The philosophy and culture of Krishna consciousness were brought to the West from India in 1965 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Years earlier, Srila Prabhupada, as he is known, had retired from business and family life to devote himself to serving Krishna and spreading Krishna's message, as he had learned it from his own spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada had published three volumes of Krishna conscious literature, which he had translated from Sanskrit into English. And he started an English- language magazine, BACK TO GODHEAD. Now, at the age of sixty-nine, he received free passage on a freight ship and came to New York.
He was nearly penniless and had no friends or relatives in America. But, depending on Krishna, he chanted Hare Krishna in a public park and taught classes in a small store. Soon people took interest in what he had to say.
Srila Prabhupada's mission was to present Krishna's teachings as they are, without watering them down or compromising to suit popular fashion. His message might become popular or not, but he was determined to give the genuine thing.
Did Srila Prabhupada think himself God? Never. He worked as a humble servant of God. Men who claim to be God, he said, are dogs.
Srila Prabhupada taught how to serve Krishna by his words and by the example of his life. At night and in the early hours of the morning he would write and translate, and during the day he would guide his students in devotional service. He lived and ate simply and slept only a few hours a night.
In twelve years, Srila Prabhupada nurtured his small group into a worldwide movement for spiritual culture and philosophical understanding. It came to be known as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Before Srila Prabhupada passed away, in 1977, he wrote more than sixty books. The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, which he founded, publishes these books in more than sixty languages.