The Many Colors of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami

It is a great pleasure for the Museum of Sacred Art (MOSA) to present the works of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, who is well known in ISKCON for his numerous literary contributions, which have helped devotees on the path of devotional service.

Although all devotees read or have read his biography of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some his poetry and fiction, they may not have seen his paintings, which bring his inner world to the canvas in strong colors. His art isn’t sophisticated from an artistic point of view, but it does transmit his emotions, struggles, and joy in practicing Krishna consciousness. His art has been a kind of therapy and a way to share what goes on in his mind and heart.

Although it’s impossible to keep up with his constant art production, the works we’ve displayed represent various periods, themes, and use of materials. This MOSA collection, therefore, will give you a good idea of the variety and extent of Satsvarupa dasa Goswami’s creations.

Satsvarupa dasa Goswami was born Stephen Guarino on December 6th, 1939 in New York City. He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1961 and served two years in the U.S. Navy. He worked for five years as a caseworker for the NYC Department of Welfare. He began creative writing at the age of 17, and it became his vocation. The literary artists of the past and present were his heroes. He moved to the Lower East Side of New York City, and all his friends were writers and poets. His two closest friends were Murray Mednick and Steve Kowit, who both later became recognized literary figures in California.

He met his guru in 1966, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and became his disciple. He has served almost fifty years in his spiritual master’s institution, the Inter- national Society for Krishna Consciousness, as a missionary. His guru asked him to write articles and books, and he has produced one hundred books in various genres such as theological works, poetry, fiction, as well as a few “genre-benders.”

In 1990 he took up painting under the banner of self-taught “outsider art” or “naive art.” He moved to Ireland for five years, living in a cottage and painting very prolifically in the 1990s and the early years of the 21st century, interrupted only by fragile health? In the year 2001 he had a one-man show in Govinda’s Gallery in Washington, D.C. and received a favorable review in The Washington Post. He subscribed to Raw Vision mag- azine and was inspired by the work of outsider artists. He was also inspired by the art of DuBuffet, Matisse, Picasso and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His art has also attracted the attention of the director of MOSA (Museums of Sacred Art), who intends to place his paintings in their two galleries in Belgium and Italy.

Satsvarupa lives in upstate New York, where he paints daily and writes.