Written by the multiple award-winning author Hindol Sengupta – a doctorate in International Relations from the Geneva School of Diplomacy as well as a Chief Economic Research Officer at Invest India, the national investment promotion agency of government of India – the book shines a light on aspects of Srila Prabhupada’s life which are less commonly known.
Speaking on the same, Sri Chanchalapati Dasa said: “Srila Prabhupada began this part of his journey at age sixty-nine. At this age, many of us are saying, ‘we don't have the energy, my joints are hurting, my brain is tired’. But if you see the pictures of Srila Prabhupada at that age you see just a radiance. It shows that that is actually available for all of us, no matter what age you're at, if you have a mission and you're committed to it.”
One of the most significant aspects of the worldwide movement Srila Prabhupada inspired – which grew to over 100 temples, ashramas and cultural centres in just over a decade – was his determination to unite and bring together people from all walks of life, regardless of their race, gender or ethnicity.
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“He showed that it didn't matter where you were born; his followers were from every community, and they all found common comfort and a sense of purpose there. I think Srila Prabhupada himself said that there's a beauty in simple rituals. Of course, one has to follow the Vedas and the knowledge, but simple rituals that you do together, that's what builds that sense of oneness,” explained Sri Chanchalapati Dasa of the ways in which Srila Prabhupada brought people together.
“Srila Prabhupada taught his early disciples the minutest thing in terms of culture, like how to cook, how to put an agarbati [incense stick] at the altar or how to light a lamp.
“He was not just a messenger of spirituality, he was also someone who brought alive the lived experience, as we say in social sciences, of what it means to have Indian culture in your life,” adds Sengupta in a thought-provoking discussion on the role culture in understanding and practising bhakti (devotion) and how Srila Prabhupada was able to introduce both aspects to his followers.
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Sengupta’s book explores the man who arrived in the U.S. as just another immigrant - albeit with a mission to introduce ancient teachings of Vedic India to mainstream America - and soon garnered thousands of followers and devotees, from not just the U.S. but from around the globe.
Whether you are a member of ISKCON or just someone curious to find out more about the charismatic person that was Srila Prabhupada, this book will definitely inspire you, if nothing else.