Managerial Committee Karttika Meeting 2001
By Acarya das
To all Acharyas and Sannyasis of our member missions, along with all Vaishnavas, my humble pranam dandavats.
On the day before Rama Ekadasi, the Managerial Committee met at Vrinda Kunja, Vrindavan. There was a good attendance at the meeting which lasted for 3 ½ hours and concluded with kirtan and prasadam.
Items on the agenda were as follows:
1. The announced formation of the Inter Religious Affairs Committee which will be headed by Bhaktiananda Goswami a disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The function of the committee will be to maintain contact with world ecumenical councils and see to it that the WVA is represented or invited to all world religious conventions/forums.
2. The WVA gave formal recognition and extended an invitation to INRENA - a European Vaishnava Charitable organization to become an affiliate of the WVA. The invitation was accepted by their Vrindavan resident representative from Germany, Sriman RadhaKrishna das. The organization is engaged in water, education and clothing programs for the indigents of Vrindavan. RadhaKrishna das will now become a member of the Vrindarvan Dham Committee.
3. The WVA also gave formal recognition to an organization of medical doctors called Conscious Doctors. This organization was founded in South America and wants to develop an International network of medical professionals who adopt Vaishnava-friendly policies as a foundation for their medical practice and also offer free treatment to Vaishnava Missionaries. Conscious Doctors was started by an Indian woman Doctor in South America who in addition to her western medical credentials is an Aryuvedic doctor and trains South American physicians in Aryurvedic medicine.
4. The meeting was also attended by the founder/director for the Florida Vedic College, Sriman Mahabuddhi das. The Florida Vedic College is recognized as a degree offering educational institution by the American government. The FVC requested membership in the WVA and was granted such. A letter of recognition was approved by the assembly to be presented to the FVC. Sriman Mahabuddhi das informed all member missions how they could benefit from degrees from FVC. For instance if a Vaishnava preacher from India was to acquire a Masters or Doctoral degree in Divinity from FVC, then this credential would greatly assist when people apply for visas to travel and preach. It also opens the doors to Universities and educational institutions to people wanting to teach Vaishnavism. There was some discussion centered on helping second and third generation Vaishnavas in Western countries attain credentials to assist them in their lives. The Education Committee also wanted to inform everyone especially those people involved in child education that they could avail of a huge library of pictures of the pastimes of Lord Krishna and His devotees availible on www.damodara.de The pictures are mostly black and white line art and can be used to educate and entertain young children who can color the pictures while learning about the pastimes.
5. Bhaktisiddanta das from the Vedic Art committee made a presentation and we learned something about the projects he has been involved in and so tremendous plans that he has for Vrindavan. These centered around the building of a new spiritual city on the outskirts of Vrindavan. He is currently meeting with prominent people in India including the Prime Minister for the purpose of furthering this mission.
6. The Temple Adoption Committee lamented the recent destruction of an important bhajan kutir at Imlitala . A motion was put forward that member missions should please consult with the committee in the future before undertaking demolition or major construction work. The committee could seek help from Vaishnava engineers and architects to help preserve and enhance the beauty of old structures of historical significance while still helping with expansion of temple facilities.
7. The Environmental Committee reported on the presence of a Hungarian vaishnava water specialist in Vrindavan. The visiting specialist was undertaking water testing of all major water bodies and the Yamuna river to provide data on the current levels and types of pollution affecting the holy dham. This would help in detecting the causes of pollution and the formation of a plan to fix the current and lamentable pollution of these holy sites. There was again a plea for the banning of all plastic cups and utensils from the member mission Maths and at mahotsav celebrations as this is a major source of pollution in and around Vrindavan and the Yamuna. It was also agreed that the WVA should release a position of the current state of cow slaughter in India. India has gained the deplorable reputation as a country which treats its cows and other animal meant for slaughter in an extremely inhumane manner. Many clothing and bag manufacturing companies in America and Europe have boycotted the use of animal products from India due to the massive scale of cruelty and abuse of animals here. It was also reported how ashrams in Bengal (not Gaudiya Math Ashrams) were taking donations of cows and then selling them for slaughter across the boarder in Bangladesh.
8. The Guru Vargha Dignity Committee once again pleaded for the submission of philosophical articles and news from your missions or about your Acharyas and mission activities, be submitted to VINA for publication on the Internet. VINA is the official WVA Internet news site.
9. Paramadwaiti Maharaj gave an account of the successful WVA Mela held in Mexico this year.
10. There was an updated report on the soon to be published book about the WVA-VVRS, its historical roots, what it is today and a vision for its future. We were also informed of the delay in the Audarya Awards presentations.
11. Due to the poor level of communication that exists between the WVA and its member missions and the difficulties and cost when relying on postal mail services especially in India, there was a plea for all Maths to get an email address and assign one of their members to the task of being responsible for communication. This way they could more easily be kept abreast of the news and information from the WVA and its member missions.
12. A report from the Press Committee updated everyone on developments with regards to world media. The WVA recently sent a letter to the American President George Bush objecting to the snub on Hinduism when he met with religious leaders of Christian, Sikh, Muslim, and Buddhist communities in American. The WVA is also undertaking a protest of the desecration and the offensive use of the worlds largest Vishnu Temple - Angkor Wat in Cambodia, in the film mega hit movie "Lara Croft - Tomb Raider". In the movie released by Paramount Pictures, the carvings within the temple of the Vanasena of Lord Rama and also Buddhist statues, turned into demons which attack the stars of the movie, who in return destroy the statues. It was pointed out that Hollywood's actions are in reality no different than the recent destruction of the largest statue of Lord Buddha in the world, by Taliban of Afghanistan.
13. The subject of a need for an Indian Press Secretary was raised. Today the use of media has become very essential if we are to get the message of Lord Chaitanya out to the masses of people. We are witnessing the rapid growth of materialism and consumerism in India and all its ills. There is a need for an intelligent person/persons to be aware of what is happening in India and look for opportunities to respond to malicious anti vaishnava propaganda or to proactively preach vaishnava principals in relation to real-world events. To this end the Secretary and Paramadwaiti Maharaj recently approached the renowned investigative journalist Sriman Vineet Narain. It was a very productive meeting with Mr. Narain offering his cooperation and that of his organization for the purpose of the promotion of Vaishnava principles through media in India. There will be further communication between the parties for this purpose.
14. The Managerial Committee approved a recommendation that all member missions and individual Vaishnavas be approached for the solicitation of voluntary contributions to help in the funding of the following projects; 1) the printing of the WVA book, 2) the printing of our WVA poster, 3) for WVA Mela and meeting expenses.
15. WVA-VVRS flags were distributed to member missions to be displayed at our Maths and temples. This was in line with the suggestion/request from our Vice-President that all missions display the WVA banner/flag and that the WVA logo be printed on all member mission literature. It was also suggested that in the offering of pranamis all missions should include "Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabah Kijai".
16. In closing we prayed for the health of our current President Srila Nayananda das Babaji who could not attend the meeting due to poor health.