Dedicated to His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda is a self-realized, pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. While physically present among us he shared the essence of Vedic knowledge liberally and without prejudice. His only desire was to fulfill his spiritual master's desire – to introduce the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the world. Srila Prabhupāda showed us the importance of living life according to the directions given in scripture. He spoke and wrote profusely so that many may have this guidance in life, and he wished that every person on the planet had the opportunity to read his books now and in the future.
We humbly offer this attempt to assist Śrīla Prabhupāda in his mission. We pray that by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy and the blessings of Kṛṣṇa’s exalted devotees, Vanipedia will help spread his teachings to millions of souls around the world.
Welcome to Vanipedia. We are a small team of devotional Web enthusiasts, and Vanipedia is the place where we offer our Vaniseva, devotional service to the Lord. Vaniseva is the activity we perform to make this site a dynamic experience. We hope it will connect millions of souls to the pure teachings of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda.
For those of you who don't know, Śrīla Prabhupāda (1896-1977) is a great saint. He came to the USA from India in 1965 at the advanced age of seventy. He carried nothing more than his faith in the holy names of Kṛṣṇa and a trunk of a three-volume set of books: the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, a sacred scripture which he had recently translated into English and commented on.
Śrīla Prabhupāda translated and commented on over fifty volumes of ancient Vedic scripture before his physical demise on November 14, 1977. His authority to write, and to teach and train students in the science of self-realization was given to him by his guru, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja (1874-1937), who came in the disciplic succession from Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu (1486-1534), Himself an incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Prabhupāda founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, ISKCON.
Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote and spoke of the soul's bondage within material bodies and the transcendental science of freeing the soul by reawakening one’s natural dormant love for God. Because he was fixed in spiritual realization of the self, he could very easily explain these truths, while all the time making the spiritual teachings relevant to the world of materialism that we encounter on a daily basis.
Our project is to create an online encyclopedia of his teachings so that people can become more aware of Śrīla Prabhupāda's wonderful contribution to spirituality. The philosophy is vast and can be seen from many angles of vision, so we thought it appropriate to compile Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings according to their natural themes.
What is the Vanipedia?
- Vanipedia is a dynamic, interactive encyclopedia of all of Śrīla Prabhupāda's words (vani).
- It is a resource for any spiritual and devotional seeker, and a vast library of profound knowledge.
- Given the nature of its potent presentation, the reader quickly experiences the multifarious qualities of the;
- Supreme Lord.
- His Holy Names.
- His Devotional Service.
- and the teachings in His sacred scriptures Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
- This clearly gives value to the name: Vanipedia - The Essence of Vedic Knowledge
- To offer a comprehensive repository of all of Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings.
- To approach the compiling process from four principle angles;
- Usages of language.
- Via the transcendental personalities presented within his teachings.
- Via the different scriptures Srila Prabhupada introduced us to in his Bhaktivedanta purports and lectures.
- To achieve this vision we would like to engage a large number of volunteers via our Vaniseva program, thus giving many devotees the opportunity to cooperate and collaborate on this dynamic service. To achieve this a core team of devotees will be facilitating and coordinating the volunteers’ services. Collaboration is our key for success. Working together we can surely create a better future.
- To explore, discover and comprehensively compile Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings from every angle of vision. And to present them in accessible and easily understandable ways, thereby offering Śrīla Prabhupāda a continual worldwide platform to preach and teach the science of Krsna consciousness.
Our simple philosophy behind compiling
- We accept that there has been no greater exponent of Vaisnava philosophy in modern times and no greater social critic who explains this contemporary world AS IT IS, than Śrīla Prabhupāda.
- We accept that Śrīla Prabhupāda is a pure devotee directly empowered by Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa to engage living entities in loving devotional service to God, and that this empowerment is proven in his unparalleled expose on the Absolute Truth found within his teachings.
- We accept that Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted his teachings to be profusely distributed & properly understood.
- We accept that a thematic approach to Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings greatly enhances the process of understanding the truths within them, and that there is immense value to explore, discover & thoroughly compile his teachings from every angle of vision.
- We accept that, Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings will be the primary shelter for millions of his followers for many future generations.
- We accept that, in his physical absence, Śrīla Prabhupāda requires many vaniservants to assist him in this mission.
Thus we are committed - to create a truly dynamic collaborative platform for facilitating the perfect knowledge and realization found within Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings, to be profusely distributed, properly understood, and joyfully acted upon.
It is that simple - and the only thing separating us from the completion of Vanipedia is time and the many sacred hours of devotional service that is yet to be offered by the devotees who commit themselves to this vision.
