His Holiness Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja appeared on this planet on the most
auspicious day of Annada Ekadashi, on August 14, 1944, in New Delhi, India. Having
named as Gopal Krishna at the time of his appearance, his spiritual master had not
changed his name at the time of harinama initiation.
H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja after graduating from the University of Delhi,
studied Business Management at the Sorbonne University of Paris on a scholarship
from the French Government and later, obtained a Masters Degree in Business Administration
from the McGill University at Montreal.
Meeting with His Spiritual Preceptor - His Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanata Swami,
Having received an intimation from His grace Mahapurusa das, the than President,
ISKCON, Montreal that His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupada,
Founder Acaraya, ISKCON shall be arriving in Montreal on June 1, 1968, H. H. Gopal
Krishna Goswami Maharaja arrived there on 30th May. After the kirtana, H. H. Gopal
Krishna Goswami Maharaja enquired if he could render some service, and he was immediately
sent to clean Srila Prabhupada's apartment.
"I was fortunate to receive this as my first assignment in devotional service",
Maharaja said. He cleaned the doors, shelves and windows of Srila Prabhupada's apartment.
In this way, Gopal Krishna’s service attitude for Srila Prabhupada was manifested
even before he actually met him.
H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja first met Srila Prabhupada in the evening of
June 1st, 1968. Within the first two weeks of meeting Srila Prabhupada, he decided
that he would accept him as his spiritual master. In the words of H. H. Gopal Krishna
Goswami Maharaja, "When I first met Srila Prabhupada, the motivation to surrender
to God was already there in me, and two weeks after meeting him, I knew that Lord
Krishna wanted me to surrender to Srila Prabhupada".
In fact, around December 1967, H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja had started
visiting many Hindu temples, gurudwaras and churches, in his search for the Absolute
Truth or God. Every Sunday, he would seek out a different church, temple or gurudwara,
and would spend the whole day there.
Establishment of Guru-Shisya sambandha
Srila Prabhupada was always sympathetic and extra-merciful to Indians, but of all
the Indians who came to hear him, young Gopal Krishna was very special. While all
the other Indians would offer obeisances and sit for a few minutes, H. H. Gopal
Krishna Goswami Maharaja was the only Indian who would come regularly and sit right
till the end of the lecture.
During the three month period that Srila Prabhupada stayed and lectured in Montreal,
H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja spoke, "Of course, I did not know the importance
of hearing at that time, but my only small qualification was that I was very respectful
to Srila Prabhupada from the first day I saw him, and I would stay for his lectures
till the end, and leave only after he had left the temple".
Around that time, he was working for Pepsi-Cola, doing Marketing Research. Srila
Prabhupada started taking great personal interest in him, and would talk to him
almost every day. Since then, both of them started a regular correspondence, with
Srila Prabhupada writing as many as three long letters every month. Thus, a very
intimate guru-shisya relationship had already begun to establish.
On May 27th, 1969, Srila Prabhupada wrote to say, "As your name is already Gopal
Krishna, there is no need for changing it. You will now be known as Gopal Krishna
das." H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja was only 25 years old then!
Later on, H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja moved into the temple and engaged
himself fully in the service of Srila Prabhupada. For many years, he acted as Srila
Prabhupada’s personal secretary.
In 1975, Srila Prabhupada sent H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami to India. Srila Prabhupada
made him the General Body Commissioner (GBC) of entire India from 1975 to 1976.
Srila Prabhupada specifically instructed him to print and expand book-distribution
in India. Also, Srila Prabhupada entrusted H.H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja to
oversee various important projects, such as Vrindavana, Hyderabad, Mayapur and Mumbai,
recognizing his dedicated service and mood of sincere surrender.
"Srila Prabhupada was anxious that book-printing in India should expand",
says H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja. "During my first two years, he would
press me again and again to print more and more books." H.H. Gopal
Krishna Goswami Maharaja said, "that Srila Prabhupada was especially pleased
when he presented him copies of the First Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam in Hindi".
Srila Prabhupada encouraged him to utilize his talents for selling his books as
widely as possible. "Now you can utilize your knowledge of marketing for Krishna's
service, idam hi pumas tapasya srntasya va, svistasya suktasya ca buddhi dattayo.
This is the perfection of education."
In 1976, Srila Prabhupada appointed H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja as G.B.C.
for Russia. He made several trips to Soviet Union, a communist state (now called
the Commonwealth of Independent States) and risking grave dangers, he preached and
distributed books over there. On the instruction of Srila Prabhupada, he took part
in the International Book Fair, waging a virtual war against maya.
Srila Prabhupada’s instructions being his life and soul, empowered his vision, and
amazing feats began to manifest. After the fall of the communist regime in Soviet
Union, and the freedom granted to religious expression, he helped to establish many
centers in the erstwhile Soviet Union.
Acceptance of Sannyasa Order
In 1981, H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja took the sannyasa order. A year later,
in March 1982, on the auspicious day of Gaura-Purnima, H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami
Maharaja became a ‘diksha’ guru (an initiating spiritual master).
Spiritual Messenger of Lord Caitanya
H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja being an empowered representative of Lord Sri
Caitanya, is engaged tirelessly in distributing Lord Gauranga’s mercy, and is one
of the important spiritual preceptor who is fully devoted to fulfilling Lord Gauranga’s
prophecy that "My name will be chanted in every village and town of the world".
