Eastern Family, Part I: Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism: Intrafaith Organizations

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Eastern Family, Part I: Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism: Intrafaith Organizations


Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America

217 Deerfield Dr.
Berlin, CT 06037

The idea of a cooperative world structure for Hindus was first proposed in 1964, and that proposal led to a gathering in India in 1966 at the time of the great Kumbha Mela festival. The First Hindu World Conference attracted some 25,000 attendees and included participants from the United States. An American branch of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad formed at that conference was established in New York in 1970.

In the United States, the organization has focused upon a number of programs aimed at providing fellowship for Hindus of different ethnic and religious groups, cultural programs for children, cooperative celebrations of Indian festivals, and the furthering of Hinduism both within the Indian American community and among the public at large. It has also developed several relief projects and sponsors medical facilities in India.

The Parishad holds an annual national conference. It has organized local chapters in different locations around the country which hold regular meetings.

Periodicals: Hindu Vishwa.


World Vaisnava Association

No. 154. Gopeswar Rd., Mohala
Vrindaban 281 121, India

The World Vaisnava Association grew out of the global expansion of the Chaitanya form of Vaisnava Hinduism based on devotional service which had been initiated by the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in the mid-1960s. As ISKCON grew internationally, especially in the eyars immediately following the death of its founder Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada (1896-1977), the organization splintered and new organization emerged in India out of the Guadiya Math. The Guadiya Math ahd bene the organization with which Prabhupada had been associated prior to his American sojourn.

Founded in 1994, the World Vaisnava Association hoped to overcome the many divisions that had formed from the Guadiya Math and heal many of the hard feeling that had developed between some of the movement's branches. Various ISKCON groups had differed over issues of guru leadership. Members asked whether the guru's who succeeded Prabhupada should be venerated in the same manner that he had. Other guru's had problems with the governing body that assumed headship over the international movement. A few turned to teachers (gurus) associated with the Guadiya Math for new leadership.

Efforts to founded WVA grew from initial meetings in Vrindavan, India, between several former ISKCON leaders with B. V. Tripurari Swami, B. G. Narasingha Swami, and B. A. Paramadvaiti, revered Indian leaders in the Chaitanya community, to discuss the possibility of founding a new organization as an expression of unity. At one meeting in 1993, several decisions were made. They agreed to approach Srila B. P. Puri Maharaj, then 97 years old, the senior most Vaisnava then alive. He eventually agreed to become the first president of the proposed organization. They also decided to invite the leadership from all the different related groups to participate as founders of what would become the World Vaisnava Association.

In February 1994, they issued the first copy of the World Vaisnava Association Newsletter and sent it to all of the ISKCON-related groups. A founding meeting was held in November 1994. Among the 120 people present, 28 acaryas and sannyasis became the founding members. The founders saw the WVA as continuing the moribund Visva Vaisnava Raj Sabha that had been founded by Srila Jiva Goswami in the nineteenth century.

WVA sees its task as promoting the real Hinduism Sanatan Dharma (true Hindu teachings), its theistic approach, and its answers to the problems of contemporary society. It also tries to build respect and fraternal relations between the several member organizations and does not seek to compete with them. Thus, it does not create ashrams nor facilitate the guru-disciple relationship. Any ISKCON-related organization may associate with WVA.

Membership: Founding members of the association with centers in America include: Gaudiya Vaisnava Society, ISKCON, VRINDA, Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Gaudiya Mission, Bhaktivedanta Institute, and Mantra Meditation Hawaii.

Periodicals: WVA Journal.


Swami B. A. Paramadvaiti. Our Family the Gaudiya Math. http://www.vrindavan.org/English/Books/GMconded.html. 23 April 2002. World Vaisnava Association. http://www.wva-vvrs.org/. 23 April 2002.

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Eastern Family, Part I: Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism: Intrafaith Organizations

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Eastern Family, Part I: Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism: Intrafaith Organizations