manuṣyāṇām—of men; sahasreṣu—out of many thousands; kaścit—someone; yatati—endeavors; siddhaye—for perfection; yatatām—of those so endeavoring; api—indeed; siddhānām—of those who have achieved perfection; kaścit—someone; mām—Me; vetti—does know; tattvataḥ—in fact.
Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.
There are various grades of men, and out of many thousands one may be sufficiently interested in transcendental realization to try to know what is the self, what is the body, and what is the Absolute Truth. Generally mankind is simply engaged in the animal propensities, namely eating, sleeping, defending and mating, and hardly anyone is interested in transcendental knowledge. The first six chapters of the Gītā are meant for those who are interested in transcendental knowledge, in understanding the self, the Superself and the process of realization by jñāna-yoga, dhyāna-yoga, and discrimination of the self from matter. However, Kṛṣṇa can only be known by persons who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Other transcendentalists may achieve impersonal Brahman realization, for this is easier than understanding Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Person, but at the same time He is beyond the knowledge of Brahman and Paramātmā. The yogīs and jñānīs are confused in their attempts to understand Kṛṣṇa, although the greatest of the impersonalists, Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, has admitted in his Gītā commentary that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But his followers do not accept Kṛṣṇa as such, for it is very difficult to know Kṛṣṇa, even though one has transcendental realization of impersonal Brahman.
Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes, the primeval Lord Govinda. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam. It is very difficult for the nondevotees to know Him. Although nondevotees declare that the path of bhakti or devotional service is very easy, they cannot practice it. If the path of bhakti is so easy, as the nondevotee class of men proclaim, then why do they take up the difficult path? Actually the path of bhakti is not easy. The so-called path of bhakti practiced by unauthorized persons without knowledge of bhakti may be easy, but when it is practiced factually according to the rules and regulations, the speculative scholars and philosophers fall away from the path. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu:
aikāntikī harer bhaktir utpātāyaiva kalpate.
"Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, Purāṇas, Nārada-pañcarātra, etc., is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society."
It is not possible for the Brahman realized impersonalist or the Paramātmā realized yogī to understand Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the son of mother Yaśodā or the charioteer of Arjuna. Even the great demigods are sometimes confused about Kṛṣṇa: "muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ," "māṁ tu veda na kaścana." "No one knows Me as I am," the Lord says. And if one does know Him, then "sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ." "Such a great soul is very rare." Therefore unless one practices devotional service to the Lord, he cannot know Kṛṣṇa as He is (tattvataḥ), even though one is a great scholar or philosopher. Only the pure devotees can know something of the inconceivable transcendental qualities in Kṛṣṇa, in the cause of all causes, in His omnipotence and opulence, and in His wealth, fame, strength, beauty, knowledge and renunciation, because Kṛṣṇa is benevolently inclined to His devotees. He is the last word in Brahman realization, and the devotees alone can realize Him as He is. Therefore it is said:
ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyāiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
"No one can understand Kṛṣṇa as He is by the blunt material senses. But He reveals Himself to the devotees, being pleased with them for their transcendental loving service unto Him." (Padma Purāṇa)
"There are many hospitals to cure the bodily diseases, but there is no hospital to cure the disease of the soul. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to cure the disease of the soul. Disease of the soul. Every soul, every person, is mistaken to accept this body as his self or the mind as his self. This is the difference. Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke, sa eva go-kharaḥ (SB 10.84.13). Anyone who is accepting this body as self, he's either an ass or a cow. Misconception. So people are not interested."
Vital to Establish 聖帕布帕德(Srila Prabhupada)'s Natural Position
Our ISKCON society needs educational initiatives, political directives, and social culture to facilitate and nurture Srila Prabhupada's natural position with his followers and within his movement. It will not happen automatically or by wishful thinking. It can only be achieved by intelligent, concerted and collaborative efforts offered by his pure-hearted devotees.
Five Key Obstacles Concealing Srila Prabhupada's Natural Position within his Movement:
1. ignorance of Srila Prabhupada's teachings – he has given instructions but we are not aware they exist.
2. indifference to Srila Prabhupada's teachings – we know the instructions exist but we do not care about them. We ignore them.
3. misunderstanding of Srila Prabhupada's teachings – we apply them sincerely but due to our over-confidence or lack of maturity, they are misapplied.
4. a lack of faith in Srila Prabhupada's teachings – deep within we are not fully convinced and think of them as utopian, neither realistic nor practical for the "modern world."
5. in competition with Srila Prabhupada's teachings – with full conviction and enthusiasm we go in a completely different direction than what Srila Prabhupada has instructed, and in so doing influence others to go with us.