Distributing the holy name to conditioned souls, preaching in unfavorable environment
and risky places, perfect management of the Society, and demonstrating exemplary
behavior in practicing devotional service is unchecked! H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami
Maharaja is taking on a lot of responsibility personally, of delivering conditioned
At present, H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja is the G.B.C. for Mumbai, Northern
India (that includes New Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Vrindavana, Chandigarh),
Mayapur, Kenya, Canada, some states of America, and many parts of the Commonwealth
of Independent States. Also, he is the Chairman and Trustee of the Bhaktivedanta
Book Trust, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of Vedic literatures.
H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja is engaged in inspiring and completing many
of the largest ISKCON temples after the departure of Srila Prabhupada in 1977. Some
of the important temple projects which have been completed under his untiring and
dedicated efforts and directions include Sri Sri Radha Bankebihari temple in Nairobi
in November 1994, Sri Sri Radha-Parthasarathi temple in New Delhi in April 1998
(also known as "Glory of India" project), 'Heaven on Earth' project in Mumbai in
December 2003, Sri Jagannatha temple in Ludhiana on Balaram Jayanti, 2004, Sri Sri
Radha-Govinda temple in Faridabad in 2007, Sri Sri Krishna-Balarama temple in (Punjabi
Bagh) the western part of New Delhi in September 2007 and Sri Jagannatha temple
in Ghaziabad in February 2008.
The "Glory of India" project in New Delhi, inaugurated by Sri Atal Bihari Vajpayee,
the then Prime Minister of India, provides a multi-media visual display, a vedic
cultural museum and an open air theater. Also, the 'Heaven on Earth' project in
Mumbai is housed with modern facilities for imparting the essence of vedic scriptures
to spiritual seekers, a mass feeding hall, a library with a reading room, a vedic
samskara hall, besides a spiritually nourishing Govinda’s restaurant.
Besides, the bhumi pujana for Sri Sri Radha-Madana-Mohana temple in Khargar (Navi
Mumbai), and Sri Sri Radha-Kunjabihari in Pune have also been accomplished. On June
1st 2008, bhumi pujan and ground-breaking ceremony has taken place for the proposed
ISKCON center, Sri Sri Radha-Gopinath and Ashta Sakhis temple in Ludhiana. The total
land area for the proposed temple is 4.5 acre. The Chief Minister of the State unveiled
the curtain at the plaque and broke ground in front of the wall with a gold-handled
plow. H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja also broke ground with another gold handled
plow, to mark the beginning of construction. The Chief Minister lauded ISKCON's
mission of systematically propagating spiritual knowledge among various sections
of society, and its Food for life and midday meal programs to feed the poor with
sanctified and nutritious food. The project would be called the 'Glory of Punjab',
and would include a multi-media visual display, a vedic cultural museum, and an
open air theatre. Additional land has also been procured in Kurukshetra and Vrindavana
for expanding preaching programs.
Besides attracting thousands of national and international tourists and devotees,
these temples are playing a leading role in spreading the divine message of Srimad
Bhagavad-gita As It Is, spoken by the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna about 5000 years
back, as also other vedic literatures. These temples are playing a leading role
in college preaching, corporate preaching, as well as preaching in institutions
like the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), engineering colleges and many other
management institutes, inspiring students, philosophers, academicians, politicians,
intellectuals and even hard-core atheists. Some of these temples have stood first
in the world in distribution of vedic literatures.
Inspired by Srila Prabhupada's instruction given to his disciples in 1974 that,
"no one within ten miles radius of the temple should go hungry. I want you to immediately
begin serving food", ISKCON centers distribute sumptuous Krishna prasadam on daily
basis, as also on festivals. Besides, many ISKCON centers such as Mumbai and Delhi,
are actively taken up to Mid-day Meal Program of the Government as a medium to distribute
ISKCON, Delhi Mid-day Meal program is at the moment serving a staggering 1,75,000
meals everyday, feeding hungry children of Delhi, Noida, Faridabad and Kurukshetra.
Very soon, the adjoining areas and cities would be covered under the scheme. United
Nations - World Food Program has appreciated this noble program and has agreed to
provide technical assistance. The Government of India also acknowledges these noble
efforts and the State Governments all around want to expand this project to other
cities of their respective States.
All these spiritual activities are just a glimpse of H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami
Maharaja’s deep commitment and surrender to Srila Prabhupada, his untiring, dedicated
efforts, his selfless compassionate nature and inner conviction to spread the mission
of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu globally.
Congregational participation is being encouraged in all spheres, and various goals
are being established. In the C.I.S., His Holiness has had phenomenal success! Buildings
have been acquired, book distribution is growing rapidly, Food for Life programs
have been introduced, weekly seminars are being conducted, restaurants are being
developed, regular preaching programs are being conducted in schools and colleges,
and people are becoming favorable to the movement. Thus Lord Krishna's mercy is
being distributed everywhere!
Other projects include youth cultivation programs, house programs in every corner
of the world, and overseeing the translation, printing, publishing and distribution
of Srila Prabhupada's books. Under his expert supervision, His Holiness has taken
the distribution of books to the highest limits in the history of ISKCON! Maharaja
goes to different temples, before the Marathon, to inspire everyone to distribute
H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja spirited enthusiasm makes even a skeptic pause
and contemplate on his words. His aims are so clear! Many are overwhelmed by his
selfless and compassionate intellect, as they strive towards becoming virtuous people.
Even the subtlest concepts are explained with such admirable ease and patience.
Srila Prabhupada always admired his qualities of head and heart, and he once remarked,
"Gopal is a very nice boy and he must be encouraged". Even hard
core atheists are attracted to his graceful simplicity. Every encounter, every gesture
and every answer brings out the inner conviction he has, in the mission he has embraced.
H. H. Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja ki jaya!