Tamal Krishna Goswami

Tamal Krishna Goswami served as ISKCON Governing Body Commissioner * from 1970-2002, and ISKCON Initiating Spiritual Master from 1977-2002. He is fondly called “Srila Gurudeva” by his many disciples, and “Goswami” by his godbrothers and members of the academe.

TAMAL KRISHNA GOSWAMI (Thomas G. Herzig) was born in New York City in the United States in June 1946. He joined the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in 1968 and was accepted as a disciple by ISKCON Founder-acarya, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in San Francisco the same year. Immediately he emerged as a leader and assumed various positions of leadership, spearheading the establishment of ISKCON temples and centers in India, France, Great Britain and the United States. He worked closely with Srila Prabhupada as his secretary and as Governing Body Commissioner for India, developing major ISKCON projects in Vrndavana, Bombay and Mayapur.

In 1972, he was awarded sannyasa, the renounced order of life, in Jaipur, India, and assumed the title of goswami, meaning controller of the senses.

In 1974, Tamal Krishna Goswami returned to the United States to work on large-scale preaching programs, organizing and leading book distribution and the unparalleled Radha-Damodara Sankirtan/Book Distribution Party.

As one of Srila Prabhupada’s most trusted disciples, Tamal Krishna Goswami served as personal secretary to Srila Prabhupada in 1977, during the seven months before Prabhupada’s passing in the same year.

In 1995, Tamal Krishna Goswami enrolled in Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and graduated with a Masters Degree in Religious Studies in 1998. He then moved to the University of Cambridge, Clare Hall in England, as a doctoral student under Dr. Julius Lipner, and where his thesis was on the Krishnaology ** of ISKCON’s founder, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Tamal Krishna Goswami was well-liked in the academic world and a respected member of the American Academy of Religion. His award-winning essays and papers have been published and presented to the academe of religious scholars and theologians. He also authored many books, including two classical Vedic dramas. An articulate Gaudiya Vaisnava Theologian, his lectures, which are available in audio and video format, and written work, bring the wealth and vast knowledge of Vedic culture and history and the philosophy of Krishna consciousness into a practical present-day perspective.

Tamal Krishna Goswami passed away in a vehicular accident on March 2002, in the sacred place of Phulgya in West Bengal, India. He left this life the same way he lived it, completely absorbed in service to his spiritual master and Krishna. His samadhi is placed beside Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi in ISKCON Sri Mayapur Dhama, West Bengal, India.

He lived his life completely absorbed in service to Guru and Krishna. Though no longer physically present among us, he lives forever through his instructions, books, academic work, and in the hearts of all those whose lives he touched.