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This 2 vol. Biography tells the story of a remarkable individual and a remarkable achievement. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada - philosopher, scholar, religious leader and saint - was responsible for the revolutionary transplantation of a timeless spiritual culture from ancient India to 20th century America. The first volume of this biography begins with the story of the events leading up to Srila Prabhupada's meeting with his guru, an encounter that ignited a slow burning flame of desire to take Krsna consciousness to the Western world. His early life was a period of patient and transcendent determination as he prepared for a mission that would later be crowned with astounding success. In August and September of 1965 Srila Prabhupada travelled alone aboard a steamship from India to New York City, with no more than the equivalent of eight dollars in his pocket and no institutional backing, but with an unshakable faith in Lord Krsna and the instructions of his spiritual master. His encounter with America took place in an era in which the children of those who fought World War II were leading a sweeping revolt against a society losing its soul to a godless mass consumerism. Into this milieu Srila Prabhupada brought a vision of a new kind of society, a society born of a radical transformation of human conciousness from materialism to the loftiest spiritual and ethical idealism. By 1967 he had arrived in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, America's counter-culture capital, where he continued his work of calling America's youth to live up to their higher spiritual ideals and distributing the holy name of Krsna indiscriminately. By the end this volume, we will have seen Srila Prabhupada in England (meeting the Beatles), Holland, Japan, Africa and finally back in India, where he triumphantly returned with his "dancing white elephants" - a group of his mostly Caucasian Western followers. The second volume of this biography begins in 1971. In the West, Srila Prabhupada had firmly established the Krsna consciousness movement, which his disciples were expanding in his absence. The author chronicles his triumphant return to India and his plans for constructing temples in three crucial locations: Bombay, the centre of India's wealth and business; Vrndavana, the sacred village where Lord Krsna lived and sported; and Mayapur, the holy birth site of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who had inaugurated the Hare Krsna movement some 500 years earlier. These are vigorous years spent building a spiritual society in India and establishing centres around the world where people could contact the ancient, orthodox faith of India in their own cities. In this second volume, Srila Prabhupada circles the globe repeatedly, speaking out on timely issues and defending his budding religious society against "brainwashing" charges in America and shady business practices in India. Srila Prabhupada wanted to unite two worlds, the "lame man" of India and the "blind man" of America. "A blind man can carry a lame man", he said, "and together they can walk. Similarly, the combination of Indian spirituality and American technology can benefit the whole world". His principle means of accomplishing this feat was to publish his books - annotated translations of India's spiritual classics. Under his guidance, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust was organized, and by 1977 it had produced and distributed more than sixty million volumes of Srila Prabhupada's writings. A final tour of India in 1977 took Srila Prabhupada, 81 and in failing health, to the colossal Kumbha-mela religious festival, to Hrsikesha and finally back to his beloved Vrndavana. The time had come for his passing, he said. As his anguished disciples flooded to Vrndavan from all corners of the world, Srila Prabhupada presented them with the greatest challenge, Death.
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