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Srila Prabhupada’s Appearance Predicted in the Scriptures

Tuesday, 07 August 2012 / Published in Articles / 6,185 views

By Demian Martins

Srila Prabhupada’s appearance and accomplishments are a turning point not only in Gaudiya Vaisnavism, but in the very history of human civilization, so it is not surprising that they were predicted many centuries ago. In several ancient religious traditions, the sacred scriptures usually include passages or whole sections dealing with predictions. Some of these passages are marked by a veiled language and are often interpreted in different ways. Interpretations are subjective and may be relatively taken as correct according to time, place and circumstance, but they are conclusive when properly substantiated by sufficient evidences. The meaning of some of the following verses and statements might have been previously obscure or misunderstood, but since Srila Prabhupada’s deeds were self-evident, unprecedented and matchless, there is hardly any scope to doubt that he is the personality who is being directly or indirectly pointed out here. From diverse sources there is a general prediction that Vaisnavism would be spread throughout the world, so it is also implied that there would be a pioneer preacher. I am sure that there must be many more verses like these and it is just a matter of time until we have a much longer list. This is a short compilation with the original texts and exact references of what we have found so far.

In his Tiruvaymoli (5.2.1), a section of the Divya-prabandha, Nammalvar speaks about a vision he had:

poliga poliga poliga! poyitru valluyir ccapam

       naliyum naragamum nainda namanukkingu yadonrum illai

kaliyum kedum kandu kolmin kadalvannan budangal manmel

       maliya ppugundisai padi adi ulidara kkandom

“Victory ! Victory ! Victory ! I behold something wonderful: all the inauspiciousness of the living entities is destroyed, no one is going to hell, Yamaraja has no more any work, and the effects of Kali yuga ceased to exist. This is because all over the world an increasing number of Lord Visnu’s devotees sing His names while dancing and playing musical instruments.”

In the Bhagavata-mahatmya in the Uttara-khanda (194.57) of the Padma Purana, bhakti personified tells Narada muni that after travelling through several places in India, she reached Vrndavana. Then she declares her resolution of leaving from Vrndavana to go to foreign countries:

idam sthanam parityajya  videsam gamyate maya

“Leaving this place, I will go abroad.”

By the end of the Brahma-vaivarta Purana (Krsna-janma-khanda, chap. 129, 49-51) we find the narration of the departure of Lord Krsna from this world and how all the holy rivers headed by the personified Ganges approached Him:

bhagirathy uvaca
he natha ramana-srestha yasi golokam uttamam
asmakam ka gatis catra bhavisyati kalau yuge

Ganga Devi said: “O Lord, best of lovers, now that You are going to the supreme abode, Goloka, what will be our situation here in this age of Kali?”

sri bhagavan uvaca
kaleh panca sahasrani varsani tistha bhutale
papani papino yanti tubhyam dasyanti snanatah

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: “Sinful people will come to you and upon bathing will give you their sins. You must remain like this on earth for 5,000 years of the age of Kali.”

man-mantropasaka-sparsad bhasmi-bhutani tat-ksanat
bhavisyanti darsanac ca snanad eva hi jahnavi

“O Ganga, then there will be many devotees worshipping Me by My mantra, and merely by their touch, glance and bathing all those sins will be immediately burnt.”


In the Sri Caitanya-bhagavata (Antya, 4.126), Lord Caitanya declares:

prthivi paryanta yata ache desa grama

sarvatra sancara haibeka mora nama

“In every town and village of the world, the chanting of My name will be heard.”

In the Caitanya Mangala (Sutra-khanda, song 12, texts 564-565) Lord Caitanya clearly mentions that He will send His leading preacher abroad:

ebe nama sankirtana tiksna khadga lana

               antara asura jivera pheliba katiya

yadi papi chadi dharma dura dese yaya     

               mora senapati-bhakta yaibe tathaya

“Taking the sharp sword of the congregational chanting of the Holy Name, I will root out and destroy the demoniac mentality in the hearts of the conditioned souls.”
“If some sinful people escape and giving up religious principles go to
far off countries, then My commander in chief (Senapati Bhakta) will appear to chase them and distribute Krsna consciousness.”


