Vanipedia Launches a Multi-language Subtitle
Project of Srila Prabhupada's Lectures


May 14, 2013 — CANADA (SUN) — The Sampradaya Sun recently conducted an interview with Visnu Murti das from Vanipedia, asking a series of questions about the project. His replies will undoubtedly inspire our readers. [Please also see the update article of July 21, 2013: Uniting Srila Prabhupada's Multi-lingual Family]

Sun Staff: Can you please tell us a little about this new project that you are working on in Vanipedia?

Visnu Murti: The multi-language subtitle project "Prabhupada Speaks" is really a dynamic way to feel the presence of Srila Prabhupada. We can hear him, see him and also offer some direct service to him by preparing his words to be understood by people of all languages.

Our goal is to eradicate the barrier of people not being able to hear Srila Prabhupada because they do not speak English. As we are using YouTube as our platform of presentation, the possibilities of distribution are large. Srila Prabhupada's books have been distributed on mass scale for many years, but very few people have directly heard Srila Prabhupada's voice. This multi-language subtitle project is aimed at mass-distributing Srila Prabhupada's voice to the world. As devotees, we understand the importance of "hearing". There is no better person to hear from than Srila Prabhupada.

SS: How do you anticipate devotees using this repository?

VM: Well, in 1970, just after the GBC was newly formed, they encountered their first challenge. At that time Srila Prabhupada wrote to one of the GBCs: "My oral instruction as well as my books are all at your service. Now you GBC consult them and get clear and strong idea, then there will be no disturbance. Disturbance is caused by ignorance; where there is no ignorance, there is no disturbance." The words of Srila Prabhupada are there for all of us to destroy the ignorance that is within and around us. Srila Prabhupada gives us the answers to qualify ourselves to become his competent followers to be able to fully live, share and defend his teachings. Thus a repository of Srila Prabhupada's words in such a publicly accessible format as YouTube will surely help the devotees to feel sheltered by Srila Prabhupada's pure sound vibration.

Devotees can relish these videos for their own individual enlightenment, embed them into their own websites and blogs, use them for their seminars and lectures, and share the links with their friends and people who are new to Krishna consciousness. The added facility of having them available in all languages offers many possibilities. There are so many ways to "enjoy in servitude" the words of Srila Prabhupada. He consciously labored so hard to leave us the legacy of his Vani for all of us to enjoy generationally.

"You European, American students, you take full advantage of this Vedic culture. I am therefore so much laboring hard that before my leaving this body, I may give you some books who you can enjoy after my death. So utilize it. Utilize it. Read every śloka nicely, try to understand the meaning, discuss amongst yourselves."

SS: How do you choose the content of the clips?

VM: The devotees at Vanipedia have been thematically categorising the texts of Srila Prabhupada's teachings for the last 6 years within the Vaniquotes petal, so we have lots to choose from. As we have full faith in everything that Srila Prabhupada says it is not difficult to choose some nectarine statements. However, there are quite a few quotes that we want to include in this series but cannot, as the Bhaktivedanta Archives have yet to release the audio.

SS: Can devotees suggest their favourite quotes as well?

VM: Oh yes, we will be very happy to upload the favourite quotes of any devotee.

SS: Can you explain a little how you prepare a video?

We start by creating an audio clip of a lecture or conversation from a Vaniquotes page and then we make a video of Srila Prabhupada's photos, give it a short title, and create the English subtitles. The video is then uploaded to, a subtitling website that allows translators to easily create subtitles in their own languages. Dotsub automatically syncs these subtitles to our Vanimedia YouTube channel.

SS: How many clips will you make?

VM: Vanipedia is committed to make at least 1,080 clips. The clips are from 1 to 10 minutes long. We can imagine the power of delivery to have such a large repository of Srila Prabhupada's words in one place, available in multiple languages. We plan to have all of the 1,080 clips up by Srila Prabhupada's Vyasa Puja in 2014. These clips will have the English subtitles prepared by a core team. The real victory though, will be to have them all translated into 50+ languages by devotees around the world by the same time. Actually, this is not so difficult to do as before our official launch there are already committed devotees from Belgium, Bengal, Bulgaria, Czech, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Russia who are translating regularly. As we prepare them in English they translate them. Already there are over 50 videos on Dotsub and YouTube and as the translating teams grow the subtitling can go really fast.

