Satsvarupa dasa Goswami is one of the first American disciples of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder-acarya of ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (better known as the Hare Krishna movement). Born in 1939 in New York City, Satsvarupa (then Steve) graduated from Brooklyn City College and served two years in the United States Navy. Upon returning stateside he became a social worker for New York City’s welfare department. In 1966 his life underwent a revolution in consciousness. He began attending Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita classes at 26 Second Avenue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Forty-eight years later Satsvarupa Maharaja is and continues to be a major, prolific Vaisnava writer/artist on the ISKCON horizon. While spending much of his devotional career traveling worldwide, lecturing on Krishna consciousness and instructing disciples in many countries, he now makes his headquarters in Stuyvesant Falls, New York. He has published over 150 books related to Krishna consciousness, including memoirs, poems, essays, novels, journals, letters and scholarly studies of the process of devotional service to Krishna. His most well-known work is the six-volume authorized biography of Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta. In recent years he has created hundreds of paintings, drawings and sculptures that express a devotional vision of Krishna consciousness.
In addition to other roles within ISKCON, Satsvarupa Maharaja was authorized to begin the service of initiating disciples on behalf of Srila Prabhupada shortly after his spiritual master disappeared from this earth in 1977. He performed this service steadily until 2002, when a major health issue that had been building over time culminated in a serious physical and emotional collapse. The chronic migraine headaches which he had experienced for years now required immediate medical intervention and treatment. During this stressful time in his life, as expressions of support and concern poured in from devotees everywhere, Satsvarupa began comprehensive health care treatment in northern California with a team of devotee-caretakers. The treatment, along with the prayer and support from many in his worldwide community, greatly improved his health but has severely limited his travel. He now resides with two live-in caretakers in a peaceful, private residence among many devotee neighbors in the hills of upstate New York.
While in California, Satsvarupa Maharaja began a website, www.sdgonline.org, which has now become a major instrument of communcation with the worldwide devotee community. He provides readers with daily rasa-sastra excerpts by previous Vaisnava acaryas, as well as fresh Krishna conscious poetry and artwork. The website is a way of keeping disciples and friends informed. Satsvarupa Maharaja spends a portion of every day writing and painting for the website – it is an important part of his daily sadhana (spiritual activities).
Satsvarupa Maharaja remains committed to cultivating and supporting spiritual relationships with the disciples he has already initiated and a growing number of devotee followers. He has recommitted himself to his vows as a sannyasi (celibate renunciate) as well as to the sannyasa way of life. His writings continue to demonstrate a gritty self-honesty and dedication to his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada.