My spiritual teacher, or guru, is Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The word srila means one who not only lives in the beauty of reality, but also makes it available to others. Prabhupada spread Vedic wisdom to every continent of the world and showed by example how to apply it. His title, “Prabhupada,” means that he is a teacher’s teacher, because he brought an inestimable number of new teachers into the world to share the Vedas for the benefit of all living beings.
In 1965, at the age of 70, Srila Prabhupada ventured out of India for the first time to bring Vedic wisdom to the West. Before arriving in America, he wrote the following in his preface to Srimad-Bhagavatam:
Human society, at the present moment, is not in the darkness of oblivion. It has made rapid progress in the field of material comforts, education, and economic development throughout the entire world. But there is a pinprick somewhere in the social body at large, and therefore there are large-scale quarrels, even over less important issues. There is need of a clue as to how humanity can become one in peace, friendship, and prosperity with a common cause. Srimad-Bhagavatam will fill this need, for it is a cultural presentation for the respiritualization of the entire human society.
To teach the practices recommended by the Vedas for today’s world, he brought with him several books of Vedic wisdom that he had translated from the original Sanskrit.
Srila Prabhupada came to teach the difference between spirit and matter. He taught what Krishna teaches in the Gétä: that we are metaphysical beings living in physical bodies. Before his departure from this world in 1977, he wrote 80 books, opened 108 spiritual centers around the world, and initiated 5,000 students into the practice of bhakti yoga.
The knowledge and practices in this book come from a bygone culture in which people lived in harmony with the laws of nature, and kept themselves fit in body, mind, and spirit. Their purpose was not only to attain their full potential as humans, but also to teach others how, following the teachings of the Vedas, to find both inner happiness and material prosperity in their lives.
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