Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New releases from the Bhaktivedanta Archives

November 6, 2013

The VedaBase® 2013 update and the
original Śrīla Prabhupāda audio for 1976

On November 6, the disappearance day of

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, 
the Bhaktivedanta Archives offers two new
releases: the VedaBase 2013 update and the
original audio of Srila Prabhupada for 1976.

The VedaBase update
   The VedaBase update includes:
  • A.      Reverified versions of all the Śrīla Prabhupāda audio for 1976 (While preparing the original audio files for release, we double-checked the accuracy of the transcriptions.)
  • B.      Textual corrections made since last year’s update (For example, we’ve fixed spelling errors, incorrect or missing words, and wrong or missing dates.) 

Newly included books:
·                     Rādhā-Dāmodara Vilāsa II, the Inner Life of Vishnujana Swami & Jayānanda Prabhu by Vaiyāsaki Dāsa
·                     Our Śrīla Prabhupāda: A Friend to All by Mūlaprakṛti Devī Dāsī
·                     Prabhupāda Antya-Līlā: The Final Pastimes of Śrīla Prabhupāda by Tamāl Krishna Goswami
·                     A 20-book collection of writings by Bhakti-tīrtha Swami
·                     Kṛṣṇa, Israel, and the Druze: An Interreligious Odyssey by Dhīra Govinda Dāsa
·                     Motorcycle Yoga: Meditative Rides Through India by Patita Pāvana Dāsa Adhikārī

   If you already own the “Folio” Bhaktivedanta VedaBase® software version 2003.1, this update is free. And future NFO releases will be free as well.

Please download VB2013 from here: 
The 1976 audio

The 1976 original audio gives you our full audio collection of recordings of Śrīla Prabhupāda from 1976 in MP3 format. That’s 340 hours
(703 audio files, totaling 17Gb).
  1. ·         At no cost, you can listen to these files online or download them, one by one, from Prabhupadavani.org. http://www.prabhupadavani.org/audio/BA/1976/
  2. ·         Or else for $50, including shipping and handling, on 4 DVD-ROM’s. To request a set, contact: ekanatha@prabhupada.com or go to our PayPal donation page: http://prabhupada.com/Donations/Donations.html
  3. ·         You can also obtain the files on a convenient USB flash drive, contact Krishna.com: store@krishna.com (1-800-800-3284).


   A lot of work goes into releasing a year’s audio. First we have to transfer and or fidelity check the original tape recordings to digital files. The tapes are old and sometimes brittle and fragile. So this can be a delicate and tedious operation, involving such techniques as baking a tape (yes, literally baking it). We transcribe each tape. And then we have to sort out what each recording consists of.

   Not all the tapes in our collection are originals. Some are duplicates. And some are hybrids, made by devotees who spliced and merged different recordings together. Often the original reels or cassettes are poorly labeled, wrongly labeled or not labeled at all. So we frequently have to go through several steps to determine which recordings are “real” originals.

   We proofread and correct the transcription. We check the date and place for each recording. (This often involves detective work.) And finally we convert the master recording from BWF (broadcast wave format) to MP3 for your use and add tags.

   And then you have a year’s audio: playable, transcribed, and authenticated.
We release everything we have. Nothing is censored out or cut.

   Our next release will be for the year 1975, then 1974, and so on until 1966.
This is what goes into our continued commitment to making all the recordings of Srila Prabhupada available in a true and reliable form.

   With Special Thanks to our volunteers and submission authors.

The Bhaktivedanta Archives staff
Parama-rūpa Dāsa
Nitya-tṛptā Devī Dāsī
Ekanātha Dāsa

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

April 2013

Blog post April 2013

How to make safe your important digital files.
This blog post is in response to questions we sometimes get asked about backups and long-term digital files. Below is an introduction that cover’s in broad terms the do’s and don’ts for the average person and archival environment alike.

The 3-2-1 Rule
The simplest way to remember how to back up your digital files safely is to use the 3-2-1 rule.
It is recommend keeping 3 copies of any important file (a primary and two backups)

It is recommend having the files on 2 different media types (such as hard drive and optical media), to protect against different types of hazards.

1 copy should be stored offsite (or if not practical for you then at least offline).

