World Vaisnava Association
Srila B.B. Tirtha Maharaja
Acarya of the Sri Caitanya Gaudiya Math
gave a wonderful talk at the second WVA meeting.
WVA Home Page
Krishna always protects us
By Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti
The president of this Sabha is now turning 99 years. Everything Krishna does is perfect. Who could believe it that Srila Puri Maharaj is still travelling and preaching, installing Deities, establishing temples and counseling everyone, from the Acaryas of many big missions down to the simple soul craving to meet a pure devotee. He does not exclude anyone from his tender kindness. Only seeing him most move once heart. Still, he defends the Vaisnava siddhanta with a sharp wit, even though some people may think that their mixed Bhakti went by unnoticed.
Vaisnavas are always looking for such a gentle Sadhu. Now Krishna has chosen that the most reluctant person to work independently, who has always supported other god brothers with his full cooperation comes out the other side and guides all members of the Visva Vaisnava Raj Sabha with the universal love to the universal Guru. Medicine in the age of ambition and separatism.
Mahaprabhu Sri Krishna Chaitanyas plan starts to unfold. Every town and village around the world. My Guru Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj actually went everywhere. He invited the whole world and then Krishna called him back.
Similar to the aftermath of the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, the absence of the founder Acarya left his disciples with many a doubt. They pondered, how to go on now, without the guru's personal glance. But Srila Sridhar Maharaj taught: God consciousness versus Society consciousness. Substance above form, follow your heart, the Siksa Sampradaya etc. "Die to live" became the call to revive the almost hopeless. 1988 Krishna called his devotee Sridhar Maharaj back and again our lives were suffering from an obvious incapacity to live up to the standard of Vaisnava association. Lower concerns seemed to create more divisions than any united front.
It was than that Srila B. P. Puri Maharaj was sent into the fray to give relief and vision to all the struggling young Vaishnavas. He was ready to help indiscriminately, even though his own mission was keeping him extremely occupied. His writing also continued exactly as he had done throughout his whole life. He was the person all could accept. Distant from any fault finding mentality, he even told us, "Don't let anyone escape from this association." Even if someone is antagonistic, go and get him to give up this wrong attitude and join the World Vaisnava family. He did it. Initially most missions were very skeptical. Could there be a revival of something that had not existed for the last 5o years? Could the temple of Srila Rupa Goswami become again a place of Vaisnava sangha and mahotsava? Could the Srivas Angam become again the center to organize the unified world wide preaching? Srila Puri Maharaj could do all that within a short moment. Because his love for Krishna and his innumerable qualifications do not go unnoticed by anyone. He is the true Mahajana we can unite under and simultaneously go on strong with the banners of our respective Gurudevas. That has given me new life. All Glories to the one who was chosen by Krishna to bring us all together. Gaura Hari Bol.
History of the Visva Vaisnava Raj Sabha
Bhakti Niloy Giri Maharaj, a disciple of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur addressed the assembled devotees of the Visva Vaisnava-Raj Sabha at Srivas Angan on March 4, 1996: He discussed the re-establishment of the Vishva Vaisnava-Raj Sabha by Bhaktisiddhanta in 1919 on the appearance day of Srimati Vishnu Priya (Feb 5, 1919) with a big Sankirtan of devotees. On that auspicious occasion, Srila Prabhupada also lectured on the ancient history of Vishva Vaisnava-Raj Sabha. Before this, many Gaudiya Vaisnavas did not know about the past history of the Vishva Vaisnava Raj Sabha and Srila Jiva Goswamipad. So Sripad Giri Maharaj read from the report appearing in the 21st Volume, 9th issue of the Sajjana Toshani weekly magazine of the Gaudiya Mission about that historic meeting for the pleasure of all the Vaisnavas.
This meeting (of 1919) took place in Calcutta at Sri Bhaktivinode Assan. Many devotees gathered for the occasioin. This Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha had been re-established three times previously after Sriman Mahaprabhu had initially established it.
Eleven years after the disappearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the six stallwart dovotees (shada-goswamis) were trying to bring all the devotees of Mahaprabhu together. The senior disciples of Rupa and Sanatan took strong positions (notably led by Sri Jiva Goswami) in the Mela. They merely sought to follow in the footsteps of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan. So Sri Jiva Goswami (SAT SANDARBHA) outlined the ideas of Sri Rupa (his Gurudev) on the Visva Vaishnava Raj Sabha and included them in Sat Sandarbha.
Sri Lokanath Goswami, Sri Bhugarbha Goswami (both of whom went to Vrndavan before the 6 Goswamis) and Srila Kashishwar Goswami and other great devotees were also all in prominent positions in Mahaprabhu's Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha.
Additionally, Sri Gaurasundar's other followers were appointed to many posts in the Visva Vaishnava Raj Sabha --- chatur-shasti. Sri Nityananda Prabhu's 12 companions or followers also decorated some of the leading positions of the Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha.
Following Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunath, was the great writer, Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami -- in his time, he took full charge of Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha.
Successively, Then Narrotam DasThakur took charge and also the great commentator, Sri Sripad Vishvanath Cakravarti Thakur and other suddha-bhaktas maintained the Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha at different periods of its existence. It was never a continuous line -- but, then after sometime, it would be re-established by the mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The last time it was begun 399 years after the birth of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and it was spread widely in the city of Calcutta by the express efforts of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. Finally, Srila Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur took the charge and in the 1919 meeting, different working committees (groups) of Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha were established:
WVA service today: The WVA is building new plans according to these working committees to fullfill the disires of our Acryas
**Manad-Mandali (Vaishnava Seva) --- those responsible for nice tasteful arrangements for their Lordships and the suddha-bhaktas.
