His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, was born in 1896, in Calcutta, in a Vaisnava family.
His father, Gour Mohan De, named him Abhay Charan. His father’s only wish was that Abhay would become a devotee of Srimati Radharani.
Abhay studied under British colonial rule, finally going to university to read chemistry. At university, he became a supporter of Gandhi’s movement to gain independence for India. As a measure of this support, he would only dress in white handloom cloth, woven in India and furthermore, he declined to accept his degree from the university.
Abhay married and went into business as a small pharmaceutical firm to support his wife and family. He met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami, for the first time in Calcutta in 1922. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, took a liking to Abhay and told him to devote his life to teaching Vedic Knowledge; more specifically to preach Lord Caitanya’s message to the English speaking world. Although, Abhay accepted, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta within his heart as his spiritual master, it was not until 1932 that he became initiated. He then received both harinama and mantra diksa at his initiation.