November 22, 2016

How to Access BRC's online catalog of scanned texts

1) From home page, click on "Library"

2) Click on "List of Scanned books"

You will come to a list of scanned books:

3) Select a title and click on "Read online"

4) Advance pages by using arrows in bottom right hand corner, shown here:

The entire book file may also be downloaded,

and easily shared on social media or through email:

November 14, 2016

Scholar Who Completed Research at BRC Publishes Comprehensive Survey of Recent Gaudiya Literature

Lucian Wong, an Oxford University scholar who has utilized BRC library resources for his research, has recently completed a comprehensive survey of recent critical literature pertaining to the study of the Gaudiya tradition, "Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Studies: Mapping the Field". This article appeared in an academic journal Religions of South Asia.

A mandala depicting all the principle devotees of the first generation of the Gaudiya community. It is referenced in the article mentioned above.

Mr. Wong had made numerous trips to the BRC the course of his PhD, which I began in 2010. "The BRC has proved an absolutely indispensable facility for my research, which centers on the life and writings of Bhaktivinod Thakur. The BRC is in fact something of a Mecca for those doing research on Bhaktivinod Thakur, Bhaktisidhanta Saraswati, and Vaiṣṇavism in colonial Bengal more broadly," he said.

Negotiating History in Colonial Bengal: Bhaktivinod's Kṛṣṇa-saṁhitā draws upon a number of sources  related to Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura that he had access to while at the BRC.  

As an undergraduate, Wong studied Western philosophy in London. His interest in the critical study of the Gaudiya tradition was prompted by visits to the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. 

He is currently in pursuit of his DPhil in Theology from University of Oxford. Along with Dr. Ferdinando Sardella (Stockholm University), he is conducting research on a project related to Bengali Vaishnavism in the Modern Period, which aims to map, collect, translate, and investigate material pertaining to the tradition from the mid mid-eighteenth to the mid- twentieth century. 

"I cannot stress enough how accommodating and helpful the staff at the BRC have been during my visits there. I must mention in particular Hari Sauri Prabhu, Acyuta Prabhu, and Bharati Didi, who have each in their own way greatly facilitated my research, for which I am exceedingly grateful."

Lucian Wong, University of Oxford

Here are some comments made by other research scholars throughout the years: 

Prof. Ashlin Aronin, Wesleyan Uni., CT:
"The Bhaktivedanta Research Library was an invaluable asset for my research. I wish I had known about it sooner!"

Prof. Ruby Sain, Yadavpur University:

"It is impossible to collect such treasure within such a short span of time...  This collection is indeed marvelous for future generations of India and other countries. I must congratulate all those who are working so hard to make this library vibrant."

November 5, 2016

Update From BRC Publications Department

Our publication department is in the foundation stages where we have set up the workflow and established priorities about what we will publish first. 

We are in the process of selecting qualified colonial Bengali translators, editors and proofreaders.  We're communicating with senior professors & scholars from well known Kolkata universities and scholastic Institutions. We have been working closely with them to set up our translating, editing & proofreading requirements.

We are very excited at BRC Publication to have access to these amazing books and manuscripts which we can now print and publish for the pleasure of our dear members and patrons.

We would also encourage our members to closely be a part of this amazing addition to BRC. Members can now donate towards the publication house and eternally become a part of each of our book productions. As Srila Prabhupada had said:

- submitted by Pushti Devi Dasi, BRC Publications Department

November 1, 2016

Manuscripts Mission Report, November, 2016

We are happy to report that BRC Manuscripts Mission Team successfully completed the huge task of identifying, cataloging and digitizing many important manuscripts in 3 different libraries of the Howrah district including Maju, Makardaha, and Mohiary Public Libraries.  

Maju public Library: 150 manuscripts were cataloged and 22 were digitized.

Makardaha Saraswat Library: 347 manuscripts cataloged, 40 digitized.

Mohiary Public Library: 461 manuscripts cataloged, 51 digitized.

Mohiwary Library

 Srimati Bharati Roy, BRC Librarian and Field Archivist sent this report:

"We have finished the cataloging and digitization work in the Mohiwari Library of Howrah. Here we have found many varieties of manuscripts and digitized many. Among the more rare and precious manuscripts were the Mahabharata by Kasiram dasa in Bengali (many parvas) and Candimangala of Kavikankana Mukundaram Cakravarti. We have never found these elsewhere in West Bengal."

Although the team is very anxious to continue their service in more libraries, BRC lacks the funds for them to continue. We need your help now! Every day one of a kind manuscripts are being lost– sometimes they are destroyed by neglect, or out of ignorance, those who don't know their value simply throw them away. Our team wants to do their best to preserve these for future generations of Vaisnavas and Vedic scholars. There is no time to waste. Please give today!

