By Antony Brennan
As manager for a government department I use Internet services as a tool to develop new business processes. This requires me to spend some time looking at new internet developments and services.
As I have to keep up with internet developments for my work it is good to know I can look at Krishna related sites and see what they are up to as well. I often use the Internet to research Srila Prabhupada’s books and teachings. So I spend some amount of time each week surfing the search engines and other likely locations.
Whilst poking around one day on a devotee Internet forum, I came across a reference to a new web site called Vanipedia. I was attracted straight away by the name and wanted to find out more about it. The forum message explained Vanipedia was a new development which would provide access to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and that interested people should email Visnu Murti dasa from Bhaktivedanta Library Services
(BLS) to offer assistance in developing the site.
‘Well I am interested already,’ I thought to myself. ‘I can’t write computer code, I can’t work out computer network and I am also far, far away, beyond South East Asia, in Australia, a long way from Europe where this project is going on. But I can research and report and write.’ I sent an email to Visnu Murti das asking for more information. It read ‘I am wondering if there is any assistance I can give toward your project please let me know. I can read, research and write in English.’
I thought perhaps I wouldn’t hear back because they must be looking for some real hardcore computer skills. But then an email arrived which read as follows: ‘We need writers to make articles, and researchers to compile. As you fulfil both requirements, we are very thankful that you want to be a part of our team.’
Through this email, and further emails I received, the Vani-servants I communicated with told me more about the vision for Vanipedia. The Vani-vision I call it. It goes like this:
They tell me Vanipedia will be an online encyclopedia of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. Currently under development, it will be a dynamic resource for devotees and a vast library of Vedic knowledge available to anyone with internet access. They say it will contain a reference and index facility that allows you to easily find information based on the subject you are looking for. Containing text, audio and video, Vanipedia has the potential to become the ultimate on-line reference site for Srila Prabhupada Vani.
The first two areas being developed are Vanisource and Vaniquotes. Vanisource contains all of Srila Prabhpada’s books, and Vaniquotes will be a comprehensive compilation of the themes found throughout Srila Prahupada’s work. At the moment there are headings for 3,000 articles at Vanipedia and they won’t rest until there are 100,000.
They tell me launching time is for Gaura Purnima and they are getting things ready for engaging volunteers in the first wave of service. If you are interested in providing some Vani-service, or just in finding out more, I recommend you contact Visnu Murti das at firstname.lastname@example.org.