In more recent days, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati also predicted the propagation of the sankirtana movement. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote in the Sajjana-tosani volume of 1885:

“Lord Caitanya did not advent Himself to liberate only a few men in India. Rather, His main objective was to emancipate all living entities of all countries throughout the entire universe and preach the Eternal Religion…. There is no doubt that this unquestionable order will come to pass…. Very soon the unparalleled path of hari-nama-sankirtana will be propagated all over the world…. Oh, for that day when the fortunate English, French, Russian, German, and American people will take up banners, mrdangas, and karatalas and raise kirtana through their streets and towns! When will that day come? … That day will witness the holy transcendental ecstasy of the Vaisnava dharma to be the only dharma, and all the sects and religions will flow like rivers into the ocean of Vaisnava dharma. When will that day come?”

Devotee (1): We can understand all of your instructions simply by reading your books.

Prabhupada: Yes. Anyway, follow the instruction. That is required. Follow the instruction. Wherever you remain, it doesn't matter. You are secure. Follow the instruction. Then you are secure anywhere. It doesn't matter. Just like I told you that I saw my Guru Maharaja not more than ten days in my life, but I followed his instruction. I was a grhastha, I never lived with the Matha, in the temple. It is practical. So many Godbrothers recommended that "He should be in charge in this Bombay temple, this, that, that…" Guru Maharaja said, "Yes, better he lives outside. That is good, and he will do what is needed in due course of time."

(Morning Walk, February 3, 1975, Hawaii)

Prabhupada: And in my horoscope there was written there, "After seventieth year this man will go outside India and establish so many temples.(…) I could not understand. "What is this, that I have to go outside India? That is not…" And Guru Maharaja foretold. He told my Godbrothers, Sridhara Maharaja and others, that "He'll do the needful when time comes. Nobody requires to help him." He told in 1935. And after all, this was true(?). Guru Maharaja told. And in the beginning, first sight, he told, "You have to do this."

(Room Conversation, June 17, 1977, Vrndavana)


  1. 0
    scooty.ram says:

    With humility and all due respects to Srila Prabhupada, please stand corrected that the reference to Tiruvaimozhi as predicting srila prabhupada is incorrect. All previous acharyas had commented that this verse foretells the appearance of Sripad Ramanujacharya.How and why it is Sripad Ramanujacharya must be learnt properly from an Acharya.

    AzhvAr Thirunagari is the birth place of Swami Nammazhvar, the leader of all devotees of the Lord.The deity of Ramanuja here is known as “bhavishyad AchArya”vigraham, or “the Teacher of the future”. It is said that srImannAdamuni obtained this idol when he was at thiru-k-kurugUr. Our elders also say that in the thiruvAimozhi pAsuram “poliga poliga
    poliga”, the reference is to Swami Ramanuja. AzhvAr in that pAsuram says that the age of Kali will be conquered due to the birth of great devotees of the Lord,Sripad Ramanuja.

    Achievements of Iskcon Founder acharya Srila Prabhupada is indeed a blessing to the whole world. Such an acharya and his activities are self effulgent.

  2. 0
    demian ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    With due respect to Sri Ramanujacarya:

    1. No name is mentioned in Nammalvar’s “Poliga”. He is just speaking about a world full of Vaisnavas.

    2. Sri Ramanuja never went outside India.

    3. Even to the present day, crossing the ocean is taboo among Sri Vaisnava preachers. There is no taboo for being called “jagad-guru” at home, though.

    4. Some Sri Vaisnava scholars take the song “Poliga” as predicting not only Ramanuja, but also Vedanta Desika and other eminent preachers.

    5. Srila Prabhupada’s preaching accomplishment far surpassed that of any previous acarya, even Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Lord Himself. Only enviousness can prevent one from admitting this.

  3. 0
    isvaradas says:

    Its much better if we don’t speculate without a valid proof our declarations. Such declarations as made in the article will simply invite unnecessary controversies and arguments. Other members of the Gaudiya sampradayas especially Srila Bhaktisiddhanta followers will not accept such interpretations of the scriptures, not to talk of other sampradayas. We can say that they are envious, but Srila Prabhupada himself would not condone such declarations. Srila Prabhupada said the secret of his success was because he followed his spiritual master one hundred percent. The greatness of Srila Prabhupada is not determined by how much we, his followers, make any kinds of declarations, but how much we actually followed and lived his teachings. A pure devotee is known by how many pure devotees like himself he created.

