Born Abhay Charan De in 1896, Abhaya Caranāravinda Bhaktivedānta Svāmi was the man who gave birth to the Krishna movement in the West.
He is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) movement founder and preceptor.
In case you didn't know, the ISKCON movement is also known as the Hare Krishna Movement.
Here are 5 things you didn't know about the man.
He Was A Businessman
In a previous life, he ran a pharmacy store, was married with a son and lived in Calcutta. His marriage was marred with constant conflict as Abhay was more interested in devoting his time to Krishna than focusing on his business and family.
From Abhay to Swami
Because of his love for Krishna, he began taking interest in the Gaudiya Vaisnava movement and soon was under the tutelage of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. He was given the name Bhaktivedanta by the members of the movement due to his devotion and scholarly abilities. In 1959, he was bestowed the title Swami.
The Tea Biscuit That Did It
Radharani Datta, his wife, was not into Krishna as Abhay was. She was more into the habit of drinking tea – much to his annoyance. It was her act of selling his manuscript of Srimad-Bhagavatam for tea biscuits that led Abhay to leave the family and journey into his next life.
Traveling to the West
In 1965, Srila Prabhupada (an honorific bestowed to him by American disciples in 1968), journeyed to the United States on board the Indian freighter, Jaladuta. He was armed with an umbrella, a suitcase and some dry cereal. He had with little money and was not sponsored to go to the West.
Hippies and The Beatles
Having no place to stay, Srila Prabhupada decided to make the Lower East Side of New York as his home. Coincidentally, this was a hippie hang out spot. So when the Westerners learned that an Indian monk had arrived, many took interest. The followers began reciting the mahamantra: Hare Rama, Hare Krishna and this soon spilled into the popular culture of that time.
It was his meeting with The Beatles, especially George Harrison, which led the movement to go worldwide.
Article Source: Your Dictionary, IndiaDivine.org, ISKCON
Photo Source: ISKCON Bangalore, Pinterest, Goodreads, YouTube, Hare Krishna Movement, Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir