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The Bhaktivedanta Research Center

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Bhaktivedanta Research Centre Annual Report


September, 2010

Bhaktivedanta Research Centre
A project of ISKCON Mayapur
110A Motilal Nehru Road, Kolkata 700 029, WB India
PH: 91 33 4065 / 2475 5216

Welcome to our first annual report and newsletter. It's just over a year since the inauguration of the BRC. We have made good progress, some exciting acquisitions have been donated, and we are full of plans for the coming year. 

In this first annual newsletter you will find an overview of the library's contents, our plans for the coming year, details of how to participate in this exciting project through our new membership scheme, a list of donors, the current staff, a brief history of the BRC with its Aims and Objectives and finally a list of contacts.

Library Contents

We have almost 3,500 titles in the library, which is a good start. With the generosity of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust we have all the English titles of HDG AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, plus about 25% of the foreign language editions of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. We have also purchased all the major Puranas and Vedas and some commentaries of Madva and Ramanuja Acaryas. 

The most exciting acquisition has been the gift of the private collection of Sri Sundarananda Vidyavinoda to one of our Advisory Board members, Sripada Bhakti Bibudha Bodhayan Maharaja. Sundarananda Vidyavinoda was a Sanskrit professor, disciple and leading editor of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, the Founder/ Acarya of the Gaudiya Matha. He was responsible for the publishing of the ‘Gaudiya', the monthly publication of the Gaudiya Mission.

By the very generous and magnanimous gesture of His Holiness Bodhayan Maharaja, the current Acarya of the Sri Gopinatha Gaudiya Matha, the BRC was extremely fortunate to be given custody of this priceless collection consisting of over 2,500 items.

This achievement has been possible as the result of six years of negotiation by Pranava das from Sweden, and a disciple of Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja, as part of the former's research on the life and works of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Pranava das along with his contacts in Kolkata has also greatly contributed at all initial stages of screening and handling the library. 

Krishnabhishek das was essential in settling the terms of the custody agreement and access to many precious titles belonging to the private collection of Srila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaja, who was one of the editors of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's newspapers and magazines. Krishnabhishek das also collaborated with the State Central library, Kolkata for professional digitization of some of the important journals and newspapers.

Among the SVV collection we found some rare treasures – 

Rare out of print titles such as Bhaktivinoda Thakura's edition of Padma Purana in Sanskrit; 

an original print of Bange Samajikata, the first book written by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati in 1899 (aside from his astronomical works); 

samples of the handwriting of both Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati;

a hand written copy of Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya Liladating back almost 400 years; 

and most astonishing of all, a copy made by Sundarananda of the personal diary of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. This diary is now in the process of being published.

There are still many documents, correspondence and other loose records that are yet to be detailed but the whole collection is one of the most valuable finds we could hope for.

Many of the books are nearing 100 years old and have been caught in the nick of time before being destroyed by bugs and neglect.

We have just completed cataloguing all of the Sanskrit, Bengali, English and Telegu books in the collection in MSExcel format, every book has been individually cleaned by hand, and they are now in the process of being fumigated before being placed on the library shelves. 

The next step is to digitize the collection and then make them available online through the BRC website. We firmly believe that dissemination is the best way of preservation.

Future Projects 

Librarian Bharati Roy is compiling a list of books written by previous Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas, beginning from the Six Goswamis to Srila Prabhupada and our next task is to ensure a complete collection of these works on the shelves and computers of the BRC.

It is the aim of the BRC to digitize all our books and make them available online via our webpage. Although the website is still under construction we are working with Indian library software NewGenLib to create a complete digital library.

Many titles have already been digitized and the work will be ongoing for many years. Currently we have one small book scanner but more powerful, automated machines will be added to our library facility as we get more funding.