Our analogy that keeps us afloat
- Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings are an ocean of realized Vedic knowledge.
- Vanipedia is a boat that is taking a voyage on that great ocean.
- As we traverse this ocean, we will explore its depths, discover its shores, encounter the transcendental personalities who reside within its waters, and churn its waters to discover the treasures that lay within.
- We will bring these treasures to the surface, construct Vanibooks, and then place them in glorious Vani Temples, where they will be worshiped. These Vani Temples will give us shelter and guidance to help us individually cross the ocean of nescience wherein we are bobbing up and down in material existence.
- The Vani temples will give shelter to all souls swimming endlessly in the ocean of birth and death by helping them realize that it is not in the ocean of material existence that they will find the happiness they seek. The Vani temples will be constructed in transparent glass so as to maximise the view and experience of the treasures.
- These souls will realize that if they dive into the ocean of mercy coming from the Supreme Lord and His pure devotees, they will be able to swim in the ocean of transcendental bliss and be inspired to regain their constitutional position as the Lord’s eternal servants.
- The Vanipedia boat is not limited to only a few crew members or passengers. Many a person can come on this voyage, and the facility that our collaboration program offers will allow hundreds of devotees to take this voyage together.
- In a spirit of humble service we can all cooperate to perform the variety of services needed to succeed in our voyage. These services we have named Vaniseva.
Śrīla Prabhupāda's blessings
An encyclopedia of Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings was already conceived of since 1977. Subhananda Dasa was given the blessings by Srila Prabhupada to take up this great task in June 1977. Subhananda's three books Preaching is the Essence, Spiritual Master and Disciple and Sri Namamrta are wonderful comprehensive compilations on these three important subjects. We at Vanipedia see ourselves as continuing this herculean task. We hope to celebrate the anniversary of the first 50 years of Śrīla Prabhupāda's mission in the West (2015) with the completion of Vanipedia.
The different ways to study
To date, in our research we have found that there are 60 different ways that Śrīla Prabhupāda has instructed the devotees to read his books:
- - again and again - always - as much as possible - as soon as you get time
- - at least one hour daily - at least one or two hours daily - at least three hours a day
- - constantly - continuously - daily - in small installments - more and more - once-twice-thrice
- - one after another - over and over - read twenty-four hours - regularly - repeatedly
- - repeatedly whole life - throughout the day as much as possible - whenever there is time
How - the Attitude
- - as it is spoken by Krsna - attentively - carefully - critically - deeply - devotedly
- - diligently - edeptly - expertly - faithfully - intensely - nicely
- - penetratingly - persistently - philosophically - profoundly - profusely - seriously
- - sincerely - step by step cautiously - submissively - thoughtfully - with adherence - with due care
How - the Methodology
- - by discussing them - in the association of devotees - with the cooperation of your God-brothers and sisters
- - with the help of other devotees - with the help of your senior God-brothers and sisters
- - from every point of view - from all angles of vision - from different lights of directions
- - from varieties of angles - inspecting the subject matter from all angles of approach and savoring the new understandings
- - to understand the subject matter from different angles of vision
- - minutely - scientifically - scrutinizingly - thoroughly
By studying Śrīla Prabhupāda's books in these ways we can properly understand and assimilate them. Studying and compiling in Vaniquotes offers everyone the opportunity to do this in an unparalleled way. By following the simple methodology of studying via themes and then compiling them one can easily penetrate into the deep significance of the meanings of each word, phrase, concept or personality that Śrīla Prabhupāda is presenting. His teachings are without a doubt our life and soul, and when we study them thoroughly we can appreciate this even more.
Obstacles to overcome
- ignorance of...
- indifference to...
- misunderstanding of...
- a lack of faith in...
- and in competition with...
- Our Charter will be developed later.
Points to include
- Exclusively dedicated to the teachings of His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda.
- Core principles and values.
- Independently operated from a non political brahminical platform.
- Editorial policies.
- Organizational structure.
- Relationship between members.
Characteristics of Vanipedia
Śrīla Prabhupāda has translated vāṇī in the following ways;
- vāṇī—a voice
- vāṇī—the organ of speech
- vāṇī—transcendental words
- vāṇī—words, the power of speech
and here we see the meaning when connected to other words;
- kṛṣṇa-vāṇī-the word of Kṛṣṇa, Bhagavad-gītā
- rādhikā-vāṇī—the statement of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī
- gaura-vāṇī-the message of Lord Caitanya
- caitanyera vāṇī—the words of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu
- śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-vāṇī—the message of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu
- kāvya-vāṇī—poetic language
- mātuḥ vāṇī—the instructions of the mother
- śāstra-vāṇī—the indication of revealed scriptures
- śukadeva-vāṇī—the words of Śukadeva Gosvāmī
- ājñā-vāṇī—orders and injunctions
- artha-vāṇī—the aim of life, the aim of profit
- kahi satya-vāṇī—I am speaking the truth
- veda-vāṇī—hymns of the Vedas
- priya-vāṇī—pleasing words
- śrī-mukha-vāṇī—words from his mouth
- mithyā vāṇī—false stories
So we see that vāṇī means the words, the instructions, the message, the teachings.
