Definitions of Vāṇī

Srila Prabhupada Vani

By chance I happened upon the Vanipedia About Page this morning while researching a post for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s appearance day, and found this most fascinating definition of the word Vani. We can see from studying Srila Prabhupada’s books just how vast the Sanskrit language is just from the example of this one word; vāṇī. In one letter written to Tribhuvanatha in June of 1972, Srila Prabhupada writes:

“I am very much stressing nowadays that my students shall increase their reading of my books and try to understand them from different angles of vision. Each sloka can be seen from many, many angles of vision, so become practiced in seeing things like this.

So here is a word for your Vaisnava Vocabulary with its many meanings.

“Although according to material vision His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda passed away from this material world on the last day of December, 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vāṇī, his words. There are two ways of association-by vāṇī and by vapuḥ. Vāṇī means words, and vapuḥ means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vāṇī continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vāṇī, not the physical presence. The Bhagavad-gītā, for example, is the vāṇī of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Although Kṛṣṇa was personally present five thousand years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, the Bhagavad-gītā continues.”

Definitions of Vani
Śrīla Prabhupāda has translated vāṇī in the following ways;

vāṇī—a voice
vāṇī—injunction
vāṇī—message
vāṇī—talking
vāṇī—teachings
vāṇī—the organ of speech
vāṇī—transcendental words
vāṇī—vibration
vāṇī—words
vāṇī—words, the power of speech

and here we see the meaning when connected to other words;

kṛṣṇa-vāṇī-the word of Kṛṣṇa, Bhagavad-gītā
rādhikā-vāṇī—the statement of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī
gaura-vāṇī-the message of Lord Caitanya
caitanyera vāṇī—the words of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu
śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-vāṇī—the message of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu
kāvya-vāṇī—poetic language
mātuḥ vāṇī—the instructions of the mother
śāstra-vāṇī—the indication of revealed scriptures
śukadeva-vāṇī—the words of Śukadeva Gosvāmī
ājñā-vāṇī—orders and injunctions
artha-vāṇī—the aim of life, the aim of profit
kahi satya-vāṇī—I am speaking the truth
veda-vāṇī—hymns of the Vedas
priya-vāṇī—pleasing words
śrī-mukha-vāṇī—words from his mouth
mithyā vāṇī—false stories

So we see that vāṇī means the words, the instructions, the message, the teachings.

In his concluding words to the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrīla Prabhupāda states:

“Although according to material vision His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda passed away from this material world on the last day of December, 1936, I still consider His Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vāṇī, his words. There are two ways of association-by vāṇī and by vapuḥ. Vāṇī means words, and vapuḥ means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but vāṇī continues to exist eternally. Therefore we must take advantage of the vāṇī, not the physical presence. The Bhagavad-gītā, for example, is the vāṇī of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Although Kṛṣṇa was personally present five thousand years ago and is no longer physically present from the materialistic point of view, the Bhagavad-gītā continues.”

Vanipedia is designed to help anyone take full shelter of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s vāṇī and by so doing associate with the vāṇī of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the vāṇī of Lord Caitanya, the vāṇī of Their various incarnations and the vāṇī of the many saints and sages who have purely presented their teachings throughout the ages.

Highly Recommended!

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