The BRC has a number of aims for the coming year:

    1. To acquire two new automated book scanners to speed the process of scanning the many thousands of pages of literature.
    2. To acquire a suitable vehicle and funding to commence the manuscript retrieval program.
    3. To increase the book acquisitions
    4. To complete and put online the new website
    5. To expand the computer room and server facilities
    6. To complete some residual renovations to the building
    7. To begin translation into English and publication of important works, especially by Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

    Vaisnava Manuscript Preservation Project

    BRC considers this to be one of its most important projects. In accordance with Srila Prabhupada's expressed desire from 1972 the BRC intends to start a manuscript retrieval and preservation project. Many thousands of old manuscripts are lying neglected and forgotten in small libraries, temples and homes throughout Bengal, Bangladesh, Orissa and other centers of Gaudiya Vaisnavism such as Jaipur. Srila Prabhupada referred to these manuscripts as a "treasure house of Vaisnava lore" and unless something active is done, it is likely that vast and lasting damage will be done to this historical body of literature. It is not yet too late to rescue them and the BRC would like to play its part. 

    Collections like SVV's are a small step in this direction. We are aware of several other private collections that are likely to be scattered or lost completely once the present owners die. With some resources the BRC can be instrumental in saving them. For the immediate commencement of the project we need a suitable vehicle and some funding for one or two men to travel on a voyage of discovery throughout the centers of Gaudiya Vaisnavaism.

    Website development

    The website is our link with the world. BRC is an international project and a good interface is a must. The work on the website has already begun but is in need of improvement. We would like ideally to hire a professional website builder to do the initial stage and then keep on a 'need basis' a qualified IT person to do maintenance and regular program updates. 

    Library Services

    BRC has already begun to provide services for scholars and researchers worldwide. Requests have been received and fulfilled for scans of difficult-to-find books. 

    We can also purchase books on behalf of a researcher and send the physical copy to them, anywhere in the world. BRC charges a nominal fee for locating and handling publications, as well as the original cost plus postage. Scanning attracts a nominal fee for the labor and time involved.

    Any reader interested in taking advantage of these services can write to our General Manager Janakaraja Dasa for details (see contact information at the end of this report).

    Financial Accounts

    BRC operates as a department of ISKCON Mayapur, a registered charity in India. As such its accounts are part of the greater ISKCON Mayapur accounting system and they are audited on a monthly and then a culminative yearly basis. This ensures the integrity of our donors gifts. 

    Guest House

    BRC offers a unique facility of a combination of library and guest house facility. The Gita Bhavan guest house consisting of seven newly renovated rooms with air conditioning, wireless broadband connections, new attached bathrooms etc. is located under the same roof as the BRC. This affords members, students and scholars the opportunity to stay in comfort and fully utilize the library facilities.

    This year we have hosted a number of researchers and scholars such as Smt. Urmila dasi--Dr. Edith Best, founder of Padma books; Yadunandana Swami, Principle of Bhaktivedanta College in Belgium; Suresvara dasa, researcher and author; Krsna Ksetra dasa—Dr. Kenneth Valpey who is doing research for a translation of the Srimad Bhagavatam to be published by Columbia University Press; Ananta Sarovar dasi – Phd. assisting Krsna Ksetra prabhu; Madhavananda dasa, editor and publisher of Krsna Kathamrta Bindu; Janananda Goswami; and in addition we have had visits from HH Bodhayan Swami, Jayadvaita Swami, Radhanatha Swami, Sadhu dasa and several other interested parties.


    We invite everyone to take this opportunity to participate in the preservation and dissemination of our Vaisnava philosophy and culture. Many well-wishers have inquired as to how they can help the work of the BRC. We have therefore created a membership scheme to enable our supporters to contribute to the development of this important project. In brief we have three types of members—subscription, yearly and patron. We have an ‘Adopt a book' scheme; we have specific projects for donors to contribute to; and we have an Endowment support scheme for the long term financing of the project.

    We are very happy to list here our first members and extend our grateful thanks for their kind and enthusiastic support:

    Patron Membership:

    HH Bhakti Charu Swami
    HG Akrura dasa (Vancouver)
    HG Mahesh Advani (Dubai)
    HG Ambarish dasa (Gainesville FL) Yearly Members:
    HG Vasudeva dasa (Mayapur)
    Sriman Mahidhara dasa and Smt. Nandini dasi Subscription Members
    HG Prahlada Nrsimha dasa (Mayapur)
    HG Ramadevi dasi (Mayapur)
    HG Gauranga Simha dasa (Mayapur)

    BRC would like to also thank the many other generous donors who have given their hard earned funds to support us in this first year of service.