In his concluding words to the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrīla Prabhupāda states:
CC Antya 20.157, Concluding Words: "Although according to material vision His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda passed away from this material world on the last day of December, 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vāṇī, his words. There are two ways of association-by vāṇī and by vapuḥ. Vāṇī means words, and vapuḥ means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vāṇī continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vāṇī, not the physical presence. The Bhagavad-gītā, for example, is the vāṇī of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Although Kṛṣṇa was personally present five thousand years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, the Bhagavad-gītā continues."
- Vanipedia is designed to help anyone take full shelter of Śrīla Prabhupāda's vāṇī and by so doing associate with the vāṇī of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the vāṇī of Lord Caitanya, the vāṇī of Their various incarnations and the vāṇī of the many saints and sages who have purely presented their teachings throughout the ages.
Pedia is an abbreviation for encyclopedia which is defined as:
- a comprehensive reference work containing articles on a wide range of subjects or on numerous aspects of a particular field.
The specific nature of Vanipedia is that it is uniquely web based and specifically dedicated to the teachings of Śrīla Prabhupāda.
The Essence of Vedic Knowledge
In Vaniquotes we have gathered together Śrīla Prabhupāda's explanations of The essence of Vedic knowledge
Śrīla Prabhupāda explains the essences of Vedic knowledge to be:
- Bhagavad-gītā As It Is
- Lord Kṛṣṇa
- The holy names of Lord Kṛṣṇa
- Devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa
Śrīla Prabhupāda dedicated his life to these “essences” for the well being of all:
- He translated the texts of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from Sanskrit to English, and wrote Bhaktivedanta purports to each text.
- He continuously explained throughout his purports and lectures the deep meanings of Lord Kṛṣṇa's appearance and activities, the nature of His devotional service and the potencies of His holy names.
- He constantly chanted the holy names of Kṛṣṇa and continues to inspire millions of people to chant today.
We consider the subtitle of Vanipedia, the essence of Vedic knowledge, to be a very appropriate way to clearly indicate what Vanipedia is.
A unique resource
- Bringing together in one place all of Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings.
- All the teachings of Śrīla Prabhupāda, as he delivered them from the disciplic succession.
- The thematic process of compiling guarantees a deeper understanding of each subject.
An educational experience
- The learning opportunities are immense for any sincere seeker, as the truths being expressed will be easy to grasp in the Vanipedia presentation.
- Terminologies that have become common usage will take on more significant meanings.
- The understanding of Śrīla Prabhupāda usage of English, Sanskrit and Bengali will become clearer.
- Difficult or contentious subjects can be addressed with better informed discussion thanks to the collected knowledge available on various topics.
- The resource that Vanipedia offers can be used by devotees to improve their teaching and their preaching of the proper conclusions of Kṛṣṇa conscious philosophy.
- Accessible to all via the web.
- Software makes navigation very easy.
Never out of context
Four reasons why the quotations are never presented out of context:
- The whole process of compiling in Vaniquotes gives the reader the opportunity at all times to reference the full text of any compiled material, as each quote is linked to our Vanisource database of all Śrīla Prabhupāda's words (books, lectures, conversations, and letters).
- Thanks to the comprehensive nature of the compiling process, all quotes on a specific subject will be available in their natural sections and subsections.
- Vanipedia offers interlinking with related subjects. Thus a checks-and-balances resource is being developed.
- As time and facility allow, we will compile the lectures and conversations with audio versions from our Vanimedia database.
- This will enable the reader to read and hear at the same time.
- The reader will be able to hear the tone of Śrīla Prabhupāda as he makes different statements, greatly enhancing the capacity to understand
Layout of the site
- Visually we can see Vanipedia as a lotus with six petals appearing from the ocean of Vani.
- Each petal is a unique section and Vanipedia is the base portal that keeps them connected.
- Vanipedia is also the name of the lotus.
- All of Śrīla Prabhupāda's written teachings.
- The source of Vaniquotes and Vanibooks.
- Links the references to Vaniquotes, Vanibooks, etc.
- Automatically locates words from Vanictionary.