WVA service today:
To form a Mela and meeting Committee
To increase WVA chapters world wide and local Melas.
To collect all proposals from all Vaisnavas on what we can implment to better serve them.
To humbly inquire from all Vaisnavas what would encourage them to come foreward to participate more with the WVA and to try to satisfy their wishes as much as is possible in accordance with Guru, Shastra and Sadhu.
To glorify all Vaisnavas by giving them space on the World Computer Internet to present their missions and to glorify their spiritual preceptors.
The WVA tries to help to preserve the holy Dhamas and to coordinate efforts to improove the infrastructure of the holy places and their parikramas as well as to clean the Dhama and to create environmental consciousness in the Dhambhasis and in the visitors.
**Sri Krishna Chaitanya Pracar Mandali ---
1. Nam Pracar division -- they go to different parts of the world and do nagar-sankirtan and give bhagavat-katha. They have taken shelter of the Acaryas, so they are qualified to go to far-off places for preaching, lecturing and chanting of the Holy Names.
WVA service today:
This is fullfilled by the service of all the WVA members in their respective missions.
Two international meetings are organized every year by the WVA.
One on the Rama Ekadasi in Sri Vrindavan Dham in the old Govindaji Mandir of Srila Rupa Goswami. The second one in Srivas Angam, Mayapur one day before Goura Purnima
One yearly Nama Hatta WVA Transcendental Trade Fair is celebrated 5 days before and until Goura Purnima in Srivas Angam.
Other WVA meetings around the world are and can be organized by any member as they see it usefull.
Every meeting of WVA members will be accompanied with Hari Kirtan and Hari Katha.
2. Shastra Pracar division --- those who control the holy books of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and who publish, print, distribute and store them. They also work to keep old writings safe and in reprint condition and they research the history of these books and writers.
WVA services today:
The WVA publishes minimum two newsletters anually.
The WVA keeps list of all transcendental litherature in print available for all members on the Internet.
The WVA tries to incourage the establishment of Vaisnava Bookstores and reading rooms which will carry the books of all WVA member missions and other related literature all over the world.
The WVA creates an electronic library of all Vaisnava literature on the Internet for all the World in as many languages as there are available.
All matirials will be available free of cost from that electronic library.
Publishers of all missions are invited to join this generous effort to put the holy literatures in every house of this planet.
The WVA is trying to establish contact with Vaisnava publishing houses to get them to publish rare titles out of print. We shall indicate to all our members where the books may be obtained, publisher, etc.
3. Shastra-Shikshya division -- those devotees who chronologically study the bhakti-shastras and who give regular lectures to their students in Vedanta, Bhakti, Surrender etc. They make examinations on the birthday celebrations of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu & Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.
WVA services today:
Some missions have established examination standards to grant specific titles to the Vaisnavas. Research is needed to try to establish a generally accepted international (or interplanetary) standard, just as university titles which are sometimes accepted by one country from another.
**Jijnasha Mandali -- (jijnasha -- those curious to know something). Those who, before selecting a person for any holy work, study the personal character, background, etc., nature, to ascertain if such a person is fit for this kind of preaching work.
Every WVA mission is recruiting and training new devotees in the science of the teachings of Lord Caitanya.
The WVA is providing a forum which will qualify all members to be preachers of the universal love of Krishna. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur said: "Sectarianism is the worst enemy of truth." There is no greater contradiction than a preacher of universal love practicing sectarianism.
The WVA accepts the responsible position that the dignity of our spiritual preceptors have to be protected by our mature approach to all other Vaisnavas and to the public as well.
**Pashandadalan Mandali --- Who defends the suddha-bhaktas by argument or who objects to any offenses to them by others,. It includes those who defeat or object to any apasiddhanta written, and in general who guards the storehouse of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Lila, paraphernalia and devotees.
WVA services today:
The WVA cherishes the idea that the central places of all holy Vaisnava sites should remain totally free from the politics of one Acarya trying to impose himself on others. Holy places are for all Vaisnavas. Missionary efforts are to be kept out of the center of places which have importance to members of many missions.
The WVA promotes literature that defends the proper siddhanta.
The WVA wants to start a quarterly magazine which will provide a forum allowing all senior Vaisnavas to write commentaries on difficult topics raised amongst scholars, devotees or world issues which may effect the Vaisnavas. This will also serve to expose any misconceptions and serve to defend the suddha-bhaktas.
**Utsav Mandali --- those who take the responsibility of arranging for the birth, disappearance, anniversary celebrations of the Lord, his devotee acaryas, etc.
WVA services today:
As every Vaisnava and ther mssions celebrate Vaisnava holy days, the WVA promotes such gatherings by providing Internet space for all missions to advertise their functions.
The WVA also holds special meetings and festivals on different ocasions and in different places.
The WVA tries to restore and patronize holy places, Samadhis etc. within the framework of their projects of adobting a temple, sister temples and other charities of their members.
**Bhaktyanushana Mandali --- those who have taken shelter of the acarya and who are therefore engaged in normally preserving and maintaining the holy places existing, and those who travel to different places for the purpose of establishing preaching centres and temples and maths and caring for those holy places existing from the past to maintain the Vaishnava Heritage.
WVA services today:
The WVA establishes through its members spiritual oases as much as possible by increasing the numbers of devotees also the concern for protecting the holy places increases. WVA members have in Vrindavan, salvaged more than ten old temples which were abandoned or abused, and are now being renovated and brought back to transcendental life. To maintain these places and all the residing Vaisnavas is a great and wonderful opportunity. The WVA is teaching the guidlines of the Vedic culture called Varna Ashrama system in order to create a sane balance between the divisions of society.
