Our News/Press Releases
Date: Oct 6th 2018
VFA is proud to annouce our participation in the World Hindu Congress 2018 event in Chicago Sept 7-9th, I am Benny Tillman from Atlanta, and I was invited as a speaker to the World Hindu Congress 2018 held in Chicago, to commemorate 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s famous address to the Parliament of world religions in the year 1893 in Chicago. It was both a privilege and honor to be amongst the galaxy of Hindu leaders and activists, who are tirelessly working or Dharma and the wellbeing of Humanity. I am a practicing Hindu from the past 45 years, my spiritual Sanskrit name is Balabhadra Bhattacharya Dasa. Being the Executive-President of Vedic Friends Association, it was my firsthand experience that this great gathering of people representing different races and countries, who call themselves Hindu, was a great success.
There were 60 countries represented and more than 2500 participants staying together for three days. There were ample opportunities for meaningful networking, learning, and sharing without any prejudice but showing only love and duty in every action. The event was run professionally. Great leaders spoke. Politicians like Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi and Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. Professors like Dr. Subhash Kak and Dr. David Frawley. Business leaders like BR Shetty, Bollywood actors like Anupum Kher. Many women leaders and youth leaders. It was a mini-Kumbha mela, bringing the best out of each one of the participants. Most importantly, the commitment and dedication to Dharma were on full display. For all things great, there are always detractors. I found some biased news articles circulating around criticizing the organizers for being racists, equivalent to the KKK. This is simply not true.
The fact that the organizers allowed me coming from an African-American background to speak to the audience along with other African Hindu leaders from Africa like Sena Attoh from Ghana, confirms the organizers' concept of diversity and inclusion. Not only we were invited to speak but also given respect and honor. As Hindu Dharma considers everyone in this world as brothers and sisters, enumerated in the concept of “Vasudeva Khutumbakam” Some anti-Hindu protestors misguided by wrong perceptions, sneaked into the venue without permission, disrupting the proceeding, creating an unsavory situation. However, they were dealt with the utmost kindness. As per the security arrangement, they were removed from the audience as per the norm. I wish and hope all those who have negative views on Hindu Dharma to come and experience and you will not be disappointed.
The writer is the Executive President of the Vedic Friends Association. A group run by Vedic Hindu Yoga leaders, speakers, writers, mentors, and activists, who are committed to the principles, practice, preservation, protection, and promotion of Dharma in all its dimensions.