- Dictionary of Sanskrit and Bengali synonyms.
- Quick glossary of all the personalities from Vanisource.
- Automatically defines words found in Vanisource.
- Images, audio, and video.
- Categorized for easy browsing.
- Works across the Vani petals.
- Prabhupāda's teachings, categorized by subject.
- Introducing the personalities in the teachings.
- Encountering the different scriptures that Śrīla Prabhupāda chose to quote in his Bhaktivedanta purports.
- Encountering Śrīla Prabhupāda's usage of language.
- Easy browsing of content by topics and themes.
- Quotes linked to Vanisource, Vanimedia, Vanibooks, etc.
- Introductory articles.
- The portal into the other petals.
- Guiding the reader into Vaniquotes, Vanibooks, etc.
- Online compendiums with index and chapters.
- Built from Vaniquotes and Vanisource.
- Possibility to print hard copies.
- Interactive learning experience.
- Variety of courses, simple to advanced.
- Curriculum developed from Vaniquotes, Vanibooks, and Vanisource.
How Vanipedia develops in each petal
There are different phases to the development of the whole Vanipedia site and they unfold step by step as the Vaniseva is realized, bringing to full bloom all of the petals.
- Place all of Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings in text form into Vanisource.
- Create an attractive navigation for these teachings.
- Interlink Vanisource back to Vaniquotes.
- Create the Sanskrit and Bengali dictionaries from the synonyms in Śrīla Prabhupāda's books.
- Create a glossary of all key words.
- Create a brief description of each personality found in Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings.
- Place all of Śrīla Prabhupāda's photos in Vanimedia and place them throughout the whole site.
- Place all of Śrīla Prabhupāda's audio and video files in Vanimedia.
- Link the Lecture and Conversation compilations in Vaniquotes to Vanimedia for audio.
- Create Vaniradio.
- Create VaniTV.
- Exploring the depths of the ocean: finding all the synonyms of a particular topic so that the compilation can be comprehensive.
- Discovering the shores of the ocean: compiling all of the quotes together in scriptural order.
- Churning the shores of the ocean; finding all the natural subsections of the topic and compiling the quotes in theme order.
- Each Vaniquote is linked to Vanisource
- Create articles that introduce the reader to the different aspects of the Vanipedia project.
- Write thematic summary articles developed from research done in connection with Vaniquotes.
- A Vanibook is created only after the extensive research and compiling has been done in Vaniquotes.
- Using as a resource all the compiled quotes from the discovering and churning articles in Vaniquotes a compiler creates a Vanibook.
- A Vanibook is a clear and conclusive compendium of a particular subject, covering all the angles of vision.
- A Vanibook has all of the natural elements of a book, introduction, chapters, index and glossary.
- Compilers of a Vanibook can write brief commentaries to aid in the flow of the quotes.
- Every quote in a Vanibook is linked to Vanisource or Vanimedia.
Teaching the science of Unity and Diversity
- Create the curriculum for online courses that educate the students in the essence of the conclusions found in Vaniquotes and Vanibooks.
- Courses are divided into three categories;
- Vanifun - simplified.
- Vanischool - average.
- Vaniversity - advanced.
Prabhupada Vani Research Academy
Development of Vanipedia is being done by the Prabhupada Vani Research Academy.
Core team activities
- To realize the vision of Vanipedia.
- To offer inspiration and practical support.
- To invoke and sustain participation from volunteers.
- To coordinate the infrastructural development of the site.
- To research and compile.
- To act as content reviewers and editors.
- To give online site support.
- To develop fund raising and infrastructure.
Location of core team
- The core team will be first based at Bhaktivedanta Library Services in the Prabhupada Vani Research Academy (PVRA) in Belgium, and as the project develops then also in other locations around the globe.
- Core team members will be maintained in simple, comfortable facilities.
- At PVRA the construction of a 150-square-meter extension was recently completed, creating office space and living rooms for a core team of nine members.
Time frame for releases
- Version 0.1 up and running on Gaura Purnima, March 21, 2008.
- Improved versions coming out regularly.
- Fuller (maybe final) version completed by October 2015 (celebrating the first fifty years of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mission in the West).
- Final version must be completed by November 2027 (celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the departure of Śrīla Prabhupāda to the spiritual world).
- We envision that Vanipedia will greatly influence the second fifty years of the mission, making them more representative of the principles established by Śrīla Prabhupāda in his teachings.
About version 0.1 - March 2008
- Only a fraction of the project is ready for release with this version. Two of the seven petals are open. Vanisource and Vaniquotes
- Vanisource is still in development. The content is yet to be completed, and extra elements are yet to be put in place, to enhance the performance. Still, as it is, it offers a great opportunity to read Śrīla Prabhupāda's books online.