The WVA also promotes the natural way of living and eating in order to preserve the healthy program for the world and the devotees.
The WVA recommends to all Vaisnavas to always chant the holy names of Sri Sri Goura Nitai and Sri Sri Radha Krishna in order to reach to the purity of this path.
The WVA promotes the establishment of Vaisnava health and service protection for good Vaisnavas, regardless of their age and limitations. Different Vaisnava missions have promised to help with such efforts and the WVA is trying to get lists of medical personnel related or inspired by the Vaisnavas to offer their services in the time of need. Every Member should post such contacts to the WVA Internet Home Page and on their local anouncement boards for devotees to know how to contact the respective assistance.
Under the direction of Srila Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur and the other acaryas of the Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha, these departments initiated their work and they established their own organizing divisions within their own committees and jurisdictions.
In the first year of this meeting, the following books were published:
1. Pratip Prianartha's Questions and Answers
2. Sri Haridas Thakur
3. Adim-Nadiar Katha (an ancient history of Nadia)
WVA service today:
Most of the WVA members aspire to publish the books of their Acaryas in many languages.
Outstanding publications since the beginning of the WVA in november 1994 have been:
1. THE HEART OF KRISHNA by the President of the WVA Srila B.P. Puri Mahahraj
2. THE GOLDEN VOLCANO OF DIVINE LOVE by Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaj
3. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada.
4. The art of Sadhana by Srila B...P. Puri Maharaj.
5. WVA Passport and newsletters.
6. Spanish all books in one edition of Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaj.
7. Jouney to the east by Walther Eidlitz in English German and spanish.
8. Hari Nama Chintmani by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur.
9. The Temple President- A spiritual community guide by Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti
10. The quarterly Gaudiya Vedanta by the Gaudiya Vaisnava society.
and many other books more ( For a complete list please look in the Internet under Publications of the WVA)
By the mercy of the acarya of Visva Vaisnava-Raj Sabha and Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Goswamipad, in the 21st Volume, 9th issue of Sajjan Toshani -- the weekly publication of the Gaudiya Mission established in 1917, -- this matter was published.
Editor's note: We would like to offer our heart-felt dandavats to Sripad Bhakti Niloy Giri Maharaj for persisting in his effort to bring this publication to our attention. It is indispensable for our real understanding of the extensive involvement of the Visva Vaisnava-Raj Sabha.
WVA Programme - 1996 Mela
The day before Gaura-Purnima (which was on 5 March), Monday, 4 March, 1996 at 4 PM, The fourth annual meeting of the members of the World Vaishnava Association (the Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha) was convened by a melodious kirtan led by the devotees of Srivas Angan. The preceeding five days had seen an extensive book and poster exhibition of Vaishnava missions around the world sponsored by the WVA (please see the separate article in this issue on the first WVA Mela) with nightly Bhajans and Hari-katha before a combined attendance of over 15,000. What follows is a chronological report of the meeting.
Introduction and welcome -- Bhakti Bikash Sajjan Maharaj of Srivas Angan welcomed all the guests and speakers. He commented that he considered it a great opportunity to welcome so many Vaishnavas -- mercuful personalities -- to Srivasa- Angana, a place of many of Sriman Mahaprabhu's most intimate pastimes. Since Narayan Maharaj had been on perikrama all day, Sajjan Maharaj requested that he give the opening address to the packed assembly.
Speaking in Hindi, Bengali and English, Sripad Bhakti Vedanta Narayan Maharaj gave the first address of the day. He extolled the pastimes of Sriman Mahaprabhu in Navadwip, with Jagannath Misra and Saci-Mata, and then in Jagannath Puri, Orissa. "From there, Mahaprabhu went on His tour of South India. After returning to Jagannath Puri from South India, He went to Vrindavana. Wherever He went He preached nama and prema . . . He gave Krsna-prema to fallen people like Jagai and Madhai. Mahaprabhu ordered everyone, 'Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Sri Krishna as they are given in Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. In this way become a guru and try to liberate everyone in this land.' . . . Try to become pure Vaishnavas, exclusive Vaishnavas and truly possessionless Vaishnavas. If we can perform bhajan under the guidance of our preceptors, then there is possibility of our well being . . . If I do Krishna-bhajana under the guidance of gurudev, then where is the possibility of quarreling? . . . Leaving aside our guru, there cannot be any proper line of conception. There can only be misconception. 'I only accept my guru and I don't accept the guru-parampara. I will not read the literatures of Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur '. . . what will be our fate if we associate with people of such a mentality? If together we can preach the vani (words) of Sri Rupa and Raghunatha, if together we can preach the vani of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and Srila Prabhupada, then there will be benefit in coming together.
"We should strictly follow our guru-parampara and the words of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Then it is possible that we can come closer and stay together. And there is another group of people who keep on saying that the jiva has fallen from Goloka-Vrindavana, but this is not approved by Srila Jiva Goswami.
yad gatva na nivartante, tad-dhama paramam mama
'Those who attain that supreme abode never return to this material world.'