While 3-2-1storage is an excellent solution, it's not always possible or practical. A second media type, for instance, is impractical for many people. In these cases, many people make do with hard-drive-only copies of their data. Best practices, still require 3 copies and some physical separation between the copies and remember to migrate data to new drives or new technology as finances allow. Hard drives, especially lower quality ones have a bad track record of failing just sitting around on a shelf somewhere. So check them periodically.
Device failure
Malicious damage
Transfer corruption
Lightning strike/Voltage surge
Fire or water damage
Human error

In order to plan a backup system that works for you, it’s important to understand the kinds of complications that can lead to data loss. Below are some of the dangers that threaten your data’s well being and what can be done to alleviate it.
Any digital storage device can fail. Hard drives fail all the time, and even a multi-drive system can fall off a table and be destroyed. In order to provide real backup, a backup copy of the data needs to be on a separate device, such as an external drive or different media like optical disc.
Viruses can propagate silently from one storage device to another, and then strike to destroy data. All rewritable data is potentially vulnerable to viruses (even on MAC), so any hard drive data is at risk. So keep your anti virus software current.
Your data can be exposed to other malicious damage, either from anonymous hackers or perhaps from people targeting you personally. Any computer that is online is theoretically vulnerable to hackers, although an enterprise-level firewall can offer lots of protection. The best protection is offline, and preferably offsite.
While this issue is extremely low for well-maintained systems it is still worth mentioning and being aware of. Any time data is transferred from one device to another; there is a possibility of corruption. This can be because of problems with the RAM, drive, connectors, network, or cables. The best protection against transfer corruption is to transfer files with a utility that performs a validated transfer.
Excess voltage from a lightning strike or a blown power company transformer can fry your computer in a heartbeat. A surge protector might protect your computer from damage caused by this excess voltage, but provides no real guarantee of protection. The best protection is provided by the use of off-site, or at least off-line backups.
Yes this is the oldest issue with any information stored or held by an individual or corporation. Protection against a thief includes security measures such as an alarms or a safe, or once again with offsite secure storage.
All digital media can be destroyed by fire or water damage. But unlike a film archive, it’s possible to make a complete offsite duplicate of your digital archive for very little money, and therefore be fully protected.
One of the most common causes of data loss is simple human error. You can accidentally throw away or unintentionally modify files in some undesirable way. Think twice or maybe thrice before deleting, modifying files. Most people are not tech savvy enough to retrieve deleted files. There are companies that specialize in data recovery but they are expensive and it is not always guaranteed. Off-line off site backups that don't get updated immediately are a valuable part of protection against human error.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 2013 - What is an archive?

We are often asked “what is an archive” or “why have an archive” and “why don’t you have this or that”? Like most things in this world it is never a black and white answer. Lets look at these questions in brief and how the Bhaktivedanta Archives fits into them.

What is an Archive?

“In its most common form it can be described as… Materials that have been created by individuals, groups or organizations during the course of their life or work and deemed to be worth keeping permanently as evidence of their activities, or kept because of the long-term importance of the information they contain. Some examples of archive material:- letters- diaries- certificates- photographs- plans- publications- reports- working papers”.

“However, the word 'archives' is used for so many different things, and varied definitions. 'Archives' is sometimes used simply for materials that are stored, such as a back-up. You may also hear the term 'manuscripts' used to refer to the papers of individuals or families, as opposed to 'archives', which may be used specifically for the papers of businesses or organizations”.

“To add to the confusion, the term 'archive' can mean a place where archives are stored, as well as a collection of materials. You may hear 'archive', 'record office' or 'repository' to refer to a place that preserves and makes available materials for research”.

As you can see the term “Archive” can be quite generic and broad spectrum.

Our meaning for the Bhaktivedanta Archives is outlined in its most common term. Materials that have been created by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada founder Acharya of ISKCON or about A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada founder Acharya of ISKCON by individuals, groups or organizations during or about the course of his life or work and deemed (everything) to be worth keeping permanently as evidence of his activities, or kept because of the long-term importance of the information (Krishna Consciousness) contained therein. 

Why Have an Archive?

In the broad sense all the archives from the past, and the archives now being created, are the raw material of history. They tell us what people and organizations did, how and sometimes why they did it, and sometimes what they thought. By having archives we can connect directly to past generations.

By extension the Bhaktivedanta Archives will connect with future generations who will look back on Srila Prabhupada and his teachings and mission. So our primary job is to gather, conserve and preserve the “raw material” for now and the future. The days of relying on word of mouth are being over run by Kali Yuga. It is evident that our memory over time can and will be faulty. So the creation of an archive “as it is” was and is the driving force of the Bhaktivedanta Archives. 

Why don’t you have this or that

“History is full of, people and organizations that are less organized, and records may not be kept deliberately but may survive by accident.  They may be found later by other people, who might decide that, some or all of the records are worth keeping because of their historical importance”.

Our early movement is a classic example of this situation. Its primary mission was preaching and not record keeping. So we found ourselves in the situation of “found later” for many documents, recordings, images, etc and we keep them all. We also find ourselves searching for lost genuine items.

