Bhaktimarga Swami was born on October 5, 1952. His first major encounter with devotees was in Toronto, at the college campus where he studied fine arts. He invited them to his apartment for an overnight stay, and without delay he gave up bad habits, went to the temple, and never left. He was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1973.
Bhaktimarga Swami served ISKCON as Bhakta leader, Sankirtan leader, director of devotional plays, and from 1985-1995 he was the temple president in Toronto, where he took his vows of sannyasa in 1984.
He is an instructor in bhakti-yoga, mantra meditation, kirtan, and interactive dance. Widely known for his passion for the performing arts, he has taken an active role in writing and directing morality theatrical productions that are presented all over the world. Productions scripted and directed by him are as follows: The Jagannatha Story, Demon, Dhruva, Three Lives of Bharat, Ramayana, Krishna the Eighth Boy, Marichi, God Is, Gods and Demons, Grandsire, Vamana, The Gita, Chaitanya’s Verses, Lonely People, The Witness, Brother I Need You, Pancha Tattva, Canto Ten, Rolling the Dice, and Kunti and Karna. He has also directed such ISKCON Classics as “The Boatman,” “Big Fish, Little Fish,” and “The Age of Kali.”
He achieved the remarkable feat of walking across Canada four times, beginning with his first walk in 1996, detailed in the National Film Board of Canada documentary “The Longest Road.” His pedestrian pastimes include trekking across Ireland, the Fiji Islands, Mauritius, Trinidad, Guyana, Israel and the United States. He began his fourth cross-Canada trek in the autumn of 2011.
Bhaktimarga Swami began his GBC duties in the early 2000s—first as a GBC candidate, then as acting GBC, then as a full voting member. Presently he serves as the GBC for Canada and Cuba. He also has two GBC committee assignments: ISKCON’s constitution and VANDE Creative Arts.
Bhaktimarga Swami feels strongly about informing the general ISKCON community about the GBC’s various committees, projects, issues, and the members’ job descriptions. Regarding the GBC’s relationship with ISKCON members and others, Bhaktimarga Swami thinks that because many of the GBC members have mixed roles as gurus and administrators, there is too much multitasking resulting in a lack of empowerment. Upon being asked how he thought we could best improve upon that, he replied that we needed to bring in and train new men and women to replace the gurus as GBCs. Maharaja also remarked that the GBC’s apparent quietness was detrimental to its reputation and needed to be dispelled.
Bhaktimarga Swami’s base of operations is still in Toronto, Canada. You can hear more about him from his daily blog: www.thewalkingmonk.org.