"But the idea that, 'after attaining that supreme abode, we will again fall down into this world'? This is a complete misconception! This is not our conception. If there is possibility that even after attaining residence in that dhama we will again fall down, then what is the value in ever going there? That is why, before preaching, we must be conversant with the conception of Rupa Goswami, the conception of Jiva Goswami, and the conception of entire guru-parampara so that the pure uncontaminated message of the parampara will be broadcast. Prema-dharma devoid of envy whould be preached. The root of such prema-dharma should be:
trnad api sunicena
If one does not have this attitude, then what kind of Vaishnava does he claim himself to be? If we cannot give proper respect to advanced Vaishnavas, such as passing resolutions saying, 'Do not go to this Vaishnava', is this Vaishnava-Dharma??? Then, is it coming together? Therefore we should always respect Vaishnvavas When we are supposed to give respect to all jivas, then what to speak of respecting all Vaishnavas? That is why this offence is number one in the list of offences to the Holy Name. Be very careful never to commit such an offecne. Instead, we should always try to respect Vaishnavas. This is where we start from in the very beginning. One who is unable to give proper respect to the Vaishnavas has not yet come into the madhyama-adhikari stage. He is only a kanistha-adhikari. Taking this conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we can preach His glories all over the world and for these reasons, it is essential that we should unite. We must give up our selfish desires and then only we become qualified to preach the vani of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Prabhupada under their guidance. Vaishnavas like parama-pujyapada Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaj, parama-pujyapada Sridhara Maharaj, parama-pujyapada Bhakti Dwaita Madhava Maharaj, parama-pujyapada Bhakti Gaurav Vaikanath Maharaj, my guru-maharaj, and Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj are all vaibhava -- extensions of Prabhupada. When Prabhupada descends into this world, his associates also join him. But if we criticize one of these personalities, and then respect another, it is not good. We should give proper respect to everyone and try to preach Vaishnava-dharma. We should also sit down together and finalise the accurate dates for fasting according to our Vaishnava calendar for both within India and outside India."
I Then Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Maharaj spoke about the cooperation necessary between Vaishnavas in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy. He explained, "Vaishnava does not mean fighting spirit. On the contrary, Vaishnava means no fighting spirit. Therefore, we should all take shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Guru, Sri Gauranga and Sri Harinam."
Bhakti Vallabha Tirtha Maharaj (President Acarya of Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math) then spoke. "It is my great opportunity to accept this invitation to come here today to this auspicious gathering of the Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha -- Srila Jiva Goswami's great vision. I am grateful to Bhakti Alok Paramadvaiti Maharaj, Bhakti Bikash Sajjan Maharaj and Govindanandana Prabhu for their expert arrangements and preparataions for this historical meeting." He extolled the fact that Srimad Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj, "my dearmost Shiksha Guru", is the President of the World Vaishnava Association. And then added, "When you have quantity, you decrease your quality. If you want quality, you must sacrifice quantity. Gaudiya Math means quality. At the present time, we need quality in the Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha so that its ideals can be spread throughout all Vaishnava missions in the world. Pujyapad Puri Maharaj is the personification of that quality. So, like he, we should be prepared, as Gaudiya Vaishnavas, to sacrifice quantity for quality. Devotees of the highest quality should be attracted to WVA."
Bhakti Alok Paramadvaiti Mj (Secretary of the WVA) then gave a very enthusiastic address to the audience of two thousand at Srivas Angan. "My obeisances to all Gaudiya Vaishnavas. You know, I have been to so many Gaudiya Maths asking for Gaudiya Vaishnava Publications which are out of print and they are mostly not available anywhere. Very few have any of these old treasured publications and because they are so frail and rare, even when they have them they don't feel comfortable to lend them to others. So we were perplexed as to how to solve this problem until Mahaprabhu's mercy descended on us. Now we think we may have a golden solution. We can put all the books (texts) on the Internet computer network for everyone in the world to have access and they shall be preserved on software forever. In this way, the modern technology of computer software can serve the hearts of the future devotee generations on the planet and preserve the lofty treasures of the Vaishnava literature which previously had fallen prey to ants, other hungry beasts and miscellaneous calamities. I am absolutely excited about the prospect and the role that this Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha can play in this important service for Sriman Mahaprabhu.
I would also like to report on our contact with the UN and more specifically, UNESCO. These contacts were made is response to the resolutions passed at our last meeting to establish Vraja-Mandal as a world-wide recognized Heritage Site. According to UNESCO, the possibilities are good that this can be accomplished but we shall have to push the Indian local government authorities to make the first request to UNESCO. Then, we can follow it with more specific ideas and counter-proposals. Now, there is a growing sentiment among WVA members that we should make the same attempt to establish Gaur-Mandal as an UNESCO world-wide HERITAGE SITE."
Paramadvaiti Maharaj made a further point concerning Guru-tattva: He said, "Many devotees are very happy to listen to the praises of one's own Guru, but some of them are not very generous with the felings of other devotees for their respective gurus. We should appreciate the opportunity to listen to praises of all bonafide gurus. Our own guru is praiseworthy no doubt -- but only if the entire school that he descended from is as well, praiseworthy. This is our tradition from our param-guru Srila Prabhupada Thakur Saraswati and we should be mature enough to understand that this is actually the praise of Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself as Guru-incarnate. We come together in the meetings of the WVA to try to overcome these shortcomings in this regard, which continue to prevail." On a similar note, he added, "Many Maths know only about their own Math. They do not allow their devotees to visit other Maths or associate with devotees of other missions. But when their members become disatisfied with this practice of isolation, or when discrepancies start to appear within their mission after the departure of their spiritual founder, then to whom can they turn? This is where WVA has a very important function both to the Math giving such a conception, and also to the devotees."
