At the age of 69, homeless, penniless and alone, he arrived in the Lower East Side of New York, in search of ‘better opportunities’ to preach his message. This was Skid row; the lowest of the low. Here he lived, worshiped, studied and taught. Every evening his new residence, the rat-ridden 94 Bowery, would fill up with buzzing acidheads, bearded bohemians, ruined alcoholics and disillusioned dropouts. Sex, music, LSD, and meditation is what made them tick.
The Swami would nonchalantly step into the ‘temple’ and take his seat at the front, face-to-face with these confused souls who were looking for real love, real happiness and real spiritual experience. The Swami’s expression would exude bottomless depth, not fazed in the slightest. In short, straight, simple philosophical discourses, he communicated eternal truths with unparalleled impact. When he sang in unsophisticated tunes with a bongo drum, their heads would spin, and their hearts conquered. His tremendous devotion was irresistible, empowering his urgent message to penetrate the core of their hearts. He effortlessly smashed layers of illusion, unrelentingly speaking out in defiance of all materialistic ideology.
From these humble beginnings, Prabhupada went on to found the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and in a few short years made “Hare Krishna” a household word. No amount of social commentary, historical analysis or academic conjecture can account for his miraculous achievements. Prabhupada’s life is tangible proof of the spiritual reality. He forever remains the strength, inspiration and guiding light. Indeed, a saint like none other.
S.B. Keshava Swami
Svayam Bhagavan Keshava Swami (previously known as Sutapa Das) is a spiritual author, community mentor, dynamic teacher and worldwide traveler. In 2002, after graduating from UCL (University College London) with a BSc in Information Management, he adopted full-time monastic life to expand his knowledge, deepen his spirituality, and share these timeless principles with the wider society.
For over twenty years, Keshava Swami was a resident monk at ISKCON UK’s headquarters, Bhaktivedanta Manor. There he pioneered the School of Bhakti (www.schoolofbhakti.com), led the monastic training programme and drove forward national outreach projects. He has designed numerous courses on Vedic theology, lifestyle management, and spiritual self-development, and also authored ten books which bring the ancient wisdom into the modern context.
In 2022, Keshava Swami accepted vows of lifetime renunciation. Nowadays he is a globe-trotter, teaching in universities, corporate firms, government organisations and spiritual communities, bringing wisdom to the places which need it most. He continues to diligently study the Sanskrit texts, considering how to proliferate spiritual wisdom in a world that is suffocating from materialism.
• Veda: Secrets of the East (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)
• In Essence (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)
In Essence Online Course
The 8-session online course below will educate you on all the fundamental principles of Eastern wisdom. We explore karma, reincarnation, the soul, vegetarianism, love, and the practices of yoga and meditation.