October 4, 2011

Special Highlights from the Birnagar Collection

The total number of manuscripts from the Birnagar Collection is 137, plus 17 letters and 27 books. Nine are original, hand written works by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, including his autobiography Svalikhita Jivani (see photos below).

One of the letters in the collection is of special historical value to followers of Srila Prabhupada — a hand-written Bengali letter to Lalita Prasada Thakura, sent from Moscow on June 21 1971:

National Hotel, Red park, Moscow, Russia
21st June, 1971. 
My dear uncle Prabhupada Lalita Prasad Thakur,
Kindly accept my humble obeisance to your lotus feet. At present I am staying at the above mentioned hotel in Moscow, Room No. 356. With me there are two American disciples.
Here the preaching subject will be 1. Vedic Conception of Communism, 2. Knowledge derived from authoritative tradition, 3. Scientific classless society. Now with your blessing in this severely atheistic country the teachings of Sriman Mahaprabhu will be preached.
Here many local and foreigner girls and boys have visited. I advise them to do the Bhajana of the Lord. A few boys of this place have become very much impressed after listening to our Harinama. They want to join us. But the laws of this country are so tough that they cannot go against them. Here discussions are going on to meet many reputable professors and there will be the arrangement of lecture in the Indian Embassy. You bless me.
From here I will go to Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London etc. This is the first time I came to Moscow. If you want to write to me, send it to this address—3764 Watseka Avenue. 
Yours affectionately, Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami
Svalikhita Jivani

Of the remainder, there are 44 works written, edited or compiled by Lalita Prasada Thakura, as well as 33 hand copied manuscripts by Rupa and Jiva Goswamis and Visvanatha Chakravarti. Two books are by Sri Bipin Behari Goswami, the diksa guru of Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
With scanning now completed we face a great challenge in preserving them by de-acidification and encapsulation. Some unknown person previously tried to laminate an unpublished work Rasa-rasodaya by Bhaktivinoda Thakura with plastic with near disastrous results. The wrong type of plastic was used and its shrinkage has damaged the manuscript considerably.

Once the preservation is completed the originals will be returned to Birnagar for storage and display. Most of the scanned works will be available on the BRC website.
hand-written biography of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.

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