We believe these obstacles can easily be overcome with the introduction of integral, structured educational and training programs aimed at nurturing our relationship with and increasing our knowledge of Srila Prabhupada's teachings. This will only succeed however if fueled by a serious leadership commitment to create a culture deeply rooted in Srila Prabhupada's Vani. Srila Prabhupada's natural position will thus automatically become, and remain, apparent to all generations of devotees.
Devotees are his Limbs, ISKCON is his Body, and his Vani is his Soul
You should always remember that whatever we are doing, it is in the parampara system beginning from Lord Krishna, down to us. Therefore, our loving spirit should be more upon the message than the physical representation. When we love the message and serve Him, automatically our devotional love for the physique is done.– Srila Prabhupada Letter to Govinda dasi, 7 April 1970
We are Srila Prabhupada's limbs. To successfully cooperate with him to his full satisfaction we must be united in consciousness with him. This loving unity develops from our becoming fully absorbed in, convinced by and practicing his Vani. Our holistic success strategy is for everyone to assimilate Srila Prabhupada's teachings and boldly place them at the heart of everything we do for his Krishna consciousness movement. In this way, Srila Prabhupada's devotees can flourish personally, and in their respective services to make ISKCON a solid body which can fulfill Srila Prabhupada's desire to save the world from complete disaster. The devotees win, the GBC wins, ISKCON wins, the world wins, Srila Prabhupada wins, and Lord Caitanya wins. There will be no losers.
Distributing the Teachings of Parampara
1486 Caitanya Mahaprabhu appears in order to teach the world Krishna consciousness – 533 years ago
1488 Sanatana Goswami appears in order to write books on Krishna consciousness – 531 years ago
1489 Rupa Gosvami appears in order to write books on Krishna consciousness – 530 years ago
1495 Raghunatha Gosvami appears in order to write books on Krishna consciousness – 524 years ago
1500 Mechanical printing presses begin to revolutionize the distribution of books throughout Europe – 520 years ago
1513 Jiva Gosvami appears in order to write books on Krishna consciousness – 506 years ago
1834 Bhaktivinoda Thakura appears in order to write books on Krishna consciousness – 185 years ago
1874 Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati appears in order to write books on Krishna consciousness – 145 years ago
1896 Srila Prabhupada appears in order to write books on Krishna consciousness – 123 years ago
1914 Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati coins the phrase "brhat-mrdanga" – 105 years ago
1922 Srila Prabhupada meets Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati for the first time and is immediately requested to preach in the English language - 97 years ago
1935 Srila Prabhupada receives the instruction to print books – 84 years ago
1944 Srila Prabhupada starts Back to Godhead magazine – 75 years ago
1956 Srila Prabhupada moves to Vrndavana to write books – 63 years ago
1962 Srila Prabhupada publishes his first volume of Srimad-Bhagavatam – 57 years ago
1965 Srila Prabhupada arrives in the West to distribute his books – 54 years ago
1968 Srila Prabhupada publishes his abridged Bhagavad-gita As-It-Is – 52 years ago
1972 Srila Prabhupada publishes his full version of Bhagavad-gita As-It-Is – 47 years ago
1972 Srila Prabhupada establishes the BBT to publish his books – 47 years ago
1974 Srila Prabhupada's disciples start the serious distribution of his books – 45 years ago
1975 Srila Prabhupada completes the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 44 years ago
1977Srila Prabhupada stops speaking and leaves his Vani in our care – 42 years ago
1978 The Bhaktivedanta Archives is established – 41 years ago
1986 The world's digitally stored material amounts to 1 CD-ROM per person – 33 years ago
1991 The World Wide Web (brhat-brhat-brhat mrdanga) is established – 28 years ago
1992 The Bhaktivedanta VedaBase version 1.0 is created – 27 years ago
2002 The Digital Age arrives - worldwide digital storage overtakes analog – 17 years ago
2007 The world's digitally stored material amounts to 61 CD-ROMS per person – 12 years ago, that makes 427 billion CD-ROMs. (all full)
2007 Srila Prabhupada's Vani-temple, the Vanipedia begins construction in the web – 12 years ago
2010 Srila Prabhupada's Vapu-temple, the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium begins construction in Sridhama Mayapur – 9 years ago
2012 Vanipedia reaches 1,906,753 quotes, 108,971 pages and 13,946 categories – 7 years ago
2013 500,000,000 of Srila Prabhupada's books have been distributed by ISKCON devotees in 48 years – an average of 28,538 books every single day - 6 years ago
2019 21st March, Gaura Purnima day at 7.15 Central European Time, Vanipedia celebrates 11 years of inviting devotees to collaborate together to invoke and fully manifest Srila Prabhupada's Vani-presence. Vanipedia now offers 45,588 categories, 282,297 pages, 2,100,000 plus quotes presented in 93 languages. This has been achieved by over 1,220 devotees who have performed more than 295,000 hours of vaniseva. We still have a long way to go in order to complete Srila Prabhupada's Vani-temple thus we continue to invite devotees to participate in this glorious mission.
