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Srila Prabhupada was born Abhay Charan De on September 1st, 1896 in Calcutta, India. His father was Gour Mohan De, a cloth merchant, and his mother was Rajani. His parents in accordance with Bengali tradition, employed an astrologer to calculate the child’s horoscope, and they were made jubilant by the auspicious reading. The astrologer made a specific prediction: When this child reaches the age of seventy, he would cross the ocean, become a great exponent of religion, and open 108 temples.(Satswarupa das Goswami.1987. “Your Ever Well-wisher”. page x.) It is noteworthy that in that very same year, 1896, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s book was accepted into McGill University in Canada, a pilot light for preaching in the West. When young Abhay had been unwilling to go to school, his father saw the humour in it, and always treated him kindly, and was lenient.

His mother however, hired a man to escort young Abhay daily to school. Gour Mohan De was also a pure hearted Vaisnava. He often used to take young Abhay to the local Sri Radha-Govinda temple. Where young Abhay was seen to be stood for many long hours offering prayers before the Deity. “The Deity was so beautiful, with His slanted eyes”.(A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; Satswarupa das Goswami. 1987. “Your Ever Well-wisher”. page xiii.)


As Abhay grew up he became more and more devoted to the Deity form of the Lord. He was especially enamored with the Jagannatha Rathyatra festival that was held in Calcutta each year. Hearing and understanding the significance of the festival Abhay would sometimes check railway timetables to go to Jagannath Puri where Lord Caitanya personally attended some 500 years before. Every year a conservatively estimated 5 million people attended the festival, this absorbed Abhay more in the mood of Rathyatra.
1901 (circa) Young Abhay conducts his very own first Rathayatra. His father making a small cart, three feet high with a canopy resembling closely the huge carts in Puri. all the local children and many adults would come. Abhay stood out as a leader even then, as he organized and engaged everyone, even many of them others were engaged by him in cooking, (especially his sister Bhavatarini), who all cooked special preparations to be offered and distributed as ‘prasadam’ at this Rathyatra festival.At age 6, his father purchased upon his request, his own Radha-Govinda Deities. Seeing the family engaged from his birth, watching his father performing the ‘puja’ at home, and going regularly to see Radha-Govindaji, it was only natural. From this day on whatever foodstuffs were brought before him by his parents, he would first offer to Sri Radha-Govindaji, and then eat Their ‘prasadam’. He also used to daily offer them a ghee lamp, and properly put Them to rest at night. Little is know of his adolescence.