple of Sri Sri Radha-Damodara. There he engaged for several years in deep study and writing. He accepted the renounced order of life (sanyasa) in 1959.
While residing at Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Mandir, Srila Prabhupada began work on his life's masterpiece: a multivolume translation of the eighteen-thousand-verse Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana). He also wrote Easy Journey to Other Planets during this time.
After publishing three volumes of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada left India and travelled to the United States, in September 1965, to fulfill the mission of his spiritual master. Subsequently, His Divine Grace wrote more than fifty volumes of authoritative commentated translations and summary studies of the philosophical and religious classics of India, including Sri Bhagavad Gita, Sri Caitanya Caritamrta and Srila Rupa Goswami's Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu.
When he first arrived by freighter in New York City, Srila Prabhupada was practically penniless. Only after almost a year of great difficulty did he establish the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in July of 1966. Over the next few years, before leaving this world in 1977, Srila Prabhupada guided the Society and watched it grow to a worldwide confederation of more than one hundred asramas, schools, temples, institutes, and farm communities.
In 1972 His Divine Grace introduced the Vedic system of primary and secondary education in the West by founding the gurukula school in Dallas, Texas. Since then his disciples have established similar schools throughout the United States and the rest of the world.
Srila Prabhupada also inspired the construction of several large international cultural centers in India. The center at Sridhama Mayapur is the site for a planned spiritual city, an ambitious project for which construction will extend over many years to come. In Vrndavana, the transcendental appearance place of Lord Sri Krsna, Srila Prabhupada established the magnificent Krsna-Balarama Temple and International Guesthouse.
In 1972 Srila Prabhupada's established the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) which has subsequently become the world's largest publisher of books in the field of Indian religion and philosophy. Srila Prabhupada's writings continue to be published by the BBT and distributed by His disciples and followers throughout the world.