  4. 0
    demian ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Funny that in spite of the fact that this is an ISKCON based website and that we are just on the eve of Srila Prabhupada’s appearance day people come here to object to his glorification, as if we had to stop praising him because others may become angry. It is of no use to point the moon to a blind fellow. The speculation that needs to be proved is the denial that theses verses are correctly applied to Srila Prabhupada. Let anyone who is sufficiently educated explain to us why not, otherwise shut up.

  5. 0
    scooty.ram says:

    I appreciate your faith and commitment to Srila Prabhupada. I am sorry to have put you in position where it appears you have to defend for Srila Prabhupada.Per your statement , it is astonishing to know that even Lord caitanya did not fit this poem since he did not “cross the sea”. Even though imperfectly composed, praises on Lord and his devotees are still worshippable. However please note that this pasuram is ear marked to sripad Ramanuja since Sri Nathamunis period.
    As mentioned, along with this poem Sripad Ramanujas deity was also made years before His birth and this stands as proof to the words of Sri Nammalwar indicating Sripad Ramanujacharya.

    Finally if number and seas crossed is the yard stick to measure , I am sure current pioneers/sanyasis/preachers of Iskcon movement better fit this poem since they have made more disciples than srila prabhupada,they have traveled to new cities and made disciples in those cities where srila prabhupada did not travel,they have opened more centers than srila prabhupada.


  6. 0
    demian ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    1. Nowhere above I even suggested that these verses can refer only to Srila Prabhupada. Rather I clearly mentioned that they can be understood differently according to time, place and circumstance.

    2. I have no objection if the Sri Vaisnavas interpret “Poliga” as referring to Ramanujacarya. Yet I would like to know when and how he made Vaisnavas all over the world, unless they mean that the world starts in Kerala and ends up in the Himalayas.

    3. To the present day, no Prabhupada disciple has made more than 10,000 disciples and opened more than 100 centers as he did.

    4. The quoted verses are not copyrighted. Anyone is free to use them to glorify whomever he finds suitable.
    The problem here is that it is obviously unbearable for you to hear Srila Prabhupada being glorified.

  7. 0
    demian ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    To settle the matter for good, I just met a devotee who attended a lecture in Srirangam in 2010 in which one of the eldest Sri Acharyas publicly declared that “Poliga” unmistakingly speaks about Srila Prabhupada and his movement. If someone is educated and free from envy, this is the most natural conclusion after reading that song. As soon as I get the audio and the name of the sannyasi, I will post them.

  8. 0
    demian ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    As for Srila Prabhupada “himself not condoning such speculations”, better to hear what he says instead of speculating and put words in his mouth:

    Jayapataka: …you Srila Prabhupada. Only by your mercy you have brought us to this Krsna consciousness movement.
    Prabhupada: Yes. I am simply messenger. Mercy is of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Prabhupada. Before your coming they predicted, that “Somebody will bring.” Maybe that somebody I am. (chuckles) Bhaktivinoda Thakura predicted. So anyway, Krsna has given us nice place.
    Arrival Talk in Room — Mayapur, March 23, 1975

    Prabhupada: …in 1896. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was the first origin of this movement. But he simply thought of it. And he was expecting some others that willing to take up the work. Well, somebody says that I am the same man. And I was born in 1896.
    Room Conversation with Canadian Ambassador to Iran — March 13, 1975, Iran

    Devotee (2): Prabhupada, they said that if Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted Krsna consciousness in the Western countries, why didn’t He go there Himself? That’s what they told us.
    Prabhupada: So He left the credit for me. (laughter)
    Devotees: Jaya! Haribol!
    Prabhupada: He loves His devotee more than Himself.
    Morning Walk — January 4, 1976, Nellore

    “Sripada Sridhara Maharaja also appreciated my service. He said that Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction: prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama/ sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama, would remain a dream only, but he congratulated me that I have done it practically.”
    Letter to: Bon Maharaja: — Evanston, Illinois 7 July, 1975

  9. 0
    SarathyT says:

    Srila Prabhupada has done a great service to the vaishnava system. He has taken the message overseas and spread it all over the world. He has done it without looking for personal fame, etc and has indeed created a global vaishnava community which shares nice vaishnava ideals.

