- Krishna Prem, Sri
- (1898–1965)Western-born Vaishnavite guruBritish-born Sri Krishna Prem was a prominent GURU in the orthodox Vaishnavite tradition.Ronald Nixon was born in Cheltenham, En gland, on May 10, 1898; served as a pilot in World War I while still a teenager; and later graduated in philosophy from King’s College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he studied The-osophy, Buddhism, and Pali and took a Buddhist initiation.In 1921, after graduation from Cambridge, he went to India to take a position as lecturer in En glish at Lucknow University and to continue his spiritual search. The vice-chancellor of Lucknow University, Dr. G. N. Chakravarti, was a Theoso-phist, who had known Madame BLAVATSKY and was a friend of Annie BESANT, then president of the THEO-SOPHICAL SOCIETY. During a party at the home of Dr. Chakravarti and his wife, Monica, Nixon observed Monica in a meditative and devotional state in front of an image of Lord KRISHNA. In 1924, she became his guru and gave him initiation into VAISHNAVISM (the worship of incarnations of VISHNU).In 1928, Monica took the vow of SANNYAS (called vairagya in the GAUDIYA Vaishnavite tradi-tion) and assumed the name Yashoda Ma. Soon after, Nixon took vairagi vows from her and was given the name Krishna Prem. They looked for a place to start a community and found a rural area near Almora; they founded the Uttar Brindaban Ashram and dedicated a temple to Radha and Krishna there in 1931. The ASHRAM began and has continued to be aligned with strict ortho-dox Vaishnavism, including total vegetarianism, thrice-daily PUJAS, and a sacramental attitude toward all of life.Yashoda Ma died in 1944, leaving Krishna Prem as her successor. He initiated two people before her death: her daughter, Moti, and an Englishman he had known at Cambridge. The ashram grew and eventually included other Indian disciples, some of whom built their own cottages near the temple.Krishna Prem traveled little, but in 1948 he visited Sri RAMANA MAHARSHI and Sri AUROBINDO and the MOTHER. At his death on November 14, 1965, leadership of the ashram passed to Sri Madhava ASHISH, another Englishman, who col-laborated with Krishna Prem on publications and edited some of his work posthumously.Further reading: Krishna Prem, Initiation into Yoga: An Introduction to the Spiritual Life (Bombay: B. I., 1976); ———, The Yoga of the Bhagavat Gita (Longmead, England: Element Books, 1988); Krishna Prem and Madhava Ashish, Man, the Measure of All Things, in the Stanzas of Dyzan (London: Rider, 1969); Dilip Kumar Roy, Yogi Sri Krishnaprem (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1968).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.