The next speaker was Bhakti Rasananda Bon Maharaj. He told the gathering, "It is my distinct pleasure to welcome all of you here and to be here myself at this gathering to speak a few words of praise and encouragement. I offer my obeisances to all the Gurus and sadhus in attendance. Srivas Angan is a most special venue for it was here that the most intimate pastimes of Mahaprabhu in Navadwip took place nightly for one year -- the naga-kirtans. Thereafter, Mahaprabhu proceeded to preach in Orissa and South India. This Srvas-Angan is, in fact, the exact place where the Chand Kazi broke the Mridungas and tried to stop the kirtan and the Vaishnava movement of Mahaprabhu's day. Instead, he became a great Vaishnava. Srivas Angan continues to fulfill this function in the present era. Today, we have come to know about some miscreants who have wanted to stop this auspicious programme, but despite all their attempts of the past month culminating in today's very un-vaishnava-like behaviour, the movement of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could not be stopped. We should know the desire of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, that in every corner of the world the Holy Name shall be spread. So we have seen that today. May the mercy of the great Vaishnavas and Sriman Mahaprabhu be ever with this effort of the World Vaishnava Association to revive the Visva Vaishnava Raj Sabha of Srila Jiva Goswamipad and unite all the Vaishnavas from all missions the world over.
"Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta sent Bon Maharaj to London to preach the Bhakti cult for four years in 1930's and the first European mission was etablished and continues yet today. In the Battle at Kurukshetra-dham, there were hundreds of Kauravas on one side and only five Pandavas on the other, but because Lord Krishna was the charioteer for Arjuna on the side of the Pandavas, they could not be defeated. Simlarly, the attack on our efforts today by police serving notice of court orders, etc., is all for nought. Those responsible have already lost the mercy of our Supreme Lord Sriman Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis. What more calamity will befall them we cannot wonder? The Holy meetings of the Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha is Krsna's wish, it is His organization because it is serving all the Vaishnavas -- even those who are attacking it--to wit, two days before the Gaudiya Sannyasi leader of these miscreants who tried to disrupt this meeting was invited to address this same assembly by Hrishikesh Maharaj, and instead of coming in a direct and noble way to make his objections, he sent the police. However, the District Magistrate overturned the court notice in the same afternoon on the sober plea of the Math-in-Charge, Govindanandana Prabhu. So, no one can stop this auspicious gathering." Bon Maharaj hesitated a moment, he smiled and then, completely unannounced, in a display of profound sensitivity, he began to spontaneously lead a wonderful, soothing kirtan for the pleasure of the Thukurji, Sriman Mahaprabhu of Srivas Angan. The entire assembly of Vaishnavas as well spontaneously joined in without instruments culminating in Bon Maharaj himself dancing on the stage to the joy of all in attendance.
Then the Math Acarya of the host temple, Srivas Angan, Bhakti Bikash Sajjan Maharaj spoke the following sweet words: "Vaishnavas are the ocean of kindness and the wealth of this world. They have infinite mercy on us and purify us with the cooling shade of their holy lotus feet. When the soul (and not the material mind) surrenders to a Vaishnava and chants the name of Krishna under his guru's direction following his devotional mellows --- Then, at the time of that soul's departure from this material world, he becomes an associated counterpart of the ideal object of his worship in Braja and thus attains the summum-bonum of Nama-bhajana. The Vedas have described the spirituality of the Name of Krishna to be the hghest Truth. All the Vedas have manifest from this name. This name is bliss (ananda ), this Name is the highest salvation, this Name is the noblest final beatitude, eternally existing, intellectually the highest and this Name alone is the brightest remembrance of the soul. Name is the seed, the ripened fruit of the Vedas, the supreme Object of the souls's worship and is identical with the Supreme Lord Himself. As such, we should all come together to push on this great Vaishnava tradition of the Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha as our param-guru Srila Prabhupada envisioned and cherished. When I read what my param-guru said in regard to the Visva Vaishnava Raj Sabha referring to my own Gurudev, this inspired me to give my full support in this endeavor. Here, I quote from Srila Prabhupada, 'That supermundane personality, that is, my most affectionate Kunja Bihari, will bring about an extensive growth of the tree of Sri Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha spreading its branches and twigs over the whole land and wafting incessantly the kirtan or the chanting of the fascinating Lila of Sri Radha-Krishna.' I pray that this Mela will be an annual event here in Srivas Angan."
Thereafter, Bhakti Niloy Giri Maharaj, a disciple of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, addressed the assembled devotees: He mentioned the re-establishment of the Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha by Bhaktisiddhanta in 1919 on the appearance day of Srimati Vishnu Priya (Feb 5, 1919) with a big sankirtan of devotees. "On that auspicious occasion, Srila Prabhupada also lectured on the ancient history of Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha. Before this, many Gaudiya Vaishnavas did not know about the past historty of the Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha and Srila Jiva Goswamipad." So, Giri Maharaj told the audience, "I would like to read you a report appearing in the 21st Volume, 9th issue of the Sajjana Toshani weekly magazine of the Gaudiya Mission about that historic meeting." After finishing the reading (a full report of which is included in this issue under the title, "History of the Vishva Vaishnava Raj Sabha"} Sripad Giri Maharaj begged forgiveness from the Vaishnavas for any mistakes he may have committed.
Bhakti Prashad Madhusudan Maharaj, a disciple of Sripad Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj, then gave a short address telling, "It is my great fortune to be in this historical place of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and it is all the more auspicious that I have got the chance to speak in the association of all these pure souls, acaryas and devotees. I am impressed with the words of Bhakti Vallab Tirtha Maharaj about the effects of aspiring for quality and quantity. If you aspire for quality, then your quantity is diminished. At the present time we need for the Visva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha, very good quality devotees who can inspire the learned people and advanced devotees to take part in our activities. It is Paramadvaiti Maharaj who has come from such a long distance who has organized this wonderful opportunity for us all, so we must be very thankful for his vision.
