Born on September 1, 1896 in Kolkata, Swami Prabhupada founded the international society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known as the ‘Hare Krishna Movement’. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a special Rs. 125 coin to mark his birth anniversary, through a video conference.
While releasing the coin, PM Modi said, “Today we are celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of Srila Prabhupada. It is as if the joy of meditation/devotion and contentment have come together. Millions of followers of Srila Prabhupada Swami and Krishna devotees are experiencing this feeling today all over the world.”
Recalling the role of ISKCON during the disasters faced by the country, the PM said, “I remember when there was an earthquake in Kutch in 2001, how ISKCON had stepped forward to serve the people. Whenever the country experienced any calamity, whether it is the tragedy of Uttarakhand or the devastation of cyclones in Odisha and Bengal, ISKCON has worked as a support for the society."
The PM congratulated the religious movement for its work and services and said that it played the role of a brand ambassador for India’s traditions and values across the world. PM also associated the global presence of ISKCON to the success of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” or the “Make in India” campaign. “How we feel a sense of belonging and pride when we are greeted with ‘Hare Krishna’ in foreign countries. Imagine how we will feel if we find the same familiarity for ‘made-in-India’ products outside,” he said.
ISKCON has played a major role in dissemination of the vedic literature across the globe, translating the Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta and other Vedic literature in 89 languages and making it more accessible for the masses.
Swami Prabhupada initially ran a pharmaceutical business but he left India in 1959 to share his love and teachings of Krishna with the world. He settled in New York in 1965 and opened the first ISKCON centre that led to the numerous temples and cultural centres being set up across the globe.