VVRS-WVA Karttik 1998
By B.B. Parivrajak Swami
Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha - World Vaisnava Association
VVRS-WVA - Karttik 1998
The Karttik meeting 1998 of the World Vaishnava Association was held in the spacious kirtan hall of the Shri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math located on the Mathura Road, at Vrindavan. The meeting was supposed to start at 4 p.m.. However, a big storm, threatened and eventually delayed its beginning. At 4.45 p.m. the rain was over and slowly slowly many Vaishnavas from different missions filled the hall with Bengali bhajans and the maha-mantra.Shripad Bhakti Vijnan Bharati Maharaj, senior disciple of Pujyapad Srila Bhakti Dayita Madhav Maharaj and the Secretary of Shri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, introduced the meeting.
Addressing the assembled Vaishnavas, he spoke about the wonderful qualities of Shrila Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj, the President of the World Vaishnava Association (VVRS-WVA) who is now continuing his bhajan at the venerable age of 101 years at Jagannath Puri Dham "Shrila Puri Maharaj is renown for his humility and outstanding Vaishnava character" Bharati Maharaj said. "Now he has revived the same spirit of the Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha of the Gaudiya sampradaya acharya, Shrila Jiva Goswami. Maharaj also said, "The WVA Forum is necessary in order to spread the glories of shuddha-bhakti all around the world."
Shripad Bhakti Prabhav Mahavir Maharaj, the Founder of Haribol Mission, spoke about the importance of sadhu-sanga and that this is widely available through the WVA. He insisted that Vaishnavas should stop the tendency to find fault with each other if they are willing to really unite. Mahavir Maharaj promised he will try to make the WVA famous in India. For that purpose he will gather the Emails and addresses of all Indian newspapers and communication centres to contact promptly with the news and press releases of the WVA. As he was recently appointed as the Meeting and Function Secretary, after giving a fiery speech of his own, introduced the other speakers.
The outgoing Secretary of VVRS-WVA, Shripad Bhakti Alok Paramadvaiti Maharaj, gave a report of the five years of his service-period. He also distributed the resolution of the last managing committee to all the present members. He emphasised in his speech the necessity that all member missions should send their representatives to all the managerial meetings to improve the efficiency of the VVRS-WVA. He will continue the service for WVA as the Co-ordinator of the Siddhanta-Guru Varga Dignity Committee. The enthusiasm, firm conviction and tireless efforts of Paramadvaiti Maharaj during the last five years have made of WVA a familiar reality among all the Vaishnavas. Concluding his speech, Maharaj introduced Acharya Das as the new Administrator Secretary. Acharya Das, a disciple since 1969 of Puyjapad AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, is a leading member of Chaitanya Mission started by Jagad Guru Siddhasvarupananda. He single-handedly opened many temples in the Philippines and is also a writer of Vaishnava literature.
Tushta Krishna Das of Chaitanya mission is the Press Secretary of the WVA, a new service meant to push the WVA into the limelight of world press service. He said that, "It is recognised from time to time that it is not only important, but essential that the WVA make public statements regarding not only secular but also ecumenical matters." It was decided that on time-sensitive issues requiring immediate action the Press Secretary will contact the Administrative Secretary and the secretaries of the Secular World Committee and the Siddhanta Guru Varga Dignity Committee prior to issuing any statement on behalf of the WVA. Examples of time-sensitive issues include, but are not limited to newspaper, radio, television or internet news items which attack the character and or authenticity of Vaishnavism in general, the Vedic scriptures, the Personality of Godhead etc., or which present false or distorted images of the same. If any mission needs the WVA to defend them in a particular case, it should send the case and a proposed answer from WVA to the Secular World Committee, headed also by Tushta Krishna Das. "The power of this Forum has already been proved. We want to use it only to establish the glory of Vaishnavism and serve all members and their emergencies. Combined efforts will be very useful in the preaching field. We should not think that only one guru, my guru, will be able to save the whole world from the agents of maya." Tushta Krishna remarked that the international Vaishnava community would greatly benefit by taking advantage of more dynamic forms of communication. In regard to this point, he donated the service of VINA, the Vaishnava Internet News Agency, to the WVA to become the official news site of the WVA to work in conjunction with the WVA Homepage. Members of all missions are now requested to send in news and pictures as well as articles from their Acharyas. The VINA Homepage is dedicated to glorify the activities of Vaishnavas from all over the world and to also foster discussions of philosophical topics.
The next speaker was Shripad Bhakti Vichar Vishnu Maharaj of the Krishna Chaitanya Mission who observed that a unified forum of Vaishnavas like the WVA can be instrumental for the preservation of the Holy Dhamas. As the Co-ordinator for the Temple Adoption Committee, he recommended that those who adopt temples shall visit all the other adopted temples to study how to preserve the old Rajastani architectural style in such a way to maintain Vrindavan as original as possible. Vishnu Maharaj also enthusiastically proposed that WVA should promote a University for Vaishnava Studies to be located either at Vrindavan or Jagannath Puri. A unified educational institution such as an International Vaishnava University would automatically further unity amongst the Vaishnavas. Vishnu Maharaj took several responsabilities for the VVRS-WVA. He is now the Co-ordinator of the Conflict Resolving Committee which aims to reassure opposing parties of the integrity of the diversity of various recognised Vaishnava missions. This committee effectively works in order to convince those Vaishnavas who are experiencing difficulties with other Vaishnavas of the good intentions and good will of disquieting Vaishnava missions.