    What we have to be careful though is to claim credit for everything good mentioned in any scripture to be pointing to gaudiya vaishnava acharyas. As Sri scooty.ram explained, the commentators explain that the focus of this song is Sri Ramanuja who planted the seed of vishnu bhakthi and preached it all over India to start with. His message reached the nook and corner of India and many people in those days took up to vaishnavism when the whole of India was submerged in mayavada.

    Sri Ramanuja was called jagad-acharya because all vaishnava sampradhaya acharyas (including gaudiya acharyas) unanimously accept the greatness of Ramanuja and quote him. This is what is called jagad-acharya – the one who presented the philosophy that is fundamentally acceptable by all wise men/acharyas (irrespective of their sampradhaaya) – and he was the first one to preach it all over India with full vigour. Ofcourse there are differences in philosophy – but vishnu bhakthi, service to vaishnvas, developing humility, desiring to leave samsaaram and reach vaikuntham, etc are those fundamental principles which are accepted by all vaishnava acharyas. jagad-acharya cannot be taken literally to one who is the acharya of the world, because even a common lay-man with minimum intelligence will understand that the world is filled with avaishnavas and vaishnava population is a very small percentage and even amongst those vaishnavas there are so many sampradhaayas/sub-sampradhaayas, etc. So it is not the followers – it is about the philosophy (bhakthi maargam) which was/is acceptable to all acharyas.

    sarathy ramanuja dasan

  10. 0
    Akruranatha ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think it is wonderful that Demian Martins has so much esteem for Srila Prabhupada and such deep appreciation of the glory of what he accomplished.

    It also may be natural that Vaisnavas from other sects and even some of Srila Prabhupada’s own godbrothers may not understand some of these verses to refer to Srila Prabhupada. (Some of Srila Prabhupada’s godbrothers really did speak of Srila Prabhupada in such exalted terms). Even some followers of Srila Prabhupada in ISKCON may have doubts, based on the Sri Vaisnava tradition that the “poliga” verse refers to Sri Ramanujacarya.

    I do not think it makes much sense to argue about it. It may be that if we take care to internalize our reverence for Srila Prabhupada and become good representatives ourselves, and to push on his cause of establishing Lord Caitanya’s sankirtan movement very strongly all over the world (and in other planets?), eventually history will show everyone what an unprecedented and powerful thing Srila Prabhupada undeniably has done.

    It is conceivable to me that someday in the not-too-distant future it could be generally accepted among all Vaisnavas (who will number in billions) that Srila Prabhupada’s empowered preaching transformed the world on a par with Sri Ramanujacarya (whom Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada has referred to as a partial incarnation of Lord Nityananda). But to get there from here we have to do a better job of carrying out Srila Prabhupada’s mission.

    We should show Srila Prabhupada’s greatness by our own purity and good example as well as the preaching feats we can accomplish on his behalf.

  11. 0
    bbd ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    SB 11.13.24: Within this world, whatever is perceived by the mind, speech, eyes or other senses is Me alone and nothing besides Me. All of you please understand this by a straightforward analysis of the facts.

    BG 18.61: The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.

    SB 11.2.41: A devotee should not see anything as being separate from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Ether, fire, air, water, earth, the sun and other luminaries, all living beings, the directions, trees and other plants, the rivers and oceans – whatever a devotee experiences he should consider to be an expansion of Krsna. Thus seeing everything that exists within creation as the body of the Supreme Lord, Hari, the devotee should offer his sincere respects to the entire expansion of the Lord’s body.

    SB 3.27.11-12: A liberated soul realizes the Absolute Personality of Godhead, who is transcendental and who is manifest as a reflection even in the false ego. He is the support of the material cause and He enters into everything. He is absolute, one without a second, and He is the eyes of the illusory energy.
    The presence of the Supreme Lord can be realized just as the sun is realized first as a reflection on water, and again as a second reflection on the wall of a room, although the sun itself is situated in the sky.

    From Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Sri Tattva Sutra:
    7. tacchaktitastatvadhikyamiticcenna tadabhedat
    If someone claims, “The Lord is different from His potency”, then I reply, “No. It is not so, for they are not different.”
    If someone claims that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the creator of the worlds, is different from His potency, then this sutra is spoken to refute him. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not different from His many potencies, the potencies are not different from Him. This is described in the following words of the Nyaya-sastra:
    “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all potencies, is not different from His potencies.”

