World Vaishnavite Association
(est. 1994)
   The World Vaishnavite Association was formed in 1994, in large part to heal the splintering that had occurred around the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in the years following the death of its founder, Srila A. C Bhaktivedanta Swami PRABHUPADA (1896–1977). ISKCON taught a form of devotional (BHAKTI) yoga in the tradition of CHAITANYA Mahaprabhu (1486–1533). ISKCON had been the leader and role model for this form of worship in the 20th century. It rapidly expanded during the 1960s, but in the years since Prabhupada’s death in 1977, the organization has faced a variety of leadership problems and experienced a number of schisms in different parts of the world. Additionally, new organizations emerged in India from the GAUDIYA MAT H, the spiritual home of Prabhupada prior to his founding of ISKCON.
   The World Vaishnavite Association was formed to address issues and heal the divisions that had occurred within the movement. Despite unity of faith and practice, numerous differences concern-ing organization and the nature of leadership existed. Some groups thought that the leadership style followed by Sri Prabhupada should continue and that current SWAMIS should be venerated in the same exalted manner as Prabhupada. Others thought Prabhupada unique and eschewed any veneration of the current GURUS. More than two dozen factions emerged.
   Efforts began in the 1980s to gather together the factions. Gradually the idea of forming an association emerged. At a meeting in 1994, the group convinced the 97-year-old Srila B. P. Puri Maharaj to take charge of the association. They also invited the leaders of splinter groups to par-ticipate. In February 1994, they published the initial copy of a periodical. The World Vaisnava Association Newsletter was distributed to every group from the Gaudiya Math lineage to keep them apprised of developments. In November 1994 a founding meeting was held with 120 participants. Twenty-eight ACHARYAS and SANNYASIS became founding members.
   The WVA does not facilitate guru-student rela-tionships; nor does it create ASHRAMS. Its role is to promote the teaching and spiritual enhancement of SANATANA DHARMA, the vital and legitimate teach-ings of Hinduism. Its theological approach is the-ist, a belief in a personal deity that deserves love and veneration. The WVA tries to help communi-ties through troubling times in the regions where it has a presence and to promote missionary efforts outside India. The WVA attempts to medi-ate between affiliated groups. Any ISKCON-based group can join. The headquarters of the associa-tion is in the sacred city of BRINDAVAN, India, the mythological home of KRISHNA.
   Further reading: World Vaisnava Association. Avail-able online. URL: http://www.wva-vvrs.org/. Accessed August 16, 2005.

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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