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Vanipedia to Translate Prabhupada’s Gita Introduction into 108 Languages

By: for ISKCON News on March 12, 2015
Photo Credits: www.spiritual-revolutionary.com

Srila Prabhupada giving lecture

As we near ISKCON’s 50th anniversary in 2016, we can look forward to celebrating many specific special dates in the society’s history.

On February 19th and 20th 1966, for example, ISKCON’s Founder-Acharya Srila Prabhupada spoke an introduction to his Bhagavad-gita As It Is over the space of two lectures.

Now, volunteers for Vanipedia.org, the dynamic online encyclopedia of Srila Prabhupada’s words (vani) are planning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of these talks by making the audio available on Youtube with subtitles in 108 plus languages by February 20th 2016.

Vanipedia manager Visnu Murti Das explains that the print edition of the Gita, in which Prabhupada’s spoken introduction appears, has only been translated into 59 languages so far.

“Compared to the Bible’s 520 languages,” he says, “We see that there is still a lot of scope for expansion.”

Twenty-four 8-minute audio clips of Srila Prabhupada’s 3 hour-and-12-minute spoken introduction have been matched with endearing slides of Srila Prabhupada to create videos and are already posted to Vanipedia’s Youtube channel with English subtitles. 

Now, volunteers in every corner of the world are busy translating the subtitles into their own language using the dotsub.com service, and many have already been completed. The first clip, for instance, already has subtitles in 35 languages, including Afrikaans, Amharic, Mongolian, Serbian, Swahili, Yoruba as well as many common European and Asian languages.

The experience of spending time with Srila Prabhupada by translating his teachings in this way, meanwhile, has profoundly affected the many devotees volunteering in their own homes.

“Translating these lectures on the 1966 Introduction to the Bhagavad-gita has been a very important experience in my spiritual life,” says Gauri Gopika Dasi from Brazil, who is translating in Portuguese. “It is a very personal service to Srila Prabhupada. With each video, I was living with him and he was talking to me, preaching to me, inviting me to take part in the Krishna consciousness movement and to bring others to it, in such a specially personal way.”

She adds, “The more we translate, the closer we feel to Srila Prabhupada; and the more we feel his guiding hand and hear him, the more he becomes alive through his teachings.”

The Bhagavad-gita introduction effort, however, is only part of a much larger Vanipedia project, “Uniting Srila Prabhupada’s Multilingual Family,” which aims to subtitle 1,080 Youtube clips of Prabhupada’s lectures, conversations, arrival addresses and morning walks in 108 languages.

Since its launch on Gaura Purnima in March 2013, all 1,080 audio clips have already been posted to Youtube with slides of Srila Prabhupada; and they are being translated, so far, into 77 languages by 290 volunteers all over the globe.

 It’s an important offering. Visnu Murti feels that hundreds of years from now, when people look back on Srila Prabhupada as a historical figure, hearing his voice will let them feel his presence and inspire them to read his books. 

“We, as devotees of ISKCON are so fortunate to have 2,500 hours of Srila Prabhupada’s audio,” he says. “Now the world has been introduced to Prabhupada’s books. But practically speaking, the world has not been introduced at all to Prabhupada’s voice yet.”

It’s clearly a project that would be close to Srila Prabhupada’s heart. “By printing these books of our Krsna Conscious philosophy in so many different languages,” he wrote to Hridayananda Das Goswami in 1974, “We can actually inject our movement into the masses of persons all over the world, especially there in the western countries and we can literally turn whole nations into Krsna Conscious nations.”

Srila Prabhupada often followed his guru’s lead in calling book distribution “The Brihat Mridanga,” or “the big drum.” Today, Visnu Murti says, grinning, “The Internet is the Brihat Brihat Brihat Brihat Brihat mridanga.”

“This platform for the distribution of knowledge is right in front of us,” he adds. “And Vanipedia is very interested in harnessing that energy to give Srila Prabhupada’s teachings an unparalleled platform.”

 * * * 

To see the Youtube clips of Srila Prabhupada’s introduction to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, please click here (The Gita introduction is in videos 1057 to 1080): http://vanimedia.org/wiki/Multi-language_Subtitle_Videos_1051_to_1080

To participate in translating Srila Prabhupada’s audio into your own language, please contact visnu.murti.vani@gmail.com 

To explore Prabhupada’s teachings, please visit vanipedia.org.

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