Gour Govinda Swami
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Gour Govinda Swami, (September 2, 1929 - February 9, 1996) was a Vaishnava religious leader. He was a leading ISKCON Guru, sannyasi, governing body commissioner within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (commonly known as the Hare Krishnas or ISKCON) and the main inspirational force behind Gopal Jiu Publications. He is a saint within ISKCON.

He was born in the village of Jagannatha-pura near Orissa, India as Braja-bandhu. By the age of eight, Braja-bandhu had read the entire Bhagavad-gita, Bhagavata Purana and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and could also explain their meanings.


On April 8th, 1974, at the age of 45 he left home and relatives in quest of spiritual perfection. Carrying only a Bhagavad-gita and a begging bowl he wandered around India for one year and visited many sacred places along the river Ganges. He was searching for that person who could help him to develop a true understanding of the maha-mantra. After many philosophical debates with mayavadi sannyasis and yogis in the Himalayas, he proceeded on foot to Vrindavana.

Two weeks after arriving in Vrindavana he saw a signboard for ISKCON, and then he met a group of Western devotees who gave him a copy of Back to Godhead magazine. When he read the contents describing the glory of divine love for Krishna, his heart became anxious to meet the writer A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. At last he was to meet his eternal spiritual master, whose association he had been awaiting for such a long time. A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami had just finished his lunch when Gour Govinda Swami entered the room and paid his obeisances. A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami then asked him, "Have you taken sannyasa?" Gour Govinda Swami said, "No," and A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami said, “Then I will give you sannyasa.” At that time Gour Govinda Swami understood that A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami knew his heart and surrendered to him.

In 1975, at the opening of ISKCON’s Krishna-Balaram Temple in Vrindavana, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami accepted him as a disciple, gave him the name Gour Govinda and awarded him the sannyasa order, thus the name Srila Gour Govinda Swami.

During his life, Gour Govinda Swami preached for ISKCON in Orissa. He worked to establish an ISKCON temple in Bhubaneswar, as he was instructed to do so by his guru in 1977. He an author of many research papers and translated his guru's books into the Oriya language. He left his body in 1996 in Mayapur during a discussion on Lord Jagannath and is remembered in annual ISKCON festivals.


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