Garuda Das has been a practicing Bhakta for nearly 50 years. He received both harināma and brahminical initiations from His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda. He was blessed by Śrīla Prabhupāda to enter the academic world, wherein he eventually received three master’s degrees and a doctorate (PhD) in comparative religion from Harvard University. From there on, he became the first Bhakta to become an established university professor, now holding two university positions, and the first Bhakta to publish books on Krishna Bhakti with world-class academic and trade publishers. Since then, he has been guiding younger devotee scholars and has become the gatekeeper for academic Krishna Bhakti related publications, and a senior disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda bestowed on him the title of “Kavirāja.” Over the years, he has served as a consultant for ISKCON leadership and as a guide for devotional writing; he has also counseled hundreds of ISKCON devotees in a professional counseling capacity. He is an original member of the Bhaktivedanta Institute group established by Bhakti Svarupa Damodar Goswami. He has had a long-standing relationship with the BBT since 1982, including two major BBT grant projects. He is invited to lecture around the world at ISKCON temples, yoga centers, and major universities and institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C., where he has offered over three dozen lectures.
“Prabhupada requested his disciples to do more than he did (LA, 1970). Prabhupada was not as recognized in academia as Garuda is, nor were his books published by prominent publishers… Garuda Prabhu, who occupies a dignified position in academia, has published Krishna books through prominent publishing houses… Thus, Garuda qualifies as an advanced disciple of Prabhupada.”Dayananda Das Adhikary, ACBSP
“Srila Prabhupada heard your letter. . . and was pleased to know how you are preaching on such a high level.”Satsvarupa Das Goswami, acting secretary of Śrīla Prabhupāda (August 23, 1977)
“Professor Schweig, who has had a personal interest in the devotional Vaishnava tradition, has pondered the Rāsa-Panchādhyāyī for eight years. As an academic student of Indian culture and religion, his search has been for the original meanings of the author. He has contemplated the insights of Western experts and traditional Indian interpreters as well. He has paid the price of certainty, and he puts before you, boldly, to the best of his ability and maybe to the limit of possibility, what the poet intended to say.”Norvin Hein, Professor Emeritus, Yale University