Shripad Gopananda Bon Maharaj, the Acharya in the mission of Pujyapad Bhakti Hriday Bon Maharaj, expressed his happiness noticing that the participation and enthusiasm at the WVA meetings is gradually increasing over the years both in India and abroad. He particularly congratulated with the service rendered by Shripad Paramadvaiti Maharaj and said that Vaishnavas should not hesitate to promote the ideals of WVA which are perfectly in consonance with the desire of our previous acharyas in the disciplic succession.Bhaktivedanta Parivrajak Maharaj, disciple of Pujyapad Bhakti Rakshak Shridhar Maharaj and founder of the new Acintya Mission, spoke about the First Gaudiya Vedanta Symposium which will be held in Karttik '99 at the Munger Raj Temple located just opposite the WWF on the Mathura Road. Leading preachers will be invited to book their lectures. Every class will last two hours. Main holiday days will be free. It has been established that if the lecturer does not know English, he shall bring his own translator with him. "WVA should have a cultural image." Maharaj said, "and the Symposium will create the desired result of Unity in Diversity which is very much needed by all sincere followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Parivrajak Maharaj who is also the coordinator of the Unification Committee of the WVA, has insisted on the many advantages which come from joining the WVA. "It is not only physical unity. WVA will unify, protect and strengthen the international community of devotees by providing it with a Forum where all Vaishnavas can express their needs and common aspirations."
Shripad Bhakti Sarvasya Govinda Maharaj, disciple of Pujyapad Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaj and Acharya of Shri Chaitanya Math in Vrindavan ,said he will try his best to make WVA succesful in Vrindavan. He will also help to publish a Hindi or Bengali magazine to advertise the goals and activities of the WVA. The first issue should come out next year. Govinda Maharaj was the last speaker before the evening arati. After the kirtan all the Vaishnavas expressed the desire to hear more.
Shripad Bhaktivedanta Kshirodakashayi Vishnu Maharaj, senior disciple of Pujyapad AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj and founder of the Bhaktivedanta Ashram, made dandavat pranam to all the devotees and humbly asked blessings from all. He said that WVA is meant to enliven and enrich the meaning of sadhu-sanga, which is the most important factor for all the Vaishnavas who seriously want to make rapid advancement in spiritual life.
Shripad Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj, disciple of Pujyapad BR Shridhar Maharaj and founder of Chaitanya Isha Mandalam, said that WVA will definitely be appreciated by all sincere Vaishnavas if the members of WVA will always keep purity of purpose and put aside all selfish and separatist motivations in their endeavours for unity.Everyone remained spellbound to listen to the most alive and energetic speech of Shripad Priyananda Bon Maharaj, disciple of Pujyapad Bhakti Hriday Bon Maharaj. He said that unless we understand that WVA is not a new idea, but the desire of Mahaprabhu Himself, we, as Vaishnavas, will remain divided. "We need unity among the Vaishnavas. Please, cooperate with the many plans of WVA!"
Shripad Bhaktibhavana Vishnu Maharaj, disciple of Pujyapad AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj and senior member of the International Gaudiya Vaishnava Society, concluded the evening speeches. Maharaj was happy to see how the activities of WVA are becoming succesful. He most humbly submitted that it is in our interest to see the Vaishnavas in a favourable way. "We should not criticise other Vaishnavas. That will displease Srimati Radharani and our appeal for unity will lose its meaning."Previously the meetings were hold in the Govindaji Mandir of Shrila Rupa Goswami. This time, however, it was resolved that the meetings of the WVA both in Mayapur and Vrindavan will shift from one member mission to the other. It has already been decided to hold the next Mayapur meeting two days after Gaur Purnima in Mayapur in the Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mission. As usual, all the participants in the meeting received the famous sweet Kuliya maha-prasada of Shri Radharaman and left for their respective ashrams.
At around 8.30 p.m. the Karrtik '98 WVA meeting was already another chapter of Vaishnava history.Everyone was visibly satisfied after hearing from so many Vaishnavas belonging to 28 different missions their appeals for unity in diversity. After five years from the foundation, WVA seems to reap some of the fruits everyone is greedy to taste. For instance, the relations between Indian and Western Vaishnavas are becoming more friendly and substantial as a result of meeting even just few times in a year. The Nagar-Sankirtan of the WVA also helped very much in this regard. More and more representatives of the many branches of the evergreen Chaitanya Tree are becoming aware that the unity of the Vaishnavas will serve many purposes. Above all, it will help the Vaishnavas to find a common identity in front of the world of the non-devotees. It may sound rhetorical, but to the sensitive devotees it will not. Unity among the Vaishnavas, actually, should not be an object of discussion. It should be a reality. How can we understand the higher topics of Krishna-lila if we even find difficulty to accept the experiences of other genuine Vaishnavas in their search for eternity, knowledge and transcendental happiness? There is much to meditate upon for those Vaishnavas who are sincerely trying to understand the meaning of Vaishnava qualities like humility and tolerance. Let us admit that as followers of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, we all have a common cause to pursue and achieve. The World Vaishnava Association cannot but help us to achieve that most cherished goal. It is worth trying and, we can be assured, Shri Chaitanya will be happy with us. So we can now see that WVA is gradually becoming a reality and anyone of us can play a part for making it succesful. We should be broadminded and go beyond the interests of our own individual missions. No loss is expected in this noble attempt. If we are interested at all in the subject-matter, unity in diversity. But of course, as many earnestly feel, real unity can only come from the heart. All glories to the assembled Vaishnavas. All glories to the WVA.
Coordinator of Unificattion committe
B.B. Parivrajak Swami