    Take the unique opportunity of preserving
    our Vaishnava heritage


    By a gift of money you will help these projects (figures are estimates): 

      1) Install theft proof display cases for rare books – Rs. 4 lakhs ($9,000.00)

      2) Purchase and maintain a vehicle for field work to locate ancient manuscripts and rare books in obscure temples and libraries -- Rs. 5 lakhs ($11,000)

      3) Expansion of the library by further acquisition of important works -- Rs. 3 lakhs ($6,500)

      4) Construction of a new kitchen and dining facilities for visitors – Rs. 5 lakhs ($11,000)

      5) Website development and maintenance – Rs. 1 lakh ($2,200)

      6) Purchase automated scanning machine -- Rs. 16 lakhs ($35,000)
    By contributing to Adopt A Book you receive the following acknowledgements (the list is cumulative):

    $51 An attractive personalized certificate recording the beneficiary's name and details of the book.
    $108 plus the benefactors name will be listed in our newsletter.
    $501 plus, three free nights stay at the Bhaktivedanta Research Centre for yourself and a friend where you will be introduced to your book and given a tour of the facilities.
    $1008 plus, choose from our list of very rare books and have your own or designated benefactor's name placed on a plaque with the book in its preservation cabinet.


    (Rs. 15,000 per annum)
    Subscription members can stay at the Gita Bhavan Guest House at the regular rate, and the amount of their room rental will be deducted from their total subscription fee. At the end of the year the Subscription Member may then pay the balance before renewing their new yearly fee. If they have paid their full fee before the end of the year, the Subscription member is then entitled to three free nights in the Guest House plus 10% discount on subsequent occupancy.


    ($501 per annum)
    Members receive a digital newsletter containing:

    information of the recent acquisitions of the BRC
    A list of members and book adoptees
    Information on all new developments and projects of the BRC
    Members are entitled to seven nights free accommodation per annum at the BRC's guest house and a tour of the library and other BRC facilities. (All rooms have A/C and wireless internet facilities)
    Members are entitled to 15% discount on room rentals in the Gita Bhavan Guest House
    Members will receive the unlimited blessings of the previous acharyas.


    (A single donation of $10,001 or above) 

    Patron members receive all the benefits of membership plus an invitation to become a member of the Bhaktivedanta Research Centre's Advisory Board


    The establishment of the Endowment fund is one of our major goals. BRC invites its well-wishers to create an endowment fund of Rs. 10,000,000.00 (one crore). This will be invested in fixed deposits or similar financial instrument. The principle will never be spent. Only the interest generated will be spent. If the interest rate is 7% this will generate approximately Rs.60,000 per month which is the current monthly budget of the whole operation thus insuring the ongoing operations of the BRC.

    Major Donors to Date

    [Photos of many donors were included in original report]

    In October 2008 the current BRC Director, Hari Sauri dasa, approached the Mayapur Vrndavana Trust (MVT) for funding for the new project. The trustees – HH Jayapataka Swami, HH Gopal Krishna Goswami, Sriman Abhiram dasa, Sriman Advaita Candra dasa, Sriman Sesa dasa and Sriman Hari-sauri dasa-- gave their enthusiastic support as well as financial backing to the tune of Rs. 27,00,000.00 (approx. $59,000) donation for renovations and establishment of the Bhaktivedanta Research Center and adjoining Gita Bhavan Guest House, and a further Rs. 5,00,000.00 ($11,000.00) loan.

    The Mayapur Administrative Council (MAC), as the controlling body of the building, gave their approval on December 31st 2008 and work began in late January 2009.

    HH Bhakti Charu Swami donated Rs. 5,00,000.00

    HH Jayapataka Swami donated Rs. 1,00,000.00

    HG Akrura dasa Adhikari, temple president of ISKCON Vancouver donated Rs. 5,00,000.00

    HG Ambarish dasa Adhikari [Alfred Brush Ford] head of the TOVP project, donated Rs. 5,00,000.00

    The Bombay Bhaktivedanta Book Trust donated all of Srila Prabhupada's English books.

    The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International (BBTI) donated Rs 1,20,000.00 for book acquisition.

    HH B.B. Bodhayan Maharaja, the present acarya of the Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Matha, presented the BRC on the first day of Kartika 2009 the entire personal collection of books of Sri Sundarananda Vidya Vinoda. 

