ISKCON Press


About ISKCON Press

The original ISKCON Press was inaugurated by Śrīla Prabhupāda in 1969, calling it “the heart of ISKCON.” It was superseded a few years later by The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT), which went on to publish and distribute half a billion book copies worldwide. However, after the disappearance of His Divine Grace in 1977, BBT started revising his books, most notably Bhagavad-gītā As It Is and KṚṢṆA, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, making numerous unnecessary changes.

Say what you may about the book changes, but for books that are meant to be “the law books for the next 10,000 years,” we feel it is imperative to have historically accurate and authorised versions available to serious students and followers of His Divine Grace. Thus we have established ISKCON Press as an independent online entity, hoping to facilitate deeper study and understanding of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s original teachings, for the spiritual upliftment of ourselves and society at large.

While preparing our website and humble offering to His Divine Grace, this page will give a glimpse of what is going on at the Press. Right now we’re in the Content phase. As we progress, we will instigate the Functionality phase as well.


Phase 1: Setup

There are lots of decent hosting companies around nowadays. We’ve spent time with several, but in the end it comes down to speed and simplicity, at least for us. The same can be said for software. It’s better when it’s simple.

Server

  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Nginx, serving our visitors on the digital ocean of devotional bliss.

Software

  • Open source DokuWiki, through and through. No database, simply plain text files.
  • At least two dozen active plugins, a few customised. May open source if interest.
  • Custom built DokuWiki template based on Base. Will open source when ready.

Phase 2: Content

For the books, we used the “Original VedaBase” as our source. For lectures, conversations and letters, we’re extracting from the newer versions of the official VedaBase. Although we spent a lot of time cleaning up these files, we know that they still carry many mistakes. We are trying to correct them as far as possible, both with software tools and proofreading.

Books

Original (pre-1978) editions only. Not because we’re against the new, revised editions; we’re just in love with the original ones!

  • Imported all original books.
    • Side-by-side verification with other digital sources.
    • Proofread against original printed or scanned books.
  • Devanagari and Bengali script
    • Added Devanagari for bg, iso, noi.
    • Working on adding Devanagari for sb.
    • We’re in need of Bengali/ITRANS file of cc.
  • Synonyms (word-for-word translations)
    • Add full Sanskrit/Bengali dictionary.

Spoken

  • Imported lectures and conversations from VedaBase. Big cleanup!
  • Imported audio files when moving to our production server.
  • Need to import newer transcripts (currently 1969–71).
  • Audio transcripts fidelity check and corrections.

Letters

  • Imported letters.
  • Add scanned letters.

Media

Index

We believe an index is crucial for studying Srila Prabhupada’s books. A lawyer once told us that an index is the only way to look up anything from the law books, and the only thing missing from the VedaBase. We took her words to heart.

  • Digitise all the indexes from Srila Prabhupāda’s books.
  • Semi-automatically link to corresponding pages/verses.
  • Manually link to paragraphs with optional search phrase.

Wiki

  • We’re gradually building our wiki articles internally. Finally!
  • Will open for the public once we’ve reached a certain number.

Glossary


Phase 3: Functionality

  • Custom search engine!!!
  • Accessibility improvements
  • Many planned enhancements

Phase 4: TBA

  • Multilingual?