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; More

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