The unfolding of the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu under the banner of the modern day Krishna consciousness movement is a very exciting time to be performing devotional service.
Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-acarya of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness has brought onto the world scene a life-changing phenomenon in the form of his Translations, Bhaktivedanta Purports, Lectures, Conversations, and Letters. Here lies the key to the respiritualization of the whole human society.
Vani, Personal Association and Service in Separation - Quotes
My Guru Maharaja passed in 1936, and I started this movement in 1965, thirty years after. Then? I am getting the mercy of guru. This is Vani. Even the guru is not physically present, if you follow the Vani, then you are getting help.– Srila Prabhupada Morning-walk Conversation, 21 July 1975
In the absence of physical presentation of the Spiritual Master the Vaniseva is more important. My Spiritual Master, Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura, may appear to be physically not present, but still because I try to serve His instruction I never feel separated from Him. I expect that all of you should follow these instructions.– Srila Prabhupada Letter to Karandhara das (GBC), 22 August 1970
From the very beginning I was strongly against the impersonalists and all my books are stressed on this point. So my oral instruction as well as my books are all at your service. Now you GBC consult them and get clear and strong idea, then there will be no disturbance. Disturbance is caused by ignorance; where there is no ignorance, there is no disturbance.– Srila Prabhupada Letter to Hayagriva das (GBC), 22 August 1970
Please be happy in separation. I am separated from my Guru Maharaja since 1936 but I am always with him so long I work according to his direction. So we should all work together for satisfying Lord Krishna and in that way the feelings of separation will transform into transcendental bliss.– Srila Prabhupada Letter to Uddhava das (ISKCON Press), 3 May 1968
Srila Prabhupada offers many revealing truths in this series of statements.
Srila Prabhupada's personal guidance is always here.
We should be happy in feelings of separation from Srila Prabhupada.
In Srila Prabhupada's physical absence his Vaniseva is more important.
Srila Prabhupada had very little personal association with his Guru Maharaja.
Srila Prabhupada's oral instruction, as well as his books, are all at our service.
Feelings of separation from Srila Prabhupada transform into transcendental bliss.
When Srila Prabhupada is not physically present, if we follow his Vani, we get his help.
Srila Prabhupada never left Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's association, not even for a moment.
By consulting Srila Prabhupada's oral instructions and his books we get clear and strong ideas.
By following Srila Prabhupada's instructions we will never feel separated (disconnected) from him.
Srila Prabhupada expects all his followers to follow these instructions in order to become empowered siksa-disciples of him.
I am very encouraged by the reports of the tremendous success of your TV and radio programs. As much as possible try to increase our preaching programs by using all the mass media which are available. We are modern day Vaishnavas and we must preach vigorously using all the means available.– Srila Prabhupada Letter to Rupanuga das (GBC), 30 December 1971
If you are able to arrange everything so that I can simply sit in my room and be seen by the world and speak to the world, then I shall never leave Los Angeles. That will be the perfection of your L.A. Temple. I am very, very encouraged by your proposal to flood the medias of your country with our Krishna Consciousness program, and see that it is practically taking shape under your hands, so I am all the more pleased.- Srila Prabhupada Letter to Siddhesvar das and Krishnakanti das, 16 February 1972
Following in the footsteps of his Guru Maharaja Srila Prabhupada knew the art of engaging everything for Krishna's service.
Srila Prabhupada wants to be seen by the world and speak to the world.
Srila Prabhupada desires to flood the media with our Krishna Consciousness programs.
Srila Prabhupada wants his books distributed through the press and other modern-media.
Srila Prabhupada was happy to hear about the plan for a subject by subject encyclopedia of his teachings.
Srila Prabhupada says we should increase our preaching programs by using all the mass media that is available.
Srila Prabhupada says we are modern day Vaishnavas and we must preach vigorously using all the means available.
Srila Prabhupada says we can use everything – television, radio, movies, or whatever there may be – to tell about Krishna.
Srila Prabhupada says that the mass-media can become such an important instrument in spreading our Krishna consciousness movement.
