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

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BBT’s Transcend App: A Revolutionary Integration of Spirituality and Technology
By Atma Tattva Das, ISKCON News Staff Writer   |  Nov 25, 2023
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The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has taken a significant step forward with the launch of the Transcend app by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. It features over 8,000 hours of audio recordings, 600+ eBooks, the ability to listen or read in 11 languages so far, and is accessible on multiple devices. This groundbreaking app, introduced by Sri Ananda Tirtha Dasa, marks the world’s first integrated platform offering both audio and e-books, revolutionizing the way our spiritual wisdom is broadly shared. 

In this article, we will delve into the specifics of the Transcend app, exploring its unique features, technical aspects, and cultural and spiritual significance.

Transcend stands as a testament to years of dedication and hard work, encapsulating the timeless wisdom of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in audio and e-book formats. The app boasts a collection of 56 million words from over 2.7 lakh (270,000) pages of Prabhupada’s books, covering the Bhagavad Gita, the Srimad Bhagavatam, the Chaitanya Charitamrita, and more. Additionally, what sets Transcend apart is its commitment to quality: thousands of hours of meticulously crafted audio narrations and hundreds of full-featured e-books in nearly a dozen languages.

The app offers a seamless user experience with an impressive interface. Users can navigate through a vast library with sample clips, hours of content information, and language packs. The audio library allows for bookmarking, adjustable playback speeds, and a sleep timer, providing a personalized listening experience. Similarly, the e-book library offers customization options such as font and theme selection, making reading a personalized journey. Transcend even introduces gamified flashcards, enriching the learning experience and promoting knowledge retention.

Parallel to its timeless content, Transcend showcases technical excellence. Hosted on the reliable MS Azure platform with encrypted files, the app ensures security and an uninterrupted user experience. Operating on an over-the-top (OTT) tech model with industry-standard Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology, Transcend’s content is secure on the cloud server, hack-proof, and subjected to rigorous vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. The app is available on Android, iOS, and a web-based platform and offers a one-time purchase for lifetime access on up to two devices.

Furthermore, in a pioneering move, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust is the first publishing house to incorporate Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) into its digital and blockchain expansion. The Transcend NFT Marketplace, built on the Polygon blockchain, enables cryptocurrency users to purchase audio and e-book collections securely. This strategic move not only embraces technological advancements but also opens up a spiritual dimension to the growing community engaged in blockchain activities.

In an interview on Startup Central, Ananda Tirtha, the Transcend project head and COO of BBT-India, shared the inspiration behind the app. He highlighted the need to use technology for spiritual growth, making a conscious effort to transform how people engage with their spiritual side amid the distractions of modern life. Ananda Tirtha prabhu also shed light on the challenges faced during the app’s development, emphasizing the meticulous attention to detail in audio production, e-book formatting, and the overall technological infrastructure.

He explained the ISKCON BBT’s foray into NFTs as an inclusive move, aiming to include individuals invested in blockchain and cryptocurrency. By allowing users to purchase spiritual knowledge through NFTs, the Transcend app extends its reach to the three million active users on platforms like OpenSea, Rarible, Mintable, and SuperRare, leveraging the Polygon blockchain for faster transactions and reduced gas fees.

The impact of the app has reverberated across media platforms, garnering massive news coverage. Interviews with Sri Ananda Tirtha Prabhu were featured on two national Indian TV channels, providing a profound insight into the app’s visionary integration of spirituality and technology. Furthermore, the app received significant recognition, with a half-page article in the prestigious Economic Times. Its reach extended even further, with practically every newspaper, including an Urdu paper, picking up the story. This widespread coverage underscores the app’s profound significance and the universal appeal of its transformative offerings.

Transcend not only preserves the legacy of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada but also paves the way for a new era of spiritual engagement in the digital age. As the world continues to evolve, Transcend stands as a beacon, offering a transformative journey towards a higher life experience.

You can download the app on the Google Play Store, Apple’s App Store, or use a web-based platform. For all the details and videos highlighting the innovative features, visit the Transcend app website. You can also follow Transcend on their social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube

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