Vanipedia, a new program being developed by the Prabhupada Vani Research Academy based in Radhadesh, Belgium, represents a seismic change in the way we can approach Srila Prabhupada's teachings. Why? Because for the first time it enables lSKCON devotees web access to reference whatever they do with Srila Prabhupada's instructions by providing a means of easily sifting through the vast mountain of literature and teachings left by Srila Prabhupada.
There have only been a limited number of printed compilations of Srila Prabhupada's teachings over the years, and those dating back many years. Ajamila prabhu compiled the "Shikshamrita," with excerpts categorized by title and compiled from Srila Prabhupada's letters and done entirely without computer search capabilities. Subhananda prabhu also did excellent work on three topics with the "Preaching is the Essence", "Namamrita" and the "Spiritual Master and the Disciple." A few other compilations have also been produced. Now the same principle is being extended to reference not just the letters but also the books, lectures and conversations by Srila Prabhupada with the most efficient search engines, and not restricted to any particular subject but to eventually cover every possible subject from every possible angle (for instance, what did Narada Muni say about devotional service, what did Lord Brahma say about devotional service, etc) from Srila Prabhupada's teachings.
The collating stage will use a collaborative approach with different devotees contributing towards analyzing search results on a particular subject, finding the beginning and end of each thread, separating such quotes further into titled sub-grouping, and with each quote linking back directly to the original document/conversation/book it came from as well as any MP3 or video which was also source material.
Project leader Visnu Murti prabhu calls the central database (which you may remember as the Vedabase) "Vanisource," which he describes as the base of the lotus with the following areas surrounding it like petals - the area we just described (a "wiki" to computer nerds), where devotees collaboratively sift through the search results on a topic. This is called "Vaniquotes," and when such work is complete, it becomes the resources for developing the other petals of Vanibooks, Vanipedia articles and online courses in Vaniversity.
Thank goodness ISKCON has big lotuses or they would have run out of vani-petals, as there are more: Vanimedia for Srila Prabhupada audio, video and images and Vanictionary, which is very interesting. It will have a Sanskrit/English and Bengali/English compilation of all Srila Prabhupada's translations of different words in those languages.
It will also hold statistical data such as: Did you know the top speakers by number of verses spoken are:
Here is an example of how a compilation in Vaniquotes will develop: From a search on "The Krsna consciousness movement" there were 350 references found in Srila Prabhupada's Srimad Bhagavatam. After first choosing the beginning and ending points of each thread, the devotees on the wiki came up with the following headings under which those 350 quotes were categorized:
The quotes are then put under those headings with links back to the original text/sound file. The reader will be able to approach Vaniquotes via philosophical and social themes, the personalities who present them, or via Srila Prabhupada's usage of the English, Sanskrit and Bengali languages.
The project will be launched at Gaura Purnima for volunteer participation. Vaniseva is the name the devotees at Vanipedia give to all the services needed to make the project a success.
If you want to become a volunteer to do some Vaniseva you can at this time contact Visnu Murti prabhu at email@example.com
This project gives the ISKCON society the opportunity to confirm or deny – or find no reference - at source the validity of any philosophical positions, management policies, established cultures, etc, through this thorough research of Srila Prabhupada's teachings. It will provide a practical method for the society to maintain Srila Prabhupada's teachings at its center.
Vanipedia officially goes online in March 2008.
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