As one of the most senior and respected spiritual leaders of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Hridayananda das Goswami (Howard J. Resnick, Ph.D.) is an early pioneer and renowned teacher of bhakti yoga in the Western world. At the forefront of contemporary religious dialogue, he is celebrated for his unique ability to adapt the wisdom of ancient Indian philosophy into teachings that are comprehensible for Western audiences.
Affectionately known as “Acharyadeva” by his students, H.D. Goswami (born November 5, 1948) grew up in Los Angeles, California and began his studies at the University of California, Berkeley where he participated in the political and cultural movements of the late sixties. In 1969, after attending a lecture delivered by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, he began visiting the Berkeley ISKCON temple where he would later enroll as a full-time ashram student engaged in monastic service and theological training. In 1970, H.D. Goswami was formally initiated into the Gaudiya Vaishnava school of bhakti yoga under the guidance of Prabhupada.
Throughout his early career, H.D. Goswami distinguished himself by his devotion to his teacher’s message and his eloquence in presenting Prabhupada’s teachings to others. In 1972, with a relentless desire to better serve the world, he accepted a vow of lifelong celibacy. H.D. Goswami spent the following 20 years establishing over 40 ISKCON centers and supervising the translation, publication, and distribution of millions of Prabhupada’s books throughout Central and South America, Italy and Greece. During this time, he earned the distinction as the first westerner in history to translate and comment upon the canonical Bhagavata-purana from within the tradition.
With the conviction to complete his academic education and better connect with the West, H.D. Goswami returned to the University of California in 1991 as a student of World Religions. After graduating, he continued his studies at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in Sanskrit & Indian Studies in 1996. While completing his Harvard education, he set historical precedence with a perfect mark on the Sanskrit comprehensive exam.
Since 2000, H.D. Goswami has traveled the world lecturing at prominent universities and speaking with various social, religious, and political leaders, eager to deepen their understanding of Prabhupada’s teachings. Having published articles with Harvard University Press, University of California Press, and Columbia University Press, he has also held visiting professorships at the Graduate Theological Union, UCLA, and the University of Florida.
Fluent in seven languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, and Sanskrit), H.D. Goswami has fulfilled his spiritual master’s wish of seeing his work on the Srimad-Bhagavatam completed, by translating the 10th, 11th, and 12th Cantos along side with his godbrother Gopi-paranadhana Das. It is Hridayananda Das Goswami who gives the new purports their ultimate shape. From the wealth of Sanskrit comments, he carefully chooses the most important ideas, to help the readers best understand the rich meaning of the text.
H.D.Goswami has recently completed the translation of the Bhagavad-gita and published two new books: A Comprehensive Guide to Bhagavad-gita with Literal Translation, and Quest for Justice, Select Tales with Modern Illuminations from the Mahabharata. Both books were widely praised by both the Vaishnava and Academic communities. He is now working on a three-part historical novel based on the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata. Having completed over 30 years of research for the project, he hopes to render the narrative of the Mahabharata in a style both appealing and intelligible to a modern audience.
As a dedicated teacher and scholar of religious history, H.D. Goswami continues to seek out effective ways in which to preserve yet adapt ancient wisdom to contemporary circumstances. In 2013, he launched a project called Krishna West. Because people in the West need and deserve the chance to practice genuine bhakti yoga within an external culture that is comfortable and natural for them, H.D. Goswami established Krishna West to help facilitate ISKCON’s outreach to Western audiences.