His Holiness Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami was born as Thoudam Damodara Singh in Manipur, the northeastern state of India in 1937. He lost his father when he was just seven years old. As a young boy, he learned how to till the land left by his father to help maintain his family. Faced with great financial hardships, Thoudam Singh studied with great determination, and with help from his teacher, passed his B.Sc with honours from Guwahati University in 1961. He received his M.Tech degree with honours from the University of Calcutta in 1964. In 1969 he did his M.S in Chemistry from Canisius College, New York. He completed his Ph.D in physical organic chemistry from the University of California, Irvine in 1974. It was while studying for his Ph.D at Irvine that Thoudam Singh came in touch with the devotees of ISKCON. He met Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of ISKCON, at the Radha-Krspa temple in Los Angeles and felt he had met his guru. He was formally initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1971, and received the name Svarupa Damodara dasa. In 1974 Srila Prabhupada formed the Bhaktivedanta Institute to preach the message of Krishna consciousness among the scientific community. Sala Prabhupada appointed SvarOpa Damodara dasa as the International Director of the Bhaktivedanta Institute and personally trained him in preaching the message of Krishna Consciousness to the scientists. In 1981 SvarCipa Damodara dasa received the sannyasa (renounced) order of life and came to be known as Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami. In 1982 he became an initiating guru and began guiding disciples. He guided over a thousand disciples during his lifetime. As Director of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami authored and edited several books and organized several international conferences on science and religion. A number of prominent scientists and religious leaders, including several Nobel Laureates, participated in these conferences. Prominent among these conferences were the First and Second World Congress for the Synthesis of Science and Religion (1986 and 1997), the First International Conference on the Study of Consciousness within Science (1990), and the Second International Congress on Life and its Origin (2004). Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami was a pioneer in interfaith dialogue and advancing the dialogue on synthesis of science and spirituality throughout the world. He was a co-founder and regional director of United Religions Initiative and a member of Metanexus Institute. He launched the journal of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, Savijnanam, aimed at "Scientific Exploration for a Spiritual Paradigm" and was its editor-in-chief. In 2000, BhaktisvarCipa Damodara Swami's interest in science and spirituality led him to setup the University of Bhagavata Culture in Imphal, Manipur. The purpose of the University is to "promote the universal scientific and philosophical relevance of the teachings of Bhagavad-gita, 8rimad Bhagavatam, Vedanta and other Vedic literatures within the framework of modern cultural and educational milieu for the welfare of humanity." He started a network of schools in Northeastern India where more than 4000 students receive education centered on Vaisnava spiritual values. In 1989 he founded the Ranganiketan Manipuri Cultural Arts Troupe which has done around 600 performances at over 300 venues in over 15 countries. Ranganiketan is a group of more than twenty dancers, musicians, singers, martial artists, choreographers and craft artisans, some of them being gurus in their own respective fields of art. His Holiness Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami left this mortal world in 2006.
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