Modern-media, modern opportunities
For Srila Prabhupada, in the 1970's, the terms modern-media and mass-media meant the printing press, radio, TV and movies. Since his departure, the landscape of mass media has dramatically transformed to include Android phones, cloud computing and storage, e-book readers, e-commerce, interactive TV and gaming, online publishing, podcasts and RSS feeds, social networking sites, streaming media services, touch-screen technologies, web-based communications & distribution services and wireless technologies.
In line with Srila Prabhupada's example we are, since 2007, using modern mass media technologies to compile, index, categorize and distribute Srila Prabhupada's Vani.
Vanipedia's aim is to increase the visibility and accessibility of Srila Prabhupada's teachings on the web by offering a free, authentic, one-stop resource for
• ISKCON preachers
• ISKCON leaders and managers
• devotees studying devotional courses
• devotees wishing to deepen their knowledge
• devotees involved in inter-faith dialogues
• curriculum developers
• devotees feeling separation from Srila Prabhupada
• executive leaders
• teachers and students of religious education
• searchers of spirituality
• people concerned about current social issues
There is still more to be done to make Srila Prabhupada's teachings accessible and prominent in the world today. Collaborative web technologies provide us the opportunity to surpass all our previous successes.
Vaniseva – the Sacred Act of Serving Srila Prabhupada's Vani
Srila Prabhupada stopped speaking on the 14th of November, 1977, but the Vani he gave us remains ever fresh. However, these teachings are not yet in their pristine condition, nor are all of them readily accessible to his devotees. Srila Prabhupada's followers have a sacred duty to preserve and to distribute his Vani to everyone. We are therefore inviting you to perform this vaniseva.
Always remember that you are one of the few men I have appointed to carry on my work throughout the world and your mission before you is huge. Therefore, always pray to Krishna to give you strength for accomplishing this mission by doing what I am doing. My first business is to give the devotees the proper knowledge and engage them in devotional service, so that is not very difficult task for you, I have given you everything, so read and speak from the books and so many new lights will come out. We have got so many books, so if we go on preaching from them for the next 1,000 years, there is enough stock.– Srila Prabhupada Letter to Satsvarupa das (GBC), 16 June 1972
In June of 1972 Srila Prabhupada said that "we have got so many books" that we have "enough stock" to preach from for the "next 1,000 years." At that time, only 10 titles had been printed, so with all the extra books that Srila Prabhupada published from July 1972 to November 1977 the number of years of stock could easily be expanded to 5,000. If we add to this his oral instructions and letters, then the stock expands to 10,000 years. We need to expertly prepare all these teachings to be accessed and properly understood so that they can be "preached from" for this whole period of time.
There is no doubt that Srila Prabhupada has unending enthusiasm and determination to preach the message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It does not matter that his vapu has left us. He remains in his teachings, and via the digital platform, he can now preach even more widely than when he was physically present. With complete dependence on Lord Caitanya's mercy, let us embrace Srila Prabhupada's vani-mission, and with more resolve than ever before, expertly prepare his Vani for 10,000 years of preaching.
Over the past ten years I have given the framework and now we have become more than the British Empire. Even the British Empire was not as expansive as we. They had only a portion of the world, and we have not completed expanding. We must expand more and more unlimitedly. But I must now remind you that I have to complete the translation of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. This is the greatest contribution; our books have given us a respectable position. People have no faith in this church or temple worship. Those days are gone. Of course, we have to maintain the temples as it is necessary to keep our spirits high. Simply intellectualism will not do, there must be practical purification.
So I request you to relieve me of management responsibilities more and more so that I can complete the Srimad-Bhagavatam translation. If I am always having to manage, then I cannot do my work on the books. It is document, I have to choose each word very soberly and if I have to think of management then I cannot do this. I cannot be like these rascals who present something mental concoction to cheat the public. So this task will not be finished without the cooperation of my appointed assistants, the GBC, temple presidents, and sannyasis. I have chosen my best men to be GBC and I do not want that the GBC should be disrespectful to the temple presidents. You can naturally consult me, but if the basic principle is weak, how will things go on? So please assist me in the management so that I can be free to finish the Srimad-Bhagavatam which will be our lasting contribution to the world.– Srila Prabhupada Letter to All Governing Body Commissioners, 19 May 1976
Here Srila Prabhupada is stating "this task will not be finished without the cooperation of my appointed assistants" to help him make "our lasting contribution to the world." It is Srila Prabhupada's books that have "given us a respectable position" and they are "the greatest contribution to the world."
