"Whatever you have learned, you try to expand in English language."
(Hari Sauri Das, Transcendental Diary, Vol. I, p. 366 - Srila Prabhupada quotes his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Maharaja)
"My dear Subhananda Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances. I have been instructed by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada to reply your letter dated June 7th, 1977.
His Divine Grace was very pleased to hear your proposal for systematically amassing a subject by subject encyclopedic compilation of all of Srila Prabhupada's teachings and instructions as found in his books. Srila Prabhupada said that he knows that you are a scholarly devotee and are just fit for doing this job. He said, "It is a very welcome suggestion."
(Tamal Krishna Goswami, letter to Subhananda das; quoted in Sri Namamrta - The Nectar of the Holy Name, Preface)
Site historyHere you can see the phases of VEDA's development from its beginning.
The original idea of Vedic Encyclopedia, the first and main part of VEDA, came from my friend Varnadi in 1998, while we served together in NE-BBT headquarters. It was planned as a part of iskcon.org, the main ISKCON site, which he partially designed and maintained since 1994. Although Krsna had other plan, I still decided to follow up on it and collect any interesting material from sources like books, acaryas' commentaries, articles, dictionaries, encyclopedias, travel guides, discussion groups, correspondence, etc.
For main assistance I'm indebted to three of my friends: Vaishampayana - Java applets programming and teaching me html basics, Ekanath - sastric resources, acaryas' commentaries, Puranic tables for SB-persons applet, and Varnadi - general encouragement and resources for units-applet.
At the end of 1998, when the material was gathered, sorted and edited, including the Samsara ("Planetarium") section, family obligations forced me to return to CZ and stay there. The project remained on a back-burner but I never stopped looking for a way to put it online as a part of greater project. It did not work with ISKCON Czech Republic website neither with the website of ISKCON Communications Europe. Having all that material which no one could see was frustrating. It occurred to me that it will have to become a stand-alone project. "The most reliable way to have something done is to do it oneself."
So I got in touch with bh. Jirka "babaji" (now Yadukulesvara dasa) who in a short time became pretty good webdesigner and in March 2001 the site was up due to his efforts and free hosting at his boss's server. From the fall 2001 to 2010 we were hosted at our friend's server (thanks, Dharma) and since 2010 we're hosted at Yadukulesvara P.'s own server space.
2001-2: After one year of existence we prepared a major update.
2002-3: Added was a page with list of interesting books you can order from Amazon.com.
2003-4: We are starting a fourth year of existence, continuing to grow, both by content (though slowlier then before as the main structure is already covered) and by traffic, and enjoy the visitors's feedback. We also just started a new project, a tribute to A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Sri Vrindavan-dham, transcendental abode of Sri Krishna, under the auspices of HH Kadamba Kanana Swami. With his help we hope to gradually get more devotees involved.
2004-5: Section Connections was finally added to VEDA. Since September bh. Jirka lives in Sri Vrindavan-dham and among other service made a new website for ISKCON Vrindavan's Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala. In early October a DNS change unfortunately caused many broken links and losing a good position in search engines. Fortunately, everything went back to normal in a few days.
2005-6: VEDA is five years old! Updates are continuous although rather minor. In February bh. Jirka was initiated as Yadukulesvara dasa by HH Kadamba Kanana Swami - congratulations!
2006-7: We have added Quiz and constantly improve the articles adding facts and links. Czech Encyclopedia sections now has translations of most Vaisnava Upanisads and the rest will be added asap.
2008-9: No major changes. Updating and broadening references and resources.
September: A positive review in BTG 09/10 issue. Italian version
January: Our Amazon Affiliate payment went to Sastradana.cz
2009-2010: An increase of link exchange requests but only a handful qualify. Also increasingly is our content found on other sites, sometimes in large amount and often without linking back. We understand that the quality content is not easy to create but this approach is not appreciated, sorry. Link back is the minimum one can do.
2010-2011: Sastra quoting script added to the main page.
2011-2012: March 2011 - 10 year anniversary! Just two months after Wikipedia (now having over 90 of our links). Hoping to remain online for many years to come. Thanks for all your support and letters.
2012-2013: March 2012 - Beginning from our 11th year I'll publish my articles under CC license (http://creativecommons.org/).
Kindly let me share a little thought related to words of Sri Caitanya "My name will be preached in every town and village" (sarvatra sancara hoibek mora nama). Usual understanding of this statement is that devotees will physically come to and chant in every small settlement worldwide, local people will become devotees etc. But what if this is only the aftermath? What if it has in one sense already happened through modern communication media which bring the Lord's name everywhere, spiritualizing the ether? And since from the subtle comes the tangible and Srila Prabhupada translates the Bengali word sancara (Harvard-Kyoto: saJcAra) as 'the advent, appearance, growing', it's the beginning of the worldwide spread of Krsna bhakti.
I'm happy that our website is part of this epochal undertaking, being just two months younger than Wikipedia (of which I heard only about three years later). I don't think it's a coincindence.
