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The Meaning of “Prabhupada”

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Devotees at the former New York Hare Krishna Temple.

Devotees at the former New York Hare Krishna Temple.

The word Prabhupada is a term of the utmost reverence in Vedic religious circles, and it signifies a great saint even among saints. The word actually has two meanings: first, one at whose feet (Pada) there are many Prabhus (a term meaning ”master,” which the disciples of a Guru use in addressing each other). The second meaning is one who is always found at the Lotus Feet of Krishna (the Supreme Master).

In the line of disciplic succession through which Krishna Consciousness is conveyed to mankind, there have been a number of figures of such spiritual importance as to be called Prabhupada:

Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada executed the will of his Master, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and therefore he and his associate Goswamis are called Prabhupada. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur executed the will of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, and therefore he is also addressed as Prabhupada. Our Spiritual Master, Om Vishnupad 108 Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj has, in the same way, executed the will of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada in carrying the message of love of Krishna to the Western world, and therefore we American and European humble servants of His Divine Grace, from all the different centers of the Sankirtan Movement, have followed in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada, and prefer to address His Grace our Spiritual Master as Prabhupada, and he has kindly said “Yes.”

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