Message From HG Madhava Sullen

Kishor Das was born on September 17, 1945 in a Bengali village of Kuthi in a Hindu family.  Shortly after the partition of British India, Kishore moved with his family to India, to Calcutta, where he spent his childhood and youth.  Kishore graduated with honors from North Bengal University with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry.  In 1970, he also completed pilot courses at the Calcutta Flight Institute.  Then, to continue his studies, he went to Germany, where, in parallel with his studies at the university, he studied Hindu literature.  Studying Vedic literature, he discovered the wealth of the spiritual heritage of India.  In 1975, he returned to India to take up a spiritual life with all his heart.


After carefully studying the Vedic literatures, Maharaja realized the need to find a spiritual master who could guide him in a real spiritual way.  After a trip to the Himalayas and searches for one year, without meeting a spiritual teacher whom he could completely surrender to, he felt depressed and disappointed.  When he almost lost hope, he stumbled upon the book “Nectar of Devotion” of His Divine Grace A.Ch.  Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.


Plunging into the book, he realized that he had found his spiritual teacher and the path he was looking for.  As he continued to read Srila Prabhupada’s writings, his conviction grew stronger, as did his desire to meet Srila Prabhupada, who was then preaching in the United States.


At the end of 1976, Bhakti Charu Swami joined the ISKCON temple in Mayapur, West Bengal, and became more involved in devotional service to the Lord, all the while waiting for Srila Prabhupada to return to India.


When Srila Prabhupada returned to India, the first direct meeting of the guru and the novice student finally took place in January 1977.  During this meeting, Srila Prabhupada instructed Bhakti Char Swami to translate his books into Bengali, and then appointed him Secretary of State for India.  Srila Prabhupada gave Maharaj the first and second initiations and the name of Kshirachora Gopinath das, at the same time in Mayapur on Gaura Purnima in 1977 / Three months later, Srila Prabhupada awarded him the renounced order of sannyas.  All this demonstrates the grace and boundless trust Srila Prabhupada had for his disciple.


Maharaj traveled and personally served Srila Prabhupada in the last year of Prabhupada’s life.  After Srila Prabhupada left this world in 1977, Maharaj served in Mayapur for several years while the society was in critical times.


In 1987, Bhakti Charu Swami became the initiating guru in ISKCON and became a member of the GBC, serving as its chairman in 1988 and then in 2017.


By 1995, Maharaj had translated all the works of Srila Prabhupada into Bengali on the main Vedic works, consisting of more than fifty volumes of books, including Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrita, and the Nectar of Devotion, fulfilling Srila’s instructions  Prabhupada, which he gave him during his very first meeting.


In 1996, Maharaj took on the gigantic task of creating a biographical video epic about the life of his spiritual teacher, A.Ch.  Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.  This series, entitled “Abhay Charan”, was broadcast on national television in India and distributed worldwide on DVD.


In 2004, at the invitation of the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Bhakti Charu Swami built the magnificent new ISKCON Temple in just ten months in Ujjain, the ancient and holy city, also known as Avantika, and the place where Krishna and Balarama went to school.  In the unusual marble temple there are three large altars to worship Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan, Sri Sri Krishna Balarama and Sri Sri Gaura Nitai;  goshala to protect the cows;  lunches for schoolchildren;  rural program;  spread the Vedic culture among rural people;  and several centers in Bhopal and Indore.


Bhakti Charu Swami also served as president of ISKCON in France and South Africa at a time when these zones were in great difficulty.  Thanks to perseverance, he was able to change the situation in these places.


In 2007, Maharaj began the production of altars in Ujjain.  The company produces beautiful altars for deities of all shapes and sizes for temples and devotees around the world.


In 2013, Maharaja began developing a new ISKCON temple in Panihati, a very holy place in the tradition of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, where Raghava Pandita had his own house, and Lord Nityananda held the festival of His chopped rice (Chida Dadhi).


In 2014, Maharaj founded Arogya Niketan, a traditional Ayurvedic clinic in Ujjain.  He also joined the Artha Forum and began giving speeches around the world about spirituality to a wide audience of business leaders.


Under his leadership, the Ujjain ISKCON Temple serves more than 23,000 students daily with its 6,000-square-foot industrial kitchen.  ft.  At one point, Maharaj also chaired the Annamrita Foundation, an ISKCON nutrition program that provides more than 1 million children in India every day.


Bhakti Charu Swami also twice served as Chairman of the BBC Executive Committee and was the BBC Area Secretary for ISKCON in Mayapur, Calcutta, Ujjain, Bhubaneswar, Bangladesh and Seattle.  For decades, he traveled to India, the United States, Great Britain, South Africa, the Middle East and Australia, conducting spiritual retreats and seminars and following the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, spreading the teachings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.  Maharaja was also known for his beautiful melodic kirtans and his insightful lectures on Vedic scriptures.


In 2016, Bhakti Charu Swami released his memoirs, “The Ocean of Mercy — The Search Is Complete,” in which he recalls his close relationship with Srila Prabhupada.  The book describes how he developed sincere love and devotion to Srila Prabhupada, who gave him the life of krsna-bhakta.


In 2018, Bhakti Charu Swami served his last term as Chairman of the GBC, reminding all senior executives who served with him of his caring mood and selfless dedication to Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON community.


Madhava Sullen