May 12: adding PayPal and Flattr. We'll remain ad-free and FB-free.
end of year: translating shorter traditional GV texts to Czech under CC-BY-NC license (see the Czech section).
2013-2014: planning to continue translating further traditional GV texts to Czech. Suggestions welcome.
The Bhakti-yoga section, a comprehensive (theory plus practice) introductory Vaisnava guide for seekers and new aspirants, is making use of material for the PR journal project from 1999 with additional info in question-answer format. They are real questions asked by real people at iskcon.org and our site.
The Vedic Encyclopedia section is described above. The entries selection tries to cover topics and questions devotees ask while studying Vaisnava sastras. Aside from Srila Prabhupada's books and some other important Vaisnava scriptures this is what I learned till now. In harmony with the above instruction I seek to share it. This is also the idea of free encyclopedias, emulating the idea of free open source software, which appeared in recent times and grow in popularity. (On the other hand, famous Britannica made their contents available only on paid basis so we don't link to it anymore.)
The Library section contains mainly unique material (unavailable online anywhere else) including biographies of Vaisnava acaryas and devotees and various study guides and seminars. For easier orientation it is split into topical sections.
Links page lists a wide array of links to interesting sites and pages. We don't automatically endorse all info in all these sources but after reading the rest of VEDA one should be able to discriminate. Also helpful in this regard are these resources.
Our articles include the name of author and other available references. If there is no name, the author is either me (bh. Jan, JanM) or unknown. Missing data in some articles makes them unusable for academics but general readers still benefit. You are welcome to use our material on your site but please add a link to its original place.
Site promo and PR
VEDA is non-profit and we neither accept banners nor pay for being advertised. We are open to link exchange with quality sites though. For more info on link exchange see contact.
We did quite a lot of promotion and SEO and got linked from many quality sites without paying a cent. Google search result placements (ranks) for words "veda", "vedas", "vedic" range in top 20. Main page's Google Page Rank is 4.
Our wish to make VEDA an outstanding Vedic Vaisnava resource for everyone from
random surfers, students, devotees to scholars is achieving a concrete shape
by a significant growth of visitors and contents:
2001 (April - beginning) 20 visitors per day
January 2002 54
January 2003 201
January 2004 309
January 2005 524
January 2006 800 (approximately, as our stats was merged with www.harekrsna.cz)
December 2006: stats by StatCounter.com and Alexa
site value 1 $3,254
site value 2 $7,478
We are listed among the Top reference related websites by number of links from Wikipedia. (up-to-date listing)
The cooperation with other ISKCON-related organizations and projects did happen mainly (and only) by link exchange. Bhaktivedanta Archives expressed a desire to put a link to our SB-persons applet into their upcoming version of Vedabase 2003 but it didn't happen.
We are getting practically only positive feedback and sometimes very interesting questions. We encourage a thorough study of Vaisnava scriptures which this site is not intended to replace.
I like your site. How can I co-operate?
Your offer is welcome and appreciated. As polls show
only a tiny minority of people online are actually content providers (aka 90-9-1-principle). This is a symptom of their pro-active (opposite to reactive) nature.
Please let us know a bit about yourself - your background, education, theoretical/practical acquaintance with Vedic culture, etc. How much time you have? Are you a native English speaker? Do you have sastras (esp. editions with verse index) at home? Access to uni libraries in the West/India?...
Here is a "to do" list (starting with more time-consuming things):
- Translating articles to other languages, esp. major ones like Spanish, Hindi, Chinese. We got repeated requests.
- Checking references (other than BG and SB; mainly in Puranas) and finding new ones.
- Suggesting new topics and writing articles to cover them.
- Looking for factual errors, typos (spell-checking), etc. and suggesting improvements.
- Promoting the site on other sites ("add url" forms), blogs and discussion forums (by linking to relevant content, not as a spam), etc., keeping the referring sites list.
- Suggesting relevant quality content on other sites (to link to it).
- Any other ideas? Please contact us.
I consider your site valuable. How can I support you?
Our service is voluntary but you can contribute thru PayPal or Flattr (see bottom of main page).
Another way is by buying books thru our Amazon.com account. The downside in this case is that banks take a large portion of the money for themselves.
If you wish to contribute to ISKCON's activities, this project we consider the most worthy: Sastra Dana (Czech Republic branch).
We pray that Sri Sri Gandharvika-Giridhari, Sri Sri Gauranga-Nityananda, Sri Guru parampara and Vaisnava sanga continue to bless us and become satisfied with our humble efforts to be an useful online part of the growing sankirtana movement.
Thank you for your visits, feedback and blessings.
Your webservants, Yadukulesvara dasa, webmaster & programmer, and bh. Jan, webmaster, Prague, Czech Republic
Very short history of internet preaching in ISKCON
Vedabase about internet
Internet Preaching by Srila Prabhupada
VEDA feedback from readers
Vzpomínka na kapucína Václava Anselma Špačka (můj prastrýc)
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