So when someone asks why don’t you have “this or that” its because the BA was born out of a need at the end of Srila Prabhupada's time with us and not as a systematic gathering of materials during his life.

What we have today one could ague would have been in large part also lost to time if not for the founding of the BA and those who contributed and supported it. It should be noted here that the BA was founded as the archives of Srila Prabhupada and not ISKCON or BBT, even though we have some of their items.

The one big consolation of course is we have enough saved to deliver the individual and the planet to the Lotus Feet of Guru and Gauranga. 

Bhaktivedanta Archives Staff

Friday, February 1, 2013


Srila Prabhupada Legacy Vault Update.

Camp Prabhupada Village (Fort Knox) in the foothills of the Piedmont.

The final finish work on electrical, utilities, air conditioning, flooring and entrance door are done. It has been a frenzy of work with all the trades’ folks working side by side to see the light at the end of the tunnel come into full view. 

The “Fort Knox” door while living up to its name in state of the art security and function also symbolizes to us all the decades of making safe the Bhaktivedanta Archives collection. It is very satisfying to stand back and look at such an iconic name and know it is now associated with the vani of Srila Prabhupada.

We would like to take a moment once again to thank all of you who contributed in making this dream come true of a secure facility now and into the future.

Of course this journey of conserving and preserving the legacy of His Divine Grace is far from over, however, we consider this achievement a major mile stone along that path and are ecstatic to announce the secure vault is now built and a reality!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Security door arrived via special delivery. 

It took considerable effort to install this
door into the 13" thick concrete frame.

It required three strong men
to position the security door.

The factory rep made certain the
door was installed properly. 

Inside view of the Fort Knox security door.  

The crew installing the final flooring. 

The new HVAC, which will assist in
maintaining a steady temperature
all year round. 

The garage door has been replaced
with an efficient roll-up model. 

Outside view.

Nitya-trpta Devi Dasi on her knees wiping
clean the new floor with eager anticipation. 

An air-curtain is positioned above the door
to prevent interference of the vault's
atmosphere whenever the door is opened. 

Multiple over-sized steel pegs
guarantees no unauthorized access. 

In the event someone gets locked in,
pulling the red handle will open the door.

Moving one of the very heavy fire-proof cabinets
(10 of these were kindly donated by Ambarish
Prabhu many years ago)
. This job was
extremely strenuous. Furniture gliders were
attached to help ease their handling. 

Carton pads were put in place to
help prevent damaging the new floor. 

All cabinets are now happily in their new home.
Next is adding 3 heavy-duty stand-alone shelves,
along with book shelves along the wall to the left.
Those will mainly accommodate multiple
copies of all the BBT books ever published.

Thank you for your time and interest.

The Archives Staff

Monday, January 14, 2013


           Srila Prabhupada Legacy Vault Update. 

Camp Prabhupada Village.
There is light at the end of the tunnel…

With 2013 here and construction restarted we now have what looks like a real security vault.

The concrete for the roof and floor are poured, adding the final strength to the overall structure along with a rubberized roof membrane.

As an added layer of protection we have installed “Fire-Proof” board to the outside and inside walls.

With all this progress it now allows us to start roughing in the utilities.

Simultaneously strengthening/repair to the path leading to the vault along with needed upgrades to the building the vault is housed in are complete.

Next will be installation of the A/C and air curtain above the door. We also are anticipating the arrival soon of the “strong room door” that will not only put the finishing touch to the major construction but will also symbolize the new secure environment.

The pest control people came one
more time to treat the floor area.

Rebar grid on roof in place.

Concrete pump is called back into action.

Barry handling the concrete pump.

The roof pour was rather intense but successful. 

Due to concrete exposure Mukunda sustained
some nasty burns to his arm and shoulder.

It was all a very tight fit

Floor is prepped with gravel. 

With the insulation and membrane in
place, the floor is ready for the pour.

A special crew was commissioned
to do a professional job.

Father and son in bliss handling
the heavy dense concrete for the floor. 

The experts at work. 

Posing with a smile while unknowlingly
receiving spiritual benefits.

Typical propeller machine is used to
help smoothen the concrete surface. 

All done. The floor will be covered
later on with good quality Linoleum.

Mukunda preparing the floor gutters. 

The crew applying the final
touches to the gutters.

The garage sidewalk was in disrepair... 

...but is now properly fixed and has anchors.

David, an electrician, is installing the wiring. 

The ceiling structure is put in place.

One of the 12 electrical outlets.

Time for a prasadam-cookie break.

Fire-proof boards have been installed
on both the outside and inside walls.

Thank you for your time and interest.
The Archives staff