October 31, 2016

BRC Participates in International Open Access Week

BRC was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in Open Access Week this year from the 24-30 of October. Open Access Week is an event whose purpose is to bring awareness to the potential applications and benefits of Open Access to scholarship and research throughout the world.

BRC's participation is in line with our commitment to preservation and dissemination, Offering our digitized material freely to the public domain. The Open Access Movement supports the idea that research should be freely accessible online, at no cost to anyone.This free exchange of ideas facilitates more rapid advances in research of many kinds.

In only seven days, BRC scanned 2681 pages from 15 rare books and uploaded them, a truly amazing feat made possible to the dedication and commitment of our Head Librarian, Angelo Pugliese (Acyuta Dasa,) and L2C2 Technologies Consultant, Indranil Das Gupta.

October 24, 2016

A Request For Volunteers to Help With Cataloging

A fully searchable database is of utmost importance to a research library's purpose. It is essential to make our resources easily available for researchers. We have recently acquired over 3000 extremely rare academic journals on various topics within Indian Philosophy and Religion. The titles of the articles describe fascinating and obscure topics such as the first discussions on developing Roman script for Indian languages, for example.

Although BRC has only one scanner in our facility, our Head Librarian, Acyuta Das has innovated a second work station that utilizes a smart phone for potential volunteers to help with creating electronic image files. After the table of contents are scanned in these journals, OCR (optical corrector recognition) software will identify the text and convert it in such a way that we can make it part fo a searchable database.

In order to make any significant progress in our indexing, we need your help. Please contact Acyuta Prabhu, BRC Head Librarian at He will be happy to engage you in this service.

September 13, 2016

BRC Establishes Open Source Integrated Library System (Koha)

BRC staff is in the process of implementing some new technological guidance we've acquired with the great help of Koha expert, Indranil Das Gupta. After many trials and errors, we have finally worked out the optimal system for processing the digitization workflow for our rare book and manuscript project. We are using Koha ILS as both a catalog as well as their digital repository.
Koha is generally considered to be the first open source library automation system, and originated in 1999. ILS stands for open source integrated library systems. BRC is exploring cutting edge ways to implement Koha, innovating and testing new applications of this system.

An Overview of BRC's Process of Adding Files to the Digital Catalog

We wanted to provide a more detailed update about the processes involved from scanning texts to uploading to our digital catalog for those among you who are interested in tech-related details:

This illustration describes the steps in the process that are involved from generating the initial image from a scan or photo until we upload the file for reading and accessing from our digital database.

- compiled by BRC's Tech consultant, Indranil Das Gupta

September 5, 2016

Thanking Our Recent Donors, Late 2016

We humbly thank those who have so generously donated to BRC most recently: *
  • Ambarish Das, USA, $25,000.00 
  • Gopal Bhatta Das, USA, $2,500.00
  • Hridayananda das Goswami, $500.00
  • Cittahari das, Australia, $2,000.00 (AUD)
  • Yogesvara das, USA, $500.00 (AUD)
  • Janananda Goswami, $2,750.00 (AUD)
  • Urmila Devi Dasi, USA, $1000.00
  • Vasudev and Bhagavati, Fiji, $1100.00
  • Navin Krsna das, USA, $1,000.00
  • Balaramdesh Yatra, $2,500.00
  • Srivallabha das, Damodardesh, $1,000.00
  • Bhakti Charu Swami, $10,000.00 INR per month
  • BBT International, $2500.00
  • Madhusevita Das, Scotland, £6000.00

We strive to stay up to date on your latest contact information. If you have not heard from us for a while, we may not have your latest contact information. It is important for us to remember you and help you stay up to date and connected to our latest service activities. Please email Mahalakshmi Dasi, BRC Membership Coordinator. 

* Although we strive to keep good records and communications, occasionally we inadvertently leave someone off this list. Please notify us if we left you off and kindly accept our apology. 

July 25, 2016

The M.K. Goswami Family Continues Their Generosity

BRC continues to be extremely grateful to Sri M.K. Goswami and his wife, Srimati Priti Rekha Goswami of Bangalore for their donations of rare Vaisnava texts. In February of this year, they entrusted over 40 rare manuscripts to BRC. Their generosity continued this past May when they donated a rare and sought-afterl set of Srimad Bhagavatam, called the “Murshidabad Edition,” a publication that was sponsored by the then King of Tripura.

As previously mentioned, the Goswami family has the distinction of belonging to the 17th generation of Sri Advaitacharya's direct lineage. May their selflessness inspire other families to share their endangered sacred texts with BRC so that we can help make them available to future generations.

