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His Holiness’ Biography

by Govardhandhari dasa
ISKCON Costa Rica

His Holiness Śrīla Guru Prasad Swami—respectfully addressed by his disciples as Śrīla Gurudeva or Śrīla Guru Mahārāja—is one of the more outstanding preaching leaders of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in Latin America. His godbrothers acknowledge his spiritual leadership qualities, such as humility, compassion, and erudition to the service of Śrīla Prabhupāda, through his impeccable path in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

He was born in the United States of America, in a wealthy family of German origin. According to calculations established by competent astrologers, his birth agrees in the Vaiṣṇava calendar with the favorable dates of appearance of the sacred lake of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī—the Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa—in Dāmodara or Kārttika, evident indications of his spiritual greatness.

Since his youth, he showed a deep interest in the search of spirituality—a noticeable absence in the contemporary society. Thence he became a serious and determined Kṛṣṇa’s devotee. After concluding the military service, he joined the first group of Kṛṣṇa’s devotees and pioneer preachers of Central America, based in Costa Rica.

He properly fulfilled the duties of aspiring bhakta at the temple of San José de Costa Rica, and, thanks to his natural disposition to appropriately serve the Vaiṣṇavas, and his good habit of studying Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books, he received the admiration and esteem of all devotees.

Carefully and patiently, he developed spiritual education, and fulfilled his great dream: to travel to the holy city of Vṛndāvana, India, to receive initiation in the Holy Name—harināma—from his spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, who gave him the spiritual name of “Guru Prasad dāsa.”

A few months later, he received the second initiation or brahmin. When he came back to Costa Rica, he carried out administrative services at the temple and did saṅkīrtana in an inspiring way for other devotees.

After Śrīla Prabhupāda’s passing away, he traveled through different countries of Latin America, preaching, inaugurating temples, installing Deities, and collaborating with diverse services.

In 1982 he was awarded sannyāsa initiation by His Holiness Hṛdayānanda das Goswami on behalf of Śrīla Prabhupāda, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Thenceforth he is known as “His Holiness Guru Prasad Swami,” and travels through different temples to expertly and genuinely preach Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s message.

At Gaura-pūrṇimā festival, celebrated in Mayapur, India, in 1987, he was appointed—due to his well-known qualities of leader—member of the GBC (Governing Body Commission), the maximum administrative organism of ISKCON; the zone where he carries out that service is Mexico, Central America, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, North of Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and Arizona (USA).

The service rendered by His Holiness Guru Prasad Swami for the pleasure of Śrīla Prabhupāda is first-class, mercifully bestowing Kṛṣṇa consciousness to many fortunate souls.

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