Giriraj Swami Bio
Giriraj Swami is a disciple of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and an initiating spiritual master in ISKCON. He first met Srila Prabhupada in March 1969 in Boston and felt that he learned more from Srila Prabhupada in five minutes than he had learned in his twenty years of academic education. Very soon, he took formal initiation from Srila Prabhupada and became a leading member of the Boston center.
He was then given the opportunity to go to India with Srila Prabhupada and helped establish his mission there. In 1972 Prabhupada appointed Giriraj Swami as president of ISKCON Bombay and trustee of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Since then, he has made many significant contributions to Srila Prabhupada’s mission, most notably overseeing all aspects of the development of Hare Krishna Land in Juhu, Bombay. He was instrumental in the acquisition and development of the Bhaktivedanta Ashram in Govardhana, and, more recently, led the development of the Kirtan Ashram for renounced women, the Bhaktivedanta Hospice, and the Vrindavan Institute of Palliative Care, all in Vrndavana, India. Through all his efforts, Giriraj Swami has become renowned for the austerities he has accepted, his loyalty and dedication to Srila Prabhupada’s mission, his ability to raise funds and cultivate important members of society, and his care for devotees around the world.
In the year following Srila Prabhupada’s departure in 1977, Giriraj Swami accepted the renounced order of life and was appointed president of ISKCON’s board of trustees in India. In 1982 he was made a member of ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission, the ultimate managing authority for the movement, and he went on to oversee the Society’s activities in Bombay, Mauritius, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
Giriraj Swami has also taught at the Vrindavan Institute for Higher Education and continues to lecture and to give presentations at japa retreats and workshops around the world.
Presently based in Carpinteria, California, Giriraj Swami is now focusing on one of Srila Prabhupada’s main personal instructions to him-to write. He is the author of Watering the Seed and Many Moons and is working on several publications, including books about death and dying in the Vedic tradition, his search for a spiritual master and his early days in the Boston temple, his travels with Srila Prabhupada in India, and Srila Prabhupada’s monumental efforts in Bombay.