- Statistics in Vaniquotes on release day of version 0.1 - 875 categories, 4,702 pages, and 15,386 quotes.
- Our intent to release this version is to simply inspire people with our vision and to increase awareness, so as to invoke the blessings and practical participation needed to achieve this herculean task of completing the Vanipedia site.
About version 0.2 - October 2008
- This version invites many devotees to participate in the compiling process. We have created both the training processes and the technical support to make the compiling very easy and satisfying.
- Statistics in Vaniquotes on release day of version 0.2 - 3,939 categories, 9,516 pages, and 42,401 quotes.
- Still only two petals are opened.
About version 0.3 - June 2010
- This version has fine tuned the compiling process greatly automating it so as faciliate the compilers to perform effortlessly.
- Statistics in Vaniquotes on release day of version 0.3 - 6,634 categories, 17,678 pages, and 272,190 quotes.
- Still only two petals are opened.
All the services performed to keep the boat of Vanipedia on its voyage across the ocean of Vani are named Vaniseva
- editing for technical errors
- software programming
- design and layout
- educational development
- site development
- server maintenance
Prabhupada instructs us in many places about the importance of worshipping the Vani.
SB 4.28.51, Purport: When one becomes serious to follow the mission of the spiritual master, his resolution is tantamount to seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As explained before, this means meeting the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the instruction of the spiritual master. This is technically called vāṇī-sevā
Letter to Satsvarupa — Bombay 25 November, 1970: I have received very nice reports from all our centres how they are very much appreciating my books and they are understanding association with the Spiritual Master is the same as association with His vani or teachings. This is a transcendental fact.
Letter to Tusta Krsna — Ahmedabad 14 December, 1972: Next you ask if I am present in my picture and form? Yes. In form as well as in teachings. To carry out the teachings of guru is more important than to worship the form, but none of them should be neglected. Form is called vapu and teachings is called vani. Both should be worshipped. Vani is more important than vapu.
- Vaniseva is the sincere endeavors made by all the Vaniservants to bring to life the worship of the glorious teachings of Śrīla Prabhupāda in Vanipedia
- The Vaniseva Website coordinates the services of all the Vaniservants
- Acyutananda Caitanya dasa
- Eivind Morland
- Laksmipriya devi dasi
- Visnu Murti dasa
Core team members
- Acyutananda Caitanya dasa - Columbia/USA
- Archana dasi - Singapore
- Kanupriya dasi - India
- Labangalatika dasi - USA/Belgium
- Laksmipriya devi dasi - Slovakia/Belgium
- Sahadeva dasa - UK/India
- Visnu Murti dasa - NZ/Belgium
- Creating a web community for the devotees (Vaniservants) who are building Vanipedia.
- Creating a working model of cooperation that is sustainable and very pleasing to the Vaniservants and to Śrīla Prabhupāda.
- Offering inspiration and resources to assist each other in our various forms of Vaniseva.
- Creating a store where the books, lectures, and videos of Śrīla Prabhupāda are presented nicely with efficient purchase facilities.
- Offering the facility for the diksa disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda and those who physically interacted with him to give their memories of Śrīla Prabhupāda's instructions that have not previously been documented.
- Acting as a resource for all the already documented memories.
- A dedicated Web servant will have to come forward for this initiative to be developed.
We would like to thank
An encyclopedia of Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings was already conceived of thirty-five ago. Subhananda Dasa was given the blessings by Srila Prabhupada to take up this great task in June 1977. His three books Preaching is the Essence, Spiritual Master and Disciple and Sri Namamrta are wonderful comprehensive compilations on these three important subjects. We at Vanipedia see ourselves as continuing this herculean task. We hope to celebrate the anniversary of the first 50 years of Śrīla Prabhupāda's mission in the West (2015) with the completion of Vanipedia.
Bhaktivedanta Archives and the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Many devotees from the Archives have tirelessly served for three decades to produce the Vedabase (a digital rendering of all of Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings with a powerful search engine). Without Vedabase we would be greatly limited in our ability to compile. Being on the cutting edge of digital technology, the BBT Archives have made Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings accessible to the current audience.
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust has very kindly granted us a license to use their copyrighted material in building Vanipedia.
The Wikimedia Foundation has created an extremely versatile open source software. Our Vanipedia uses Mediawiki to enable the task to be achievable in a quick, efficient and dynamically inspiring way. One of the most amazing aspects of the software is the ability to engage thousands of people simultaneously, facilitating the building of web communities in the spirit of collaboration.