“Mission for Manuscripts”
…continued in April with a second foray into the mathas and libraries of West Bengal. All told our intrepid team of Smt. Bharati Roy and photographer Ashish visited another eight repositories and photographed a further 81 manuscripts, making a total of 200+ so far.
Here’s a few highlights:
Sripat of Srila Rasikananda — April 5, 2011
We visited the Sripat (asrama) of Srila Rasikananda Prabhu at Gopiballabhpur in Midnapur. There is a beautiful temple with a repository of all the Goswami literatures. This place is about 400 years old.
Srila Rasikananda was one of the most prominent followers of the Six Goswamis and a contemporary of Srila Shyamananda. His Sripat has a set of his footprints, melted into the rock.
The current Mahanta there is Sri Krsna Kesava Dev Goswami, who comes in direct disciplic succession from Rasikananda.
He is very friendly and gave our team access to all their manuscripts:
- Govinda Virudavali
- Gitagovinda by Jayadeva
- Radhika Sahasranama
- Alamkarakaustubha by kavi Karnapura
- Gopala Campu by Jiva Gosvami
- Govinda Lilamrta by Jiva Gosvami
- Uddhava sandesa by Rupa Gosvami
- Caitanya candramrta by Pravodhananda Sarasvati
- Tattva Sandarbha by Jiva Gosvami
- Gitavali by Rupa Gosvami
- Vaisnava Vandana by Daivakinandana
- Pramabhakticandrika by Narottama Thakura.
Apart from the digital access, an actual manuscript copy on handmade paper of Caitanya Chandramrta by Srila Prabhodananda Sarasvati was presented to the BRC.
April 8th our team went to the Phulia Shantipur Museum where the library has 11,000 books along with the works of Sri Krittivas who was the celebrated translator of Ramayana into Bengali. He was a contemporary of Kasiram dasa who did a similar translation of the Mahabharata, and Jayadeva Goswami the famous Vaisnava poet. There we took photos of various paintings depicting the Ramayana.
Krishnanagar Public Library — April 2–3
The secretary there is Deba Babu and he gave full access to their manuscripts library. In reciprocation Bharati returned on April 18 and presented a set of Srila Prabhupada’s books to their general library.
April 3rd – A visit to an extensive private museum in Krishnanagar that was established by the late Sri Mohit Roy was also fruitful. Thousands of artifacts are on display. One old newspaper, Hicky’s Bengal Gazette, dates back to 1780. They also have an extensive library of manuscripts and literature.
Sri Monami Roy and his mother are the current custodians of his father’s legacy and they were happy to give us full access for digital copying.
The Sudarsanlala Mandir in Navadwip has an extensive collection of printed works by the Six Goswamis and their followers. The Mahanta there, Sri Bhagavat dasa allowed us to photograph sixteen books, and he also presented us with a manuscripts of the Skanda Purana which is now on display in the BRC library (seen here next to a photo of the Sudarsanlal Deity)
Other notable places visited were:
The Dwijendra Pathagar, Krishnanagar, the place of the great poet Dwijendralal Roy who wrote Dhana Dhanye Puspe Bhara and Vande Mataram, two famous songs which are used as popular anthems of India. This is an old library and the librarian Mr. Apurva Kundu allowed us to photograph eleven manuscripts here.
- Bally Sadharan Granthagar Howrah District — 7 manuscripts;
- Chandannagar Pustakagar Hoogli District — 2 manuscripts;
- Vasanti Durga temple, Baharampur in Murshidabad District — two books;
The house of Mahaprabhu’s teacher Gangadasa Pandit in Vidyanagar, Bardhaman, and the Sripat of Vasudeva and Mukunda Datta in Mamgachi, Bardhaman, failed to yield any books or manuscripts.
Another field trip within West Bengal is planned for the near future and then we will begin to look further afield in Bangladesh.
We are very happy to report that response to our membership drive was quite strong, especially from the powerpoint presentations made by our Director Hari-sauri dasa on his recent tour to Malaysia and Australia. We would sincerely like to thank the following devotees who provide much needed support and encouragement from their hard earned funds:
|Patron Member:||Sri Arjan Tuli
Arjan prabhu is our fourth patron member.
A special mention is due here to Arjan prabhu. Even without seeing the details of the program, upon just hearing a brief two minute description, he spontaneously came forward with his cash donation. He was inspired from within by Lord Krishna to offer his support from his retirement funds and we pray to Sri Sri Radha Ballabha to bless this nice devotee and his good wife with Their eternal service and love.
|Nitya Sevaks:||Sri Ananda Jagannath Das||USA||$1/day|
|Vijaya Krishna Reddy||Gold Coast||$1/day|
|Yearly Membership:||Harinamcharan dasa||Brisbane||$501.00|
|Devendra Gaudel||Melbourne||$501.00||(sorry no photo as yet)|
|Special Donors:||Ekatma Madhava dasa
We are grateful to Ekatma Madhava prabhu who followed the example of his Guru Maharaja Jayapataka Swami and gave one lakh rupees.
|Sakhi Rai dasa||Brisbane||$400.00|
|Prahlada Bhakta dasa||Ireland||$300.00|
|Govinda Mohini dasi||Sydney||$270.00|
|Dr. Rajkumar Buyya, Radha, Soumya and Smrithia||Melbourne||$1,000.00|
|Rasika Chandra dasa||Melbourne||Rs. 25,000.00|
|Miscellaneous Donations:||BBT Malaysia||$100.00|
|Brisbane – Gold Coast – New Govardhan Kirtan Abhaya||$50.00|
|Advaita Acarya dasa||$100.00|
|Derrimut Bhakti Vrksa Group||Melbourne||$200.00|
My apologies to anyone who has made a contribution in the last quarter but is not mentioned here. Kindly inform me so that I can add your name to the next newsletter.
We have a long standing aim to establish a translation division which will feed an active publishing imprint. While we are still a ways from that, we did make a start in May-June by hosting a young Sanskrit scholar, Bhakta Vinit.
Vinit has been studying at the Govardhan Sanskrit college under Sriman Gopiparanadhana prabhu, and wrote asking if he could stay at the BRC for his summer break. We were very pleased to provide a room and he worked under direction of our two academic directors Pranava and Krishna Abhisek prabhus. He translated the Mani-manjari, an important book of the Madhva Sampradaya that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura personally edited and published.
We intend to publish this work at the end of this year. Meanwhile Vinit has returned to his studies at Govardhan and will complete his course in October. We hope then to persuade him to join our BRC team on a full time basis.
Website and Computers
After a long struggle we are nearing sight of launching our website. (I haven’t given the name yet because there isn’t anything yet to see). We have been working diligently to fine tune the catalogues of the books and the digital manuscript images. Our webmaster is Phanisvara dasa, a long term resident of Sri Mayapur. He
has just set up the server connections so that they can be operated remotely and now our big push is on to get the digital library online. I hope when the next newsletter is produced you will be able to view it online.
That’s it for the second quarter; we hope you feel as enthusiastic as we do for the BRC programs and we hope to serve you into the future. If you or your friends wish to contribute to the BRC it would be very much appreciated. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for details how to become a member.
Your humble servant,