    At the same time we have been steadily adding to the Vedic cosmology section and the Bhagavad-gita library (Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita in as many languages as are available) and building up the stock of current Gaudiya Vaisnava authors—HH Bhanu Swami, HH Bhakti Vikash Swami, HG Gopiparandhana dasa, HG Hari-sauri dasa, Torchlight Publishing, Bhaktivedanta Institute, Govardhan Hill Publishing have all donated sets of their publications for the library.


    The present staff consists of:

    Director -- Hari Sauri das 

    Academic Director -- Pranava das Phd.

    Co-Academic Director -- Krishnabhisek das M.A.

    General Manager -- Janakaraja das

    Head Librarian – Smt. Bharati Roy M.A.

    Library advisor/ book procurement -- Acyuta das

    Advisory Board

    Dr. Graham Schweig (HG Garuda dasa); HH Jayapataka Swami; HH Bhakti Charu Swami; HH BB Bodhayan Swami; HH Gopal Krishna Goswami (HG Akrura dasa); Paul Sherbow (HG Pradyumna dasa); Dr. Kenneth R. Valpey (HG Krsna Ksetra dasa)

    A brief history of the BRC

    The creation of the BRC was the culmination of several ideas going back to Srila Prabhupada himself. 

    As early as 1972 he had instructed his disciples to make film records of the writings of Bhaktivinoda Thakura at Bir Nagar, to preserve them for future generations of Vaisnavas. 

    In correspondence with Yadubara and Acyutananda prabhus Srila Prabhupada expressed a strong desire to preserve the ancient manuscripts and writings of our previous acaryas. He described it as very important work and stating his willingness to spend substantially to achieve this purpose. A small amount of work was done and then the program stopped.

    In August 1976 Srila Prabhupada told his Bombay Juhu managers to create a Vedic library for the temple there. He said it should contain all his own books, those of all the acaryas, as well as the Upanisads and other bone fide Vedic texts. This wish was unfortunately never fulfilled.

    In 1975 Srila Prabhupada had discussed with one of his early Phd. Disciples, Ravindra Svarupa das, the possibility of opening a Vedic university in Mayapur. A preliminary requisite for that would be a first class library. Again, this project has been on hold for the last 30+ years, until now.

    Srila Prabhupada also discussed in detail about his biggest and boldest project, the Mayapur Temple of the Vedic Planetarium (TOVP) . He began a strong push to start this largest project in 1977, shortly before his departure. Now in 2010, the TOVP is finally manifesting and is expected to be opened around 2016-17. The TOVP will have a state of the art planetarium along with other exhibits, and to support this, it was clear that a comprehensive library containing all the works on Puranic and Siddhantic cosmography and astronomy would be required. 

    In 2008 the Vedic cosmology team were made aware by Acyuta das - who had been working with Pranava das for a number of years - of a five storey building in central Kolkata which had been donated to ISKCON Mayapur in 2000 by Mr. Madan Cand Shamsukha. He kindly agreed to facilitate the library in the building.

    At that time Pranava dasa had conceived of a major center for the study of all aspects of Vaisnava culture and philosophy. Thus the BRC took birth as the combination of the preservation project, the Vedic library, the TOVP cosmology library, and the Vaisnava studies center. 

    Hari Sauri das took the initiative at this stage and fulfilled all major practical aspects of this project by arranging for funding, renovation of the building and has been functioning as managing director ever since. After six months of hard work the library was officially opened by their Holinesses Jayapataka and Bhakti Charu Swamis on June 30th 2009. The guest house was completed several months later and is open for any scholar, student or BRC member.

    Janakaraja has joined the team as assistant manager and Bharati Roy as librarian. Pranava das and Krishnabhishek das are the academic directors.

    Aims and Objectives

    In a 1974 discussion about forming a legal ISKCON entity in W. Bengal, Srila Prabhupada approved the following aims to be included in the new entity. As it turned out the registration was never effected but the aims remain valid and are included in the BRC Aims and Objectives:

    a) To perform extensive research work in Sanskrit and Bengali literature of historic texts of Vaisnavism such as Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrta, Bhakti Rasamrtia Sinduh, etc. and to distribute this research work throughout educational institutions all over the world, regardless of race, color or creed, and religion.

    b) To promote Vedic research work in the area of agriculture and animal husbandry, and alternative energy sources according to the historic Vedic texts for the sound and healthy development of body, mind, and soul; and to promote and distribute this research work.

    c) To perform research work into the ancient Vedic educational schemes such as Gurukula as well the development of the individual through yoga and to promote and distribute this research work throughout India and the world.

