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Bhakti Charu Swami (IAST: Bhakti Cāru Svāmī, September 17, 1945 – July 4, 2020) was a spiritual leader of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and a disciple of ISKCON's founder A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
He was born in 1945 into an aristocratic Bengali family and spent the rest of his early childhood in urban Kolkata. Leaving India in 1970 for his further education, he attended university in Germany. There, he searched out the ancient Vedic scriptures and instantly became driven to explore the depths of spirituality, discovering the richness of India’s spiritual heritage.
Becoming engrossed in the depths of a book which he obtained called The Nectar of Devotion written by Srila Prabhupada, he realized that he had found his spiritual master and the path for which he was searching. Bhakti Charu Swami joined the International Society for Krishna Consciousness(ISKCON) in Mayapur, West Bengal, India. His first meeting with Srila Prabhupada finally took place in January 1977 during the Maha Kumbha Mela at Prayagraj. On his first meeting only, Srila Prabhupada gave him the following instructions: to translate all of his books into Bengali and become his Secretary for Indian Affairs. He was given first and second initiation in Sridham Mayapur during the Gaura Purnima festival in March 1977. Shortly after, during the Snana Yatra festival in Vrindavan, Srila Prabhupada awarded him the renounced order of sannyasa. He later then served as the GBC (Governing Body Commissioner) Chairman in 1989 and later in 2017. Maharaja continued to translate many of Srila Prabhupada’s books into Bengali to its completion in 1996, which is the centennial anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s appearance.
Thereafter, he was involved in creating, writing, producing and directing the epic biographical and well known video series, Abhay Charan. With over 100 episodes and broadcast on Indian National Television, reaching more than 4 million viewers in a short span of few months, the series beautiful and chronologically portrays Srila Prabhupada’s whole life and achievements.
He further went on to develop the ISKCON project in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India. This is the place where Lord Sri Krishna, along with His brother Balarama and friend Sudama received Their education from Maharishi Sandipani. Under Maharaj’s leadership there, an extraordinary marble temple was inaugurated in less than 10 months in February 2006. As a resident GBC of that area, he continues to oversee the development of the project and the preaching programs in Madhya Pradesh and surrounding areas.
The Ujjain ISKCON temple under the direction of Bhakti Charu Swami feeds more than 23,000 school children per day. To facilitate this feeding project, Bhakti Charu Swami built a 6,000 sq. ft. (560 m2) industrial kitchen. He was the Chairman of Annamrita Foundation, ISKCON’s midday meals programme, which feeds 1.7 million children across India.
He has also established a department in Ujjain which produces exquisitely decorated altars, murtis and deity dresses for devotees and ISKCON temples all over the world.
In 2013, he pioneered the development of a new ISKCON temple in Panihati (West Bengal) – a very holy place in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, the home of Raghava Pandit and the place of Lord Nityananda’s Chipped Rice (Chida Dahi) Festival.
In 2014, he established Arogya Niketan, a traditional and authentic Ayurvedic health clinic in Ujjain.
In the same year, he joined Artha Forum and began delivering keynote speeches globally on spirituality to large audiences of business leaders. Bhakti Charu Swami has on many occasions displayed his mastery and expertise in the field of management and leadership, community building, and strengthening relationships. He has delivered presentations as a keynote speaker at top management and engineering institutes of the world (MIT Boston, IIM's and IITs).
He has founded and established I-Foundation, a leading Hindu charity organisation in the United Kingdom.
In 2016, Bhakti Charu Swami launched a beautiful memoir, “Ocean of Mercy – A Search Fulfilled”, where he recollects his intimate interactions with Srila Prabhupada. This book describes how he developed a genuine love and dedication for Srila Prabhupada who gave him a life of Krishna Bhakti, and thus revealed to him, to be truly an “ocean of mercy.”
On,17 November 2016, Institute of International Social Development –New York, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations awarded an accolade to Bhakti Charu Swami, as a display of their gratitude for all the support he gave them on behalf of ISKCON, in spreading the message of spirituality for the World Peace and Understanding between Nations and Civilizations.
He has recently started a new project called ‘Veda Foundation and Cow Sanctuary’ which is situated in Deland, Florida and stretches 120 acres. His mission there is to propagate the Vedic culture and wisdom more simply in the West through setting in motion farm communities and visual media.
He carries the following responsibilities in his preaching of God consciousness around the world.
Invited as an honorary guest to speak on various topics concerning conscious and ethical leadership, building credible leaders, the art of successful relationships and communities at corporate enterprises such as Ernst & Young, Accenture,HSBC Bank (UK).
Caretaker for the communities in areas such as Sridham Mayapur, Bangladesh, Kolkata, Ujjain, Orissa, Seattle and Deland Florida.
Travelling and preaching across India, USA, UK, Western Europe, South Africa, UAE, South-East Asia and Australia for the past 42 years.
He continues to be an inspirer and guide to thousands of people whose lives have been transformed by his teachings and instructions.
His Vision & Mission:
"Those 2 months have turned into forty years, but they have flown by, and by Srila Prabhupada's causeless mercy, my life has found its perfection. My realization is that I am an eternal part and parcel of Krishna and that my life's goal is to develop my loving relationship with Him is all due to the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, who took me by the hand and led me to that relationship. I know that I have found the true path to perfection, and that achieving success is only a matter of continuously moving forward without deviation. – “Ocean Of Mercy”.
Bhakti Charu swami died on July 4, 2020, after being diagnose positive for Covid-19, and was admitted in ICU. He received assisted ventilation and supper for Multi organ failure (as a result of Covid-19). He has left a legacy behind and hundreds of thousands of his followers will never forget him and the amazing work he has done in ISKCON.
1 See also
4 External links
List of ISKCON members and patrons
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