Bhakti Prakash Hrishikesh Maharaj then spoke to the gathering offering some thoughts for the future. "It is certainly a great pleasure to be here in Srivas Angan -- a place of inspiration for all Vaishnavas where Sri Chaitanya Maharabhu held his nightly kirtans. I would like to commend the respectful Sripad Bhakti Bikash Sajjana Maharaj for his gracious vision to invite us, and Govindanandana Prabhu, Jaya Krishna Prabhu and Vrajendranandan Prabhu for their careful preparations for the assembled Vaishnavas. We have heard many excellent speakers tonight extoll the virtues of the noble attempts of the Vishva Vaishnava-Raj Sabha -- commonly known as the World Vaishnava Association. Most all of the exalted speakers have mentioned the glories of Nambhajan, Hari-katha, the chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord as an indispensable necessity for our forward vison in the Vishva Vashnava- Raj Sabha. And I can see that this is also a practical necessity.
Today, in Mayapur, that is, right here in the holy dham, we have problems with intoxication, licensed prostitution and many gunda-like activities going on. We could easily pursue some thoughtless course like going to court to get an injunction against them but that would only bore us ad-nauseum and in my opinion, be an utterly useless pursuit rewarding only the lawyers. From the speakers whom I have been priveledged to hear tonight, another idea has come to me by the grace of the assembled Vaishnavas. I want to suggest to the holy Vaishnava members of the WVA to draw up a resolution to begin nightly kirtans in areas near to Mayapur Ghat where this activity is rampant. This auspicious activity conducted over a period of a several months might reduce or even eradicate this unfortunate development of illicit (but legally licensed) activity and give the devotees Nam-kirtan service at the same time. This will be using maximum advantage of our Guru-varga to convert this illicit activity to Vaishnavism -- both the Holy Name and naga-kirtan exemplified and advocated by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Gaura-Haribol."
The last speaker was the master of ceremonies, Bhakti Vaibhava Sagara Maharaj who told the audience, "This has been a historical first to hold this great meeting in Srivas Angan -- we hope that it will continue year after year. We should be proud of this beginning. In spite of all the calamities with the police coming today, this attempt has perservered by the grace of Sriman Mahaprabhu. Now let us take all these good talks of Hari-Katha to heart and let them manifest themselves according to the desires of Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga."
The audience was then treated to a further fine bhajana from the Srivasa-angana devotees followed by a dramatic rendition of the Lila of Prahlad and Narasinghadev.
FOR RESOLUTIONS AND PROPOSALS
TIME: One day before the 5th World Meeting of the WVA on Wednesday, the 6 th of November 1996, at 10:00 AM.
PLACE: Office of the WVA
146 Gopeshwara Road
Vrindavan, UP, India
Telephone 442 172 (outside India 091-565)
INVITED PARTICIPANTS: all Founding Members or representatives of Founding Members of the World Vaisnava Association.
To Discuss issues in common as they relate to current resolutions on the WVA docket, new proposals already submitted for consideration and new proposals not yet submitted --- all decisions and opinions of the majority are to be submitted to the Membership the following day for deliberation, recommendation and possible ratification.
PROPOSALS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSIDERATION:
1. Proposal by B.P. Hrishikesh Maharaj, Malaysia, Indonesia and Bulgaria -- Sri Chaitanya-Mudrani Mission: to Make joint Harinam Parties on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Road in Mayapur, especially in areas affected by sinful life (in the Ghat area) in order to lodge a trancendental protest against the wrong activities going on in the Holy Dhama (i.e., licensed prostitution).
2. Proposal by Kriparama das. WVA Internet coordinator. Get special Vaisnava Litherature on line in the Internet.
3. Proposal by Sripad Govindanandan das Brahmacari, Srivas Angam. Organization of the 1997 WVA Mela. The WVA will sponsor again the next WVA Mela in Srivas Angan with free booths for exhibition and sale of devotional paraphernalia. All Vaishnava missions are requested to take advantage of this facility to glorify their Spiritual Masters and to increase their preaching for the international audience in attendance. In the material world, there are exhbitions where those who are interested in a special trade commodity will come together to exhibit their newest productions. Since Lord Nityananda has opened the Nama-Hatta market place, the WVA is organizing this Mela as a transcendental preaching trade fair. Whoever participates in this Nama-Hatta trade should not be miserly and withold his latest advances from the visitors. And he should also come forward to look to see if some other empowered agent of Lord Nityananda may have received some innovative preaching idea which he is eagerly willing to share with others.
4. Proposal by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaj: To create a common publishng company for and by the WVA members which can publish Vaishnava literature. This company should also function to promote and distribute Vaishnava literature of the WVA members. He also proposed to create the perfect Vaisnava calender for all WVA members.
5. Proposal by Sripad Sagar Maharaj of Mayapur:
Make a list of medical servants of all missions, who are willing to help the ailing disciples of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, and possibly other elder Vaisnavas in emergencies with detailed information how someone may approach them.
6. Proposal by B.A. Paramadvaiti : To establish in Srivas Angam Mayapur a permanent news exibition of WVA activities for all Mayapur devotees, since most of them have no acsess to the Internet and need to be informed about all activities. The same type of Newsboard shall be kept in the WVA offices in Vrindavan
7. Proposal Sriman Krishnananda das A. Hungary: To invite the Iskcon sponsored Sarasvata Gaudiya Vaisnava Samelan to send their representatives to the WVA meetings to coordinate the practical work of all similiar projects.