June 13, 2016

BRC Honored by Visit from His Grace Ravanari Prabhu

Born in Palestine, Ravanari prabhu joined ISKCON in 1973 in Germany. As a young devotee, he heard that it was Srila Prabhupad’s desire to have Bhagavad Gita translated into Arabic, so he began that service immediately. A couple of years later, he met Srila Prabhupada personally in Vrindavan during the opening of the Krishna Balaram Temple in 1975.
“I couldn’t believe Prabhupada wanted to meet me,” he said. “The effulgence coming from him made me speechless. I had no way to converse with him. I was completely awestruck.” “Why are you sitting so far away?” Prabhupada asked him when he entered his room for darshan. “Come closer. Sit next to me.” When Ravanari prabhu saw that Srila Prabhupada had a copy of his translation in his hands, he was overwhelmed. “Read me the translations,” Prabhupada asked. “But Prabhupada, it is in Arabic,” he responded. According to Ravanari Prabhu, Srila Prabhupad then began to recite the entire Arabic alphabet and started to read some of his translation work. Ravanari prabhu spent the entire morning in Prabhupada’s quarters reading out loud his translations while he listened attentively. At the conclusion of the reading, Prabhupada announced, “Print it. Learn how to transliterate the Sanskrit verses as well. Print it as soon as possible”. After this time, he ran a preaching center in Beirut, “in the middle of a military zone” where he was tortured and imprisoned along with Tribhuvanath Prabhu (Ireland,) Omkar Prabhu (Mexico,) and Padmapani Prabhu (Canada.) They were not fed for weeks and almost starved to death in a small cell. “The soldiers beat me only because they considered me a local and suspected me to be the leader of a spy mission,” he explained. “They kicked my head with their boots on and be at their guns into my skull. There was blood coming out of my eyes”. Later, while translating Prabhupada’s books in Cairo, his only son, Shyamasundar, contracted meningitis and left this world at the age of 3. “Somehow I had previously been inspired to bring him to Mayapur at a very young age. He went on parikram with me, took prasadam, and got a lot of blessings.” After this, he moved to Canada and spent his time translating every book of Srila Prabhupada into Arabic. “I took seasonal jobs. I’d work for a few months at a time and then live off that money. I sat and translated for months and then I’d get work again for another few months,” he explained. Ravanari Prabhu currently maintains a website where all of his Arabic translations of Srila Prabhpada’s books and lectures may be accessed: He now spends most of his time in Mayapur.

HG Ravanari Prabhu at BRC holding a copy of Arabic Bhagavad-Gita that he translated

June 9, 2016

BRC Receives Rare Urdu Bhagavad-Gita

On a recent visit to Mayapur, Hari Sauri Prabhu received a special gift for to the Research Library’s rare books catalogue, a century old Bhagavad Gita with translation and commentary in the Urdu language. It was kindly donated by Ravanari Prabhu, Srila Prabhupada’s first disciple from the Middle East. (Read more about him by clicking HERE).

Urdu is a Persian influenced language spoken primarily by Muslims in North India and Pakistan. It was originally published by a Pandit named Rai Bahadur Madan Dehlavi from Kashmir. 

The edition is replete with several beautiful illustrations, including many esoteric looking diagrams depicting various aspects of Vedic Cosmology annotated in both Sanskrit and Urdu. 

Our Head Librarian, Acyuta Prabhu, contacted a professor of Urdu language at the Univer-sity of Michigan who was provided with the scans. He informed us this edition was published in 1906. 

The first page of the book reads “Janaki Nath composes Persian couplets and quatrains (rubā’iyat) in order to recast the original content of the Gītā. Each verse is followed by Urdu commentary.” The translator added that the illustrations seemed to assign mystical significance to the number of verses found in each chapter. 

To our surprise, he pointed out there were actually two books within the binding, a practice common at that time. The second book, “The Devotion of Viṣṇu”, also composed in Urdu, was published in 1885 and authored by one Munshī Munna Lāl Ṣāheb. 

The Library staff commented how striking it is to hold in your hands old devotional Vaishnava texts written in the exotic cursive Arabic script. 

May 13, 2016

Laser Engraving Comes to BRC

BRC is happy to announce that a 2D laser engraver has been acquired. Engravings are produced directly from high-resolutions image of the originals, while the originals themselves are never manipulated in the process.