    In the Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.8.) it is said:
    “The Lord’s potencies of knowledge, power and action share His own nature. They are not different from Him.”

    In Visnu Purana (1.22.53) it is said:
    “Just as the illumination of a fire, which is situated in one place, is spread over, the energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Parabrahman, are spread all over the universe.”

  12. 0
    demian ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    In a lecture in Srirangam on the 29th of December, 2010, Sri Embar Jeeyar Swami of Sri Perumbudur openly glorified SrilaPrabhupada and declared that ISKCON devotees appeared to fulfill Nammalvar’s prediction in the song “Poliga”.

    I uploaded the audio here:

    Here are some pictures of the event:

    He is one of the prominent leaders and scholars of the Sri Sampradaya, so it is evident that the real Sri Vaisnavas are not envious of Srila Prabhupada as those who came here to object using their name just to make a case.

    “An empowered person who is actually engaged in the confidential service of the Lord should not be treated as an ordinary human being, for it is stated that unless one is empowered by Krsna, one cannot spread the Krsna consciousness movement all over the world.When one thus criticizes a pure devotee, he commits an offense (vaisnava-aparadha) that is very obstructive and dangerous for those who desire to advance in Krsna consciousness. A person cannot derive any spiritual benefit when he offends the lotus feet of a Vaisnava. Everyone should therefore be very careful not to be jealous of an empowered Vaisnava, or a suddha-vaisnava.”
    >>> Ref. VedaBase => NoI: verse 6

    “Because of our envy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we have become envious of all other living entities. When we are no longer envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there will be real peace, unity and fraternity in human society. “
    >>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.30.36

    “So the Krsna consciousness movement is not for the persons who are envious. Envious. It is a movement to train people how to become not envious. “
    >>> Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 1.1 — London, July 7, 1973

  13. 0
    upendra das ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    connected to this article there is another verse in Padma Puran where Narda Rsi saying to Bhakti devi that in Kali yuga He would establish Bhakti Devi in everyone’s heart in every house sloka is as follows

    Kalina sadrush kopi yugo naasti varanane .
    tasmistvam sthapayisyami gehe gehe jane jane

    Means there is no such glorious yuga like kali yuga because in Kali o Bhakti Devi i will establish you in everyone’s heart in every house.

  14. 0
    SarathyT says:

    So, when we say what is stated by the commentators in Sri Ramanujacharya’s guru paramparai, we become non-real/fake srivaishnavas. This is one of the most common strategy taken by people who dont know how to debate based on pramaanam (scripture).

    In my post I did not show any envy towards Srila Prabhupada – infact I admire him very much for his contribution for vaishnava society. But just looking at post #2 from Demian, we can easily see that he thinks that srila prabhupada is greater than all acharyas of all sampradayas (fine to think for himself). And he thinks that if you dont cross the ocean you cant be called Jagadachaarya, etc. Its almost like if we dont accept his opinions we are doomed (pretty much sounds like christian preaching).

    I did listen to the lecture of Embar Jeeyar swamy – indeed he is a respected scholar and a great srivaishnava. He does glorify the assembled devotees which is what is expected from any vaishnava. There are certain things which gets missed in live translation. It is obvious that the translator is trying to do a good job but often tries to present the sentences in Gaudiya context so it will reach the audience (mostly ISKCON members participating in the south indian yatra).

    Also, obviously any srivaishnava, if they see a huge crowd of devotees (irrespective of the sampradhaaya) chanting nicely with vishnu bhakthi, they will say look azhwar’s words are happening even today. But the original meaning of “poliga poliga” needs to be understood from srivaishnava commentators because they are the one who learnt it under proper srivaishnava acharyas.

    For example, if I have to understand something from tattva sandarbha or krishna sandharba, I have to go through the commentary of gaudiya purvaacharyas to get the proper understanding of it. not a mundane scholar or some one who just understands the sanskrit language and simply gives word-by-word meaning.

    Again, I repeat that it is wonderful to see devotees chanting and their contribution all over the world is well respected.

    sarathy ramanuja dasan

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