RESOLUTIONS UNDER DISCUSSION AND EXPANSION
1. Proposal of Ramesh das , Costa Rica Gaudiya Math: Research and apply for World Heritage list. Enlistment for the holy Vaisnava Dhamas Vraja Mandal and Gaura Mandal
2. Proposal by B.A. Paramadvaiti ---- Adobt a temple program
3. Proposal by B. A. Paramadvaiti --- Sister temples with cooperation between different members of the WVA.
NEW PROPOSALS TO BE SUBMITTED
Further proposals can be sent or brought to the meeting on day before Rama Ekadasi in Vrindavan at 10 Am. The next day the accepted proposals will be presented to the full meeting for discussion and ratification.
WVA BIO - DATA
This column will be a regular presentation of the WVA Newsletter each issue listing three of the prominent disciples of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada. If you have any pertinent biographical data on any of the Saraswati Gaudiya preachers, please submit by post to the WVA office at the address in Vrindavan, UP.
After the departure of Prabhupada many of his disciples excelled in protecting the dignity of this divine line. Of course it is well known that not everything went smoothly in the transition period after the departure of Prabhupada. Even some of the great disciples of Prabhupad had to practcally start independently new missions after his departure. They may have been considered as well, rebels in those days by the established missions. But as time has shown, things were quite different. Today, those great preachers form the stallwart preaching of the Gaudiya mission. They stand as the orthodoxy of this discplic line and protectors of the siddhanta of the Gaudiya mission and the preservers of the true spirit of compassionate preaching.
Preachers who shall be presented in this column in due course:
Pujyapada Srila Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaj
Bhakti Dwaita Madhav Maharaj
Bhakti Rakshaka Sridhar Maharaj
Bhakti Prajnan Kesava Maharaj
Bhakti Promode Puri Maharaj
Bhakti Hridoy Bon Maharaj
Bhakti Vedanta Swami Maharaj
Bhakti Kevala Audulomi Maharaj
Bhakti Bichar Jujuvar Maharaj
Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj
Bhakti Gaurav Vaikhanas Maharaj
Niskincana Krsna Das Babaji Maharaj
Bhakti Kamal Madhusudan Maharaj
Bhakti Alok Paramahansa Maharaj
Bhakti Shodhaha Ashram Maharaj
Bhakti Pradip Tirtha Maharaj
Professor Nishi Kanta Sanyal
Bhakti Kusham Shraman Maharaj
Bhakti Sharan Shanta Maharaj
Nayanananda Das Babaji Maharaj
Please excuse any inadvertent ommisions in this list. It is not complete but we need your help to complete it. Please submit further names, photos and histories as your heart dictates for consideration on our list.
FIRST WVA INTERNATIONAL MELA
Srivas-Angan, Mayapur, 1996
The First WVA Mela was held in Srivas-Angan from 28 Feb. to 5 March 1996 by invitation of Sripad Bhakti Bikash Sajjan Maharaj. Initial preparations were made by the Math-in-Charge, Sripad Govindanandan Prabhu, and Jai Krishna Prabhu arranged the publicity and extensive pandal coverage of the entire grounds. Further to that, the advance party led by Sripad Vrajendranandan arranged for the details prior to the arrival of the main party. Solicitations of participants in the First Transcendental Spiritual Trade Fair were sought through the publications of the WVA and on the Internet. In this way, over fifteen missions were represented by display tables exhibiting their respectvie publications and other transcendental paraphernalia. The missions represented at the Mela were as follows:
1. Vrnda Mission and branches - India & Latin America
2. Rupanuga Bhajan Ashram (Mayapur)
3. August Assembly (Srila Sridhara Maharaj Books & Tapes)
4. Sri Gopal Jiu Publications - Bhuvaneshwar
5. Sri Chaitanya Mission - Orissa/Vrndavan
6. Gopinath Gaudiya Math - Mayapur
7. Nectar Books - Union City, California
8. Keshava Gaudiya Math - Mathura
9. Institute of Vedic Studies - Bogota
10. Chaitanya Math - Mayapur
11. Hungarian Vaishnava Association
12. Bhaktivedanta Ashram - Vrndavan
13. Sri Chaitanya-Mudrani Mission - Bulgaria/Malaysia/Bali
14. Srivasa-Angana Mandir
15. Mandala Media - San Francisco
16. Gaudiya Vaishnava Society - Vrndavan
17. Gaudiya Sanga
Besides the mission tables with books, their was a special exhibition area for varnished prints of Krsna´s divine pastimes published by Palace Press (New York/San Francisco). The pandal erection was a first-class, low hanging pandal for the entire area of Srivas-Angan (about 10,000 Square Meters) which cast a nice shade over the area and subtended high winds very well.
Every night, pandal programmes featuring bhajans and lectures (hari-katha ) and transcendental dramas were performed for over two thousand people nightly. For the entire seven-day programme over 15,000 people attended. The many bhajan groups were led by the expert vocalist Ram Das Adhiram Prabhu, Sachinandan Prabhu, Bhakta Andreas, kirtaniyas from Narottam Sampradaya, Srimati Nandarani Vairagi and Mahavadanya Prabhu (Russia). Lectures were given by Bhakti Prasad Puri Maharaj, Ananta Prashad Mungheer Raj Babu, Bhakti Vaibhav Sagar Mj, Bhakti Rasananda Bon Maharaj, Bhakti Alok Paramadvaiti Mj . The Drama group represented was from Navadwip, the Sanjay Opera Group. They presented the Lila of Narasinghadev and Hiranyakashipu. The Narottam Das group presented the Torjia (debate) drama
About ten days before Gaura-Purnima, a court order was received through the post giving notice that the Mela and WVA meeting could not be held in Srivas-Angan. The notice was submitted by the leading Acarya from another Gaudiya Math who was presently contesting (in another court) the Math Guardianship of Srivas Angan. Although upsetting to both Sripad Sajjan Maharaj and Govindanandan Prabhu, they decided that they would go ahead with the plans for the Mela. The subject was brought to our attention a few more times before the Mela but nothing came of it. Then, the Mela Exhibition and kirtan/lecture programmes began without any disturbance. On the second of March, Sripad Paramadvaiti Maharaj and Hrishikesh Maharaj visited the sannyasi leader who instituted the court order and requested him to make a presentation at the meeting itself of the WVA to be held on 4 March two days later. They left some of their publications and pleaded with him to consider their invitation.
