Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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15 Years Strong: The Bhaktivedanta Research Center Celebrates Anniversary
By Gopika Radhika Devi Dasi   |  Jul 02, 2024
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Hari Sauri Dasa speaking at the Anniversary event.

The year was 2009. A fledgling library and research center were inaugurated on June 28th by Jayapataka Swami, Bhakti Charu Swami, Jananivas Dasa, and Hari Sauri Dasa. Fast forward to 2024, and it has expanded to three thriving centers in Kolkata, Pune, and Mumbai, as well as branches in Puri, Govardhana, and New York. Its sphere of activities has expanded exponentially, with various prestigious collaborations and several awards recognizing its contributions.

The research center being referred to is the Bhaktivedanta Research Center (BRC), which celebrated its 15th anniversary on June 28th, 2024. The anniversary celebration was a joyous online/offline event graced by BRC’s co-founders Hari Sauri Dasa and Pranava Dasa, administrative director Gauranga Das, dean academic Dr. Sumanta Rudra, as well as numerous BRC partners and patrons. The event was filled with reminiscences, words of encouragement and blessings, expressions of gratitude and appreciation, as well as a celebration of the warm community spirit fostered by BRC. The event concluded on a festive note with kirtan and the honoring of cake prasadam.

In his talk, BRC co-founder Hari Sauri Dasa took the devotees on a trip down memory lane, describing how the seed of BRC was planted nearly five decades ago in the form of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions regarding preaching to the intellectual class, establishing libraries of the previous acharyas works, and preserving the acaryas’ manuscripts.

For instance, back in 1972, Srila Prabhupada wrote to his disciple Acyutananda: 

“Treat this matter very seriously and thoroughly, and take all precautions to protect this wonderful boon of literatures forever. Yadubara may photograph every page, never mind Bengali or English or any other language…These items are very, very priceless and are a great treasure house of Vaisnava lore, so be very careful in the matter and take all precautions to guard them” (Srila Prabhupada letter to Acyutananda–Los Angeles, June 12th, 1972).

It was in service to this vision of Srila Prabhupada that the Bhaktivedanta Research Center (BRC) was eventually founded. Describing the efforts that culminated in the fruition of this center, Hari Sauri Dasa spoke of his meeting Pranava Dasa in 2009, then a PhD student in Sweden. Together, they acquired a veritable treasure trove—the personal library of Sri Sundarananda Vidyavinode, Secretary and Editor of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. The library was donated by Vidyavinode’s family to Bodhayan Swami, who transferred the entire collection to the BRC.

Subsequently, Hari Sauri Dasa and Pranava Dasa appointed experts to digitize the manuscripts and rare books. Simultaneously, they constructed a library with study spaces for visiting students and scholars, along with a large room for conferences.

Fifteen years on, BRC is going strong with numerous accomplishments in its six key areas of activity: 

  • Collecting: Conducted over 50 manuscript search field trips to villages, libraries, and temples and collected over 12,000 rare manuscripts. 
  • Preserving: Archived over 40,000 books and 100,000 journal pages, including the Daily Nadia Prakash. 
  • Exhibiting: Curated over 100 rare artifacts and established three museums. 
  • Researching: Completed over 40 research projects and held over 33 conferences. 
  • Publishing: Released over 10 books and 20 articles. 
  • Teaching: Partnering with reputed universities for MA and PhD programs; over 15 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs); taught over 5,000 students

At the anniversary celebration, Pranava Dasa highlighted BRC’s ambitious future plans, including the establishment of a new branch in Mayapur, collaboration with the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, and introduction of further advanced courses at various universities, alongside the expansion of digitizing efforts, interdisciplinary research, and engagement with local and global communities.

Stressing the paramount importance of sastric education, Gauranga Das noted, “Srila Prabhupada emphasized that even the best vehicle cannot go anywhere if its fuel tank is empty. Similarly, we need a purpose in life, defined in Vedic wisdom.” Noting BRC’s unique contribution to the interface between spiritual texts and the academic arena, he concluded, “When we gather in 2034, we should see at least 108 Bhaktivedanta Research Center libraries worldwide.”

The anniversary celebration was also marked by words of encouragement from many longtime BRC supporters. Krsna Candra Dasa commended BRC as being a “unique project whose real significance to humanity will be properly understood over several decades, maybe even centuries.” Namamrta Dasi expressed appreciation for BRC’s activities, including its recent exhibition on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, stating, ‘Even if everyone cannot visit BRC centers, you are taking BRC to them through such exhibitions.’ On a similar note, Sitarama Dasa expressed the wonder felt during the Temple Presidents’ ICC meeting at Balarama Lila Dasa’s presentation of the various transcendental artifacts preserved by BRC.

Srila Prabhupada often quoted the Bengali proverb that when going hunting, one should aim for the rhinoceros. The advantage of pursuing such a formidable target is that there is no disgrace even if one fails, and if the attempt is successful, then great glory follows. Humbly following Srila Prabhupada’s mood and mission, BRC continues to aim for ever higher goals, praying for the blessings of the Vaisnavas for the strength to continue serving Srila Prabhupada and our previous acaryas on this transcendental adventure.

Anniversary Day celebrations–BRC team at BRC Headquarters, Kolkata.

With deep gratitude, the Bhaktivedanta Research Center thanks the following supporters and patrons for their kind blessings and invaluable contributions:

Vraja Kishore Das, Adi Purusa Das, Krishna Chandra Das, Trustees, Damodar Hari Das, Vraja Raman Das, Anand Manaktala, Krishna Kumar Das, Visvakalyana Gaura Das, Krishna Kirtan Das, Akrura Das, Balarama Lila Das, Satya-sara Das, Ram Mukunda Das, Shaligram Krishna Das, Prem Niketan Das, Shyam Hari Das & Prem Kumari Devi Dasi, Vishwatma Gopinath Das, Balramkumar Srivasatava, Dhana Lakshmi Eluri, Ramdas, Govindadev Das, Acyuta Lila Das, Radhananda Das, Madhava Chandra Das, Sadananda Das, Sundarananda Das, Ananta Acharya Das, Srinivas Sharan Das, Dwarkadhish Das, Amarender Bilapati, Haridas Varya Das, Kiran Rapolu & Revati Devi Dasi, and Raja Nagarajan.

For more information about the BRC, please visit their website, subscribe to the BRC YouTube channel and follow them on Facebook.

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