    Further aims include:

    a) To develop a comprehensive library of books on Indian astronomy from the classical to the modern period. The purpose is to explore the development of Indian astronomy and the perspective of Vedic, Puranic, and Siddhantic cosmology particularly of the Srimad Bhagavatam, based on original sources in various Indian languages.

    b) To develop a Bhagavad Gita library consisting of translations and commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita by Vaishnavas acaryas from all over India, both in English, Sanskrit and vernacular languages like Bengali, Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati. The collection will also include all translations of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita As It Is in all available languages of the world.

    c) To collect, preserve and digitize literature of Gaudiya Vaishnavism from the period of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to the present. This effort includes location of old manuscripts in the libraries, homes and Maths of Bengal, Bangladesh and Orissa and other centers of Gaudiya Vainavism such as Vrndavana, Jaipur etc.

    d) To facilitate research on the above library according to the following aims:

      a) To encourage and carry out the study, translation and research on the above texts, and to publish literature of high academic and devotional standard from the Centre.

      b) To create good facilities for scholars, researchers and its members to stay at the Centre and study at the library.

      c) To hold seminars, courses and lectures on the content of the library, thus publicizing the value of the knowledge collected.

    The BRC's Aims and Objectives were also inspired by the Aims of the Vishva Vaishnava Raja Sabha, an organization set up by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in the 1880s and later revived and incorporated into the structure of the Gaudiya Matha by its Founder/Acarya Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:

    Vishva Vaishnava Raja Sabha aims:

    In the charter of the Sabha mentioned in the Sajjanatoshani, here quoted from the Sarasvati Jaya Sri, six areas of service (seva) were to be developed by respective working committees (mandali), a plan that could be applied on a global scale: 

    1) Manada Mandali, making arrangements for worship of images (murti) and caring for Krsna bhaktas

    2) Sri Krishna Caitanya Pracara (missionary activities), a committee or mandali with three divisions: 

      a) Nama (sacred name). Travelling around the world and performing nagar sankirtan--literally 'community kirtana in the village'--speaking the Bhagavata Purana to the masses, and serving the gurus of the movement. The members of this subcommittee would go to far off places for missionary purposes, lecturing and publicly singing the names of Radha and Krsna. 

      b) Sastra Pracara (mission related to texts). Collecting the texts of the Caitanya line and publishing, distributing and preserving them. This subcommittee works to keep old writings in a safe condition and reprint them, as well as research the history of these books and their writers.

      c) Sastra Siksya (textual instructions). Systematic study of bhakti literature. This subcommittee will give regular lectures to students about Vedanta, the art of devotion and hold regular examinations as well. 

    3) Jijñasa (inquisitive) Mandali: for evaluating the character, background, nature of a person before assigning a service for the movement. 

    4) Pasandadalan (deviation) Mandali: defending bhakti from arguments which are against the general conclusions presented in the canonical Caitanyaitetexts. 

    5) Utsava (celebrations) Mandali: arranging large festivals on particular occasions related to sacred images, prominent Vaisnava personalities, etc. 

    6) Bhaktyanusana Mandali: Maintaining ancient sacred places and opening new temples and other facilities. This committee also supervised travelling for the sake of opening new Vaisnava centres.

    Items 2 b) and c), and items 4) are of particular interest to the BRC objectives.


    We hope you are inspired by this new project, a long overdue offering to Srila Prabhupada and our previous acaryas and a legacy for all future generations of Vaisnavas to appreciate and benefit from.

    Please contact us for information on any aspect of the BRC:

    Email: [email protected]

    Mail: 110A Motilal Nehru Road, Kolkata 700 029, W.B. India.

    General Manager Janakaraja das:
    Ph: +91 8013342700
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    Director Hari Sauri dasa:
    Ph: +91 9830120437
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    General Inquiries:
    91 33 40656198
    91 33 24755216

    This post first appeared on KRISHNAITE, please read the originial post: here

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