The News Agency of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

ISKCON Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Founder’s Journey West

By: for ISKCON News on Aug. 11, 2015

A poster celebrating A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami's journey to the West 50 years ago.

--An elderly Srila Prabhupada Left India Alone to Spread Krishna Consciousness

Kolkata, West Bengal— Fifty years ago, on August 13, 1965, a lone elderly pilgrim and teacher, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami boarded the cargo ship Jaladuta in Calcutta for the one month sea voyage to New York City. While it was not unusual for immigrants from India to head to the US, what separated Bhaktivedanta Swami was the mission that urged him onward.   

More than forty years before, during their first meeting, Bhaktivedanta Swami’s guru, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami, had instructed him to preach the message of Lord Krishna to the English speaking world. Thus, after a lifetime of preparation, at the age of 69, Bhaktivedanta Swami, later to be known as Srila Prabhupada, left for the New World not seeking riches, but to teach and distribute the greatest wealth of India and the East—knowledge of God, or “Krishna Consciousness”.

Today, fifty years later members of the society Srila Prabhupada formed, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and other admirers and followers around the world will begin more than a year of celebrations honoring this unique spiritual teacher and his achievements.

The inauguration of the global events, most of which will be held in 2016 to commemorate ISKCON’s Fiftieth Anniversary, will be held in Kolkata August 13-16th. For it was from his native Kolkata that Srila Prabhupada left India on his historic journey to the west.

On the 13th, the actual anniversary of Prabhupada’s departure, an event will be held at the 12,000-seat Nethaji Subhash Indoor Stadiumi in Kolkatta. VIP guests include the Governor of West Bengal, Mr. Keshari Nath Tripathi.  

ISKCON members from more than 108 countries will also attend, demonstrating the global impact of Srila Prabhupada’s teaching. Senior ISKCON leaders, swamis and other guests will speak in appreciation of Srila Prabhupada’s contributions. Artistic performances include:

  • Odissi dancer Dona Ganguly (wife of famed cricket player Sourav Ganguly)
  • The Prince Group Dance, based in Orissa, and winner of “India’s Got Talent” TV Award, will perform a one-hour drama enacting Srila Prabhupada’s life and departure to the West.
  • Students from West Bengal’s Bhaktivedanta Swami National School.

The event will end with a performance of devotional music by noted bhajan artist Anup Jalota. 

Other events will follow in Kochi, Kerala, on August 22, where a memorial plaque will be installed at Kochi Port to commemorate Srila Prabhupada’s visit there 50 years ago on his way to America. On the same day the first ever edition of Srila Prabhupada’s translation of Srimad Bhagavatam in the Malayalam language will be unveiled.

The celebrations will continue in September in Boston, where Srila Prabhupada first landed in the United States. In 2016, events will be launched around the world in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Prabhupada’s founding of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), in New York City, on July, 13, 1966.

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Contact: Yudhistir Govinda Das, Phone: +91 9654 789 832 | E-mail:

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