SS: Why have you decided to have only short clips and not the full classes of Srila Prabhupada?

VM: That's a good question. You know, it is not easy to have people on the Internet listen to a lecture of 45 to 60 minutes, so we decided to make short clips which are much more in line with how content is being shared on the web these days. In 4 or 5 minutes, Srila Prabhupada already delivers so much and over time, some people will surely become attracted to hear the full classes of Srila Prabhupada and they will also be able to do this in Vanimedia. If this short clip project is a success, then we can also translate the full lectures as well.

SS: How long does it take to translate the subtitles for one clip?

VM: Very quick, in only ½ an hour to an hour a video can be subtitled. The process is really simple and sublime. It is simple because of the technology used, and sublime because we are subtitling Srila Prabhupada's words.

SS: So how do people get engaged?

VM: If someone wants to do this vaniseva it is easy. This link explains the project and inside the link is the step-by-step process for using Dotsub.

Starting Your Seva

And if there are devotees who can help with the creation of the audio and video clips that would be great as well. All queries can be directed to

SS: What motivates you to do all these different projects within Vanipedia?

VM: My understanding is that it is not very easy to stay alive when we are dead, and for devotees of our caliber there is no need to try. We do a little service and then move on. There is no real loss to the world if we are lost within the corridors of time. But for a devotee of the caliber of Srila Prabhupada who has been chosen by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be the world Acarya of Krsna consciousness, then it is paramount that he stays alive while no longer physically present. There will be a substantial loss to the world if he gets forgotten within the corridors of time. How to keep Srila Prabhupada alive? This is our constant thought. We know he lives within his teachings and thus we are inspired to develop many creative ways to present the full glory of those teachings to the world. Prabhupada started to manifest his eternal presence within this world by writing his books. And along with the help of other modern technologies we can continue to help Srila Prabhupada manifest more and more. Dedicated followers will keep him alive throughout the generations and thus we are motivated to collaborate together with other like-minded devotees to build an unparalleled manifestation of Srila Prabhupada's teachings for the benefit of ALL.

SS: What message do you have for the readers of the Sampradaya Sun?

I request everyone who speaks and writes a language other than English to try to translate at least one video and be the judge if it is a nice experience for them. And also to share this project very liberally with others so that the maximum number of people can find out about it as quickly as possible. Modern technology makes devotional service very exciting, as with little effort from many people cooperating together, a lot can be achieved in a short period of time. This multi-language subtitle project from Vanipedia is another example of just that. facilitates 508 languages - imagine having Srila Prabhupada's classes in so many languages. Prabhupada would be so happy to see these kinds of preaching opportunities and would surely push us to be inspired to rise to the challenge to achieve a lot in a little time. At Vanipedia we love to feel pushed by the sweet hands of Srila Prabhupada, and we love to help others be pushed as well.

Here is an appreciation from one of the devotees translating - Revati devi dasi from Germany:

    "So, in order to translate one has to penetrate very deeply into the subject matter, otherwise the result will not be understandable for others. And this absorption is connecting me - to Srila Prabhupada, to Lord Caitanya's mission and to Krsna Himself. And immediately some new ideas are coming – about how to use what I read, what I learn, what I understand on a deeper (or higher) level in preaching. That's what I like most, when I am translating, this feeling of being connected. Sometimes it's not easy. The translation must be correct, but on the other hand understandable. And sometimes it is even difficult to understand what Srila Prabhupada wanted to say. But then, when I really don't know at all how to do it – then suddenly, the inspiration is there. Not just which words to use to create the proper text, but also the deeper understanding, what Srila Prabhupada wanted to say. And that's not just on an intellectual level. In these moments I feel the connection is there, I just have to be open to receive help."

So our message to the readers of the Sampradaya Sun is "let's all get connected" more and more to the teachings of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Krsna Claims That 'I Am Everyone's Father'

For further information, please read Vanipedia Project.


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