Originally from New Zealand, Bhakti Caitanya Swami joined the Hare Krishna movement in London, early in 1973. Almost a year before, as a philosophy student at Auckland University, he had first seen his future spiritual master walking across the campus with his followers. Srila Prabhupada initiated Bhakti Caitanya Swami later in 1973, giving him the name Raghubir Dasa. Eleven years later in Mayapur, the order of sannyasa was awarded to Bhakti Caitanya Swami who is an initiating spiritual master for many devotees around the world.
Bhakti Caitanya Swami initially served in the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust and also distributed Srila Prabhupada’s books from 1973 until 1980.
Then Bhakti Caitanya Swami moved to South Africa, where, from 1980 to 1982, he served as temple president in the rural community of Cato Ridge. Thereafter he did fund raising for the building of the Temple of Understanding in Durban, which opened in 1985. This extraordinary temple combines modern design with traditional Vedic architecture and is one of South Africa’s landmarks. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit each year.
From 1985 until 1988 Bhakti Caitanya Swami served as regional secretary for South Africa, and he then participated in an outreach project in Johannesburg from 1988 until 1991. From that time until now, Bhakti Caitanya Swami is mostly engaged in traveling and spreading Krsna consciousness in an authoritative and accessible way. His permanent base is Durban, where his gentle and saintly presence provides stability.
After joining the GBC in 1998, Bhakti Caitanya Swami’s assignments have included Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Estonia. Furthermore, he acts as co-GBC for Mauritius, Northwest Russia, Eastern Siberia, Western Siberia, Latvia, South Africa, and Lithuania. Bhakti Caitanya Swami has served as chairman of the GBC in 2002-2003 and as vice chairman in 2001-2003 and then again in 2010-2011. Within the strategic planning team effort, Bhakti Caitanya Swami is involved in the team building committee.
His special interests include filming, photography, and parikrama (visiting holy places of deep spiritual import). The splendid outcome of these interests can be seen in the impressive series of appealing documentaries of holy pilgrimages in India and festivals around the world and in books such as Vrindavan: The Playground of God and Traveling in the Service of Srila Prabhupada, Volumes 1, 2 and 3.
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