Srila Prabhupada is widely regarded as the foremost Vedic scholar, a cultural ambassador, a prolific author and a spiritual teacher of the modern era. He is especially respected as the world’s most prominent contemporary authority on bhakti-yoga, devotional service to the Supreme Lord Krishna, as taught by the ancient Vedic writings of India.
SrilaPrabhupada translated and commented in over eighty volumes of books, including the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, a concise handbook for understanding the purpose and goal of human life and the multi-volume Srimad-Bhagavatam, an epic biography of Lord Krishna, His incarnations, and His many devotees throughout the history of the universe.
His books are translated into more than 87 languages and over 500 million copies of them have been distributed. These authorized Vedic texts contain down-to-earth presentations of the most complex spiritual subject matters. These books are still continuing to transform countless lives all over the world.
On September 17, 1959, on the second floor of the Keshavaji Math, before the Deities of Radha-Krishna and Lord Chaitanya, Srila Prabhupada, then called as Abhay Charanaravinda Dasa(after taking initiation from His Holiness Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur) along with ninety-year-old Sanatana, received sannyasa diksha. Akincana Krishnadasa Babaji, Prabhupada’s Godbrother, known for sweet singing, played mridanga and sang Vaishnavabhajanas. Sitting on a raised asana, His Holiness Keshava Maharaja presided. Narayana Maharaja chanted the required mantras and thenKeshava Maharaja delivered a lecture. Then, Keshava Maharaja asked Srila Prabhupada to speak.
After Srila Prabhupada’s speech, each initiate received his sannyasa-danda, the traditional head-high staff made of four bamboo rods bound together and completely enwrapped in saffron cloth. They were given their sannyasa garments: one piece of saffron cloth for a dhoti, one for a top piece, and two strips for underwear. They also received tulasi neck beads and the sannyasa-mantra. Keshava Maharaja announced that Srila Prabhupada would from then be known as Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja and that Sanatana would be Muni Maharaja. After the ceremony, the two new sannyas is posed for a photo, standing on either side of their sannyasa-guru, who sat in a chair.
The Gaudiya Patrika’s account of the sannyasa initiation included a biographical sketch of Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, listing the major events of his life. The article concluded:
“Seeing his enthusiasm and ability to write articles in Hindi, English, and Bengali, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Maharaja gave him the instruction to take tridandi-sannyasa. For nearly one year he had been ready to accept sannyasa. In the month of Bhadra, on the day on which Vishvarupa accepted sannyasa, Bhaktivedanta Swami at the Shri Keshavaji Gaudiya Math accepted sannyasa from the founder of the Vedanta Samiti, Bhaktiprajnana Keshava Maharaja. Seeing him accept his ashrama of renunciation, seeing this pastime for accepting the renounced order of life, we have attained great affection and enthusiasm.”
– from the PrabhupadaLilamrita, by Satsvarupadasa Goswami