On the day of the Mela, at about noon, the police came to serve the notice of the court order. After staying for about two hours, they left satisfied that they had served their masters. Immediately, Govindanandan left for Krishnagar and the office of the District Magistrate. After speaking with the DM for only a short time, the Magistrate rescinded the court order and allowed that the Mela should continue.
Srivas Angan, the historic place where the Chand Kazi had sent the police to break the Mridungas, had once again become the place where the attempt to stop the unified preaching of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu´s movement failed. The first WVA Mela ended as a very nice succes showing a great potential for an increased participation in the future. Most missions submitted material for the WVA home page on the Internet. The demonstration computerof the WVA home page was surrounded by devotees throughout the mela.
WVA CHAPTER NEWS
This article is a regularly appearing feature of the semi-annual WVA Newsletter. In the last issue we gave some reports from the European Mela in Hungary, the Dutch and Malaysian results of their first Chapter meetings.
Anyone wishing to start a WVA Chapter in his region of influence should please contact the Secretary of the WVA,
Srivas Angan, Mayapur, West Bengal, India. Anyone who aspires for the service of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga as their life and soul and is interested in beginning a WVA Chapter with this ideal are invited to correspond with us. We can send you some vital material to help you to get started.
The President of Vrinda Mexico, Sripad Ashtika Prabhu, recently invited all the Mexican Vaishnavas to an inaugural meeting of the Mexican Chapter of the WVA. The meeting was held on January 13 and 14 at a rented hall in Mexico City -- a government house of the state of Coahuila. Besides devotees from the Vrinda mission, there were also devotees attending from ISKCON and also from Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. There were a number of Vaishnavas in attendance who were not affiliated with any mission presently. Speeches were delivered by senior Vaishnavas in attendance including the temple President of ISKCON, Chitshukananda Prabhu. Over 100 devotees were in attendance including Indradyumna Prabhu, a disciple of Sridhara Maharaj, who delivered a remarkable speech on the nature of Vaishnava relationships to the assembled devotees. Duija Hari, a disciple of Bhaktivedanta Swami also gave a speech reminiscing about Swami Maharaj's pastimes. The programme included two Drama presentations by the Vrinda temple devotees followed by sumptuous prashadam distribution on each day.
The outcome of the meeting was a huge success with hopes from all Vaishnava missions for further cooperation and a resolution to hold Chapter meetings regularly.
THE SECOND ALL-HOLLAND WVA MELA
Following the First Mela organized by Tirthakara Prabhu last August, a further Mela was organized by Sripad Jnanaraj Prabhu to the delight of all the devotees in December 1995. Speeches were delivered by senior Vaishnavas in attendance Tirthakara Prabhu, Sripad Hare Krishna Prabhu and Sripad Hayeshwara Prabhu. The Third Holland Mela was scheduled for early 1996 as the attempt begun by Tirthakara Prabhu has been recognized by the senior Vaishnavas to be an indispensable aid in our continuing struggle with the Kali-Yuga societies.
ISKCON MAYAPUR SAMMELAN
It was happily noticed that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) also developed awareness in 1996 of the benefits to have a positive relationship (the 100th anniversary of their Gurudev) with the other disciples of Srila Saraswati Thakur and their followers. For the first time, they invited Acaryas and leaders of other Gaudiya missions to meet in Mayapur to try to increase cooperation. All the Gaudiya Math members in attendance were World Vaishnava Association members who took advantage of that meeting to offer their respects to Parama Pujyapad Srila A:C: Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj on his centennial anniversary. Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu put forth a popular proposal to make a Vyasa-Puja edition for Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur.
The WVA Newsletter appears twice a year.
This first issue for Gaura-Purnima 1996 was compiled by Swami BP Hrishikesh and Swami BA Paramadvaiti.
Also visit our home page on the internet
As the Gaudiya Mission has always used Newsletters, magazines and melas to broadcast their transcendental messages about the glorious amorous pastimes of our Lord Sri Krishna, so we now urge you to join our World Vaishnava Mela on the Internet
The Internet is an electronic-based informatioln circuit connecting all the universities of the world and millions of private parties to the biggest database in the history of the world. It is actually an electronic library from which you can access a plethora of information just as you would in a normal library from a card catalogue.
The WVA has a page on this network and this operates like the index of a book--as such it can access an unlimited amount of information on your mission and it can contain on file, all of your mission's publications. It only depends on you to make the information available to our address:
WVA INTERNET contact
4138 NW 23RD AVE
OR, if you already have access to the Internet, you can send the E-mail to the following Internet address:
1. Guru parampara with photos if possible
2. Worshipful Deities in your temple(s) with photos
3. Contact address and services offered at that address.
4. List of all publications of your mission (translate non-English titles to English please)
5. List any periodial publications
6. Any other information you deem pertinent about your mission.
We prefer to receive material on disc if possible and it will expedite our service immeasurably (which is free of charge). We can work with colour pictures and in the future, video clips and recorded messages.
WVA office - Miami
WVA Home Page