Over the years, so much vaniseva has been performed by BBT devotees, book distributors, preachers who have held firmly to Srila Prabhupada's words, and by other devotees who have been dedicated to distribute and preserve his Vani in one way or another. But there is still much more to do. By working together via the technologies of the brhat-brhat-brhat mrdanga (the World Wide Web) we now have an opportunity to build an unparalleled manifestation of Srila Prabhupada's Vani in a very short period of time. Our proposal is to come together in vaniseva and build a Vani-temple to be completed by November 4th, 2027, at which time we will all be celebrating the final 50th anniversary. 50 years of serving Srila Prabhupada in separation. This will be a very appropriate and beautiful offering of love to Srila Prabhupada, and a glorious gift to all the future generations of his devotees.
I am glad that you have named your printing press the Radha Press. It is very gratifying. May your Radha Press be enriched in publishing all our books and literatures in the German language. It is a very nice name. Radharani is the best, topmost servitor of Krishna, and the printing machine is the biggest medium at the present moment for serving Krishna. Therefore, it is really a representative of Srimati Radharani. I like the idea very much.– Srila Prabhupada Letter to Jaya Govinda das (Book production manager), 4 July 1969
For the better part of the 20th century, the printing press provided the tools for successful propaganda from so many groups of people. Srila Prabhupada stated how expert the communists were to spread their influence in India via the pamphlets and books they distributed. Srila Prabhupada used this example to express how he wanted to make a large propaganda program for Krishna consciousness by distributing his books all over the world.
Now, in the 21st century, Srila Prabhupada's statement "the biggest medium at the present moment for serving Krishna" can undoubtedly be applied to the exponential and unparalleled power of internet publishing and distribution. In Vanipedia, we are preparing Srila Prabhupada's teachings for proper representation on this modern mass distribution platform. Srila Prabhupada stated that the Radha Press of his devotees in Germany was "really a representative of Srimati Radharani." We are therefore certain that he would consider Vanipedia to be a representative of Srimati Radharani as well.
So many beautiful Vapu-temples have already been built by ISKCON devotees – let us now build at least one glorious Vani-temple. The Vapu-temples offer sacred darshans to the forms of the Lord, and a Vani-temple will offer the sacred darshan to the teachings of the Lord and His pure devotees, as presented by Srila Prabhupada. The work of ISKCON devotees will naturally be more successful when Srila Prabhupada's teachings are situated in their rightful, worshipable position. Now there is a wonderful opportunity for all his current "appointed assistants" to embrace the vani-mission of building his Vani-temple and to inspire the whole movement to participate.
Just as the enormous and beautiful Vapu-temple rising from the banks of the Ganges in Sridham Mayapur is destined to help spread Lord Caitanya's mercy all over the world, so too can a Vani-temple of Srila Prabhupada's teachings strengthen his ISKCON mission to spread all over the world and establish Srila Prabhupada's natural position for thousands of years to come.
Vaniseva – Taking Practical Action to Serve
Completing Vanipedia means Srila Prabhupada's teachings will be presented in a way that no one has ever done for the works of any spiritual teacher. We invite everyone to take part in this sacred mission. Together we will give Srila Prabhupada a unique exposure to the world on a magnitude only possible via the web.
Our desire is to make Vanipedia the No.1 reference encyclopedia of Srila Prabhupada's teachings in multiple languages. This will only happen with the sincere commitment, sacrifice, and support of many devotees. To date, over 1,220 devotees have participated in building Vanisource and Vaniquotes and translations in 93 languages. Now in order to complete Vaniquotes and build the Vanipedia articles, the Vanibooks, the Vanimedia, and the Vaniversity courses we need more support from devotees with the following skills:
• Curriculum Development
• Design and Layout
• Server Maintenance
• Site Development
• Software Programming
• Technical Editing
Vaniservants offer their service from their homes, temples, and offices, or they can join us full-time for certain periods in Sridham Mayapur or Radhadesh.
For the past 12 years Vanipedia has been primarily financed by the book distribution from Bhaktivedanta Library Services a.s.b.l. To continue its construction, Vanipedia needs funding beyond the current capacity of BLS. Once completed, Vanipedia will hopefully be sustained by small donations from a percentage of many satisfied visitors. But for now, in order to complete the initial phases of building this free encyclopedia, the service of offering financial support is crucial.
Supporters of Vanipedia can choose from one of the following options
Sponsor: A person donating any amount they desire
Supporting Patron: An individual person or legal entity donating at least 81 euros
Sustaining Patron: An individual person or legal entity donating at least 810 euros with the possibility to make 9 monthly payments of 90 euros
Growth Patron: An individual person or legal entity donating 8,100 euros with the possibility to make 9 yearly payments of 900 euros
Foundational Patron: An individual person or legal entity donating 81,000 euros with the possibility to make 9 yearly payments of 9,000 euros