Romapada Swami

His Holiness Romapada Swami is a Vaishnava sannyasi, initiating guru and a governing body commissioner of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

He was born on December 27, 1948 in Utica, New York, as the youngest of five children.

Coming from a Christian upbringing, he received a strong sense of values, as passed on by his mother and father. As a child, he was deeply thoughtful about his experiences in life. He carefully contemplated the teachings of the Bible that were imparted to him. He would frequently question such things as: "What does it mean to love God with all one's heart, mind and soul? How does one practically live by the principle 'Love thy neighbor as thyself'? What is it like in the Kingdom of God? What do people do when they get there?

In search of the answers to these questions, he explored various teachings of transcendental knowledge and was gradually lead to the Bhagavad-Gita. He read seven or eight English translations of Bhagavad-Gita and experimented with meditation. Yet his search was still incomplete.

It was as a student at the State University of New York in Buffalo, in 1969, that Srila Romapada Swami finally found the path to the Absolute Truth that he had been searching for. It was there that he had his first introduction to Krsna consciousness when he heard His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada chanting on campus. He squeezed himself into a packed lecture hall and there was Srila Prabhupada and Alan Ginsberg on stage chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Although he did not know it at the time, Srila Romapada Swami had just contacted his eternal spiritual master. His journey into Krsna consciousness had begun.

Sometime thereafter, Srila Romapada Swami received a copy of Back to Godhead Magazine and Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-Gita, As It Is, the first translation he read that revealed the transcendental message with clarity. He attained the association of devotees who were participating in the preaching center that formed near campus, headed by one of Srila Prabhupada's senior disciples. He became more and more attracted to Krsna consciousness on account of Srila Prabhupada's purity, the perfect philosophy, and the practical life of devotion based upon practices that actually purified. As he took up those principles and practices of Krsna consciousness, a profound realization unfolded that Srila Prabhupada had undergone great personal sacrifice to deliver a divine message that was now changing his life. Thus, Srila Romapada Swami developed a very deep sense of indebtedness to Srila Prabhupada and concluded that he must dedicate himself in full gratitude to the mission of his spiritual master.

Srila Romapada Swami was 21 years old and had just been accepted to medical school when he joined the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. His family had so much confidence and appreciation for his high sense of values and his individual expression of them, that when he decided to live his life in full devotion to Krsna they respected his decision. In fact, after becoming finally accustomed to the fact that his new way of life was not just a passing fling, they privately expressed the fact that they were quite proud of him; although they shared similar ideals, they saw that he was factually living by them.

During July of 1971,Srila Romapada Swami received first initiation from Srila Prabhupada at the temple located on Henry Street in Brooklyn, New York. One year later, during the summer of '72, Srila Romapada Swami received second initiation. At the time he was fully engaged as the Sankirtana Leader and the Temple Commander in a temple of 150 devotees.

In the summer of 1982, Srila Romapada Swami received initiation into the renounced order of life. After accepting sannyasa, he traveled to many temples throughout the United States and Europe, preaching Krsna consciousness. Yet he always maintained his base at Sri Sri Radha-Govinda Mandir in New York, and continued to orchestrate many local opportunities for college preaching, distributing prasadam and giving the message of Krsna consciousness to others.

In March of '92, he was appointed Governing Body Commissioner for New York and New Jersey. In '94 he accepted the same responsibility for the Midwest United States. Under his inspiration and direction many Sunday Schools and congregational development programs have sprouted and flourished.