The adoption of this new technology in our library's conservation procedures will help expand the ways in which we preserve the original rare and delicate works in our collections. Through this method, we can make strong and lasting copies that may be shown in our library to guests, or in exhibitions to our patrons, members, and visitors.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's Signature, "Nityashrivad," bestowing eternal blessings
Maha Mantra in Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura's own handwriting

May 10, 2016

A Photo Collection in Remembrance of Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Gosvami's disappearance day

The BRC Manuscripts Mission Team visited Jhamatpur, the birthplace of Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Gosvami this year(2016.) Here are some photos:

The manuscript which is said to have been written in the Gosvami's own handwriting

Bhajan Kutir of Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Gosvami

Gopalji said to have been worshipped by him

deities with their pujari at Jhamatpur

remnants of the padukas of Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Gosvami

May 5, 2016

Sri Advaitacharya's Descendents Donate Rare Vaisnava Manuscripts to BRC

BRC was blessed recently by a generous donation of a very special collection of over 40 rare manuscripts. They were given by Sri M K Goswami family of Bangalore, originally from Shantipur. They are direct descendants from Sri Advaitacarya (17th generation.)

This donation of very precious and rare Vaisnava manuscripts included Govinda Lilamrita by Ragunath Bhatta Goswami, Padyavali of Rupa Goswami, Stavavali of Ragunath das Goswami, and complete manuscripts of Chaitanya Charitamrita on handmade paper. They are in good to excellent condition. 

The collection was gifted in memory of Sri Nanda Gopala Goswami and Nirmalya Rani Goswami, Mr. Goswami's revered parents. 

After a tour of the BRC facility and library, Mr. Goswami was extremely satisfied that he had made a good decision to place his manuscripts in our care. “A great spiritual feeling was accrued after visiting the library,” he wrote in the guest book.

Sriman M. K. Goswami and his wife, Srimati Priti Rekha Goswami

April 26, 2016

BRC Welcomes Eminent Guests

left: Hari Sauri Prabhu, Vaiyasaki Prabhu, Malati Devi Dasi, Srutirupa Dasi, Krsnarupa Dasi, and Visakha Dasi, Srila Prabhupad’s disciples. Rameshwar Prabhu, former head of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) also visited that day. He and Hari Sauri Prabhu are pictured below.

April 13, 2016

BRC Manuscripts Mission Visits Sri Vrindavan Dham

BRC Bengali librarian Bharati Roy and BRC Digitising specialist Asis Chakraborty spent a few weeks in Vrindavan searching out acquisitions for BRC’s collection at the end of 2015.

The BRC team is particularly grateful to Sanjay Goswami of Radha Madan Gopal Jiu Temple for his hospitality during their visit there, and for the access he provided to his personal collection. Many manuscripts were digitised and cataloged. 

Illustrated Koran found in Sanjay Goswami's collection, verified to be over 400 years old.

April 10, 2016

Manuscripts Mission Team Visits Ariadaha Association Library and Literary Club

In January 2016, the Manuscript Mission’s Team was invited to a century-old library in Kolkata at in Belgharia, near North 24 Parganas. The Ariadaha Association Library and Literary Club is next to a Sripat (dwelling place) of Raghunath Das Goswami. BRC cataloged, preserved, and digitised over 200 manuscripts there. 

Main entrance of library

The condition of manuscripts before BRC came

After BRC completed their service 

March 25, 2016

New Staff Introduction: Smt. Pushti Devi Dasi

Pushti Devi Dasi (Papiya Chatterjee) joined BRC in May. She is serving in both the Membership  Department and the Publications Department. 

Pushti joined the Iskcon movement in Kolkata in 1987. She served in Sri Sri Radha Govinda’s kitchen at the Kolkata temple for several years and later became the personal assistant of then temple president, Adiridaran Das. She gained a lot of experience during her service there –  organising membership/donations,maintaining correspondences, managing event planning, etc. 

After she married, she lived for many years in the US with her family and served in the New Dwarka in Los Angeles. She returned to India in 2010. 

She is very enthusiastic to serve at BRC. “I’m very excited about our upcoming publications and assisting with the Fund Raising program,” she said. “I look forward to learning a lot and adding to my experience.”

January 25, 2016

New Technology Advisor at BRC

Mr. Indranil Das Gupta of L2C2 Technologies has joined the BRC team as a consultant. He is a software architect and has been a Free and Open Source (FOSS) technology and is expert in Koha, the world’s first and also the largest Open Source Integrated Library Software.

He is working diligently along with BRC Librarian Angelo Pugliese (Acyuta Prabhu) to implement systems for our server to be able to upload huge amounts of content without crashing.

Currently, they are designing a framework for manuscripts; including a cataloging form where details are given (meta data) including title, author, and year to increase accessibility for consultation by scholars and library patrons online.

This manuscript framework is an entirely new contribution to library technology, and will be made available as open source to libraries worldwide that are using the Koha cataloging system. BRC is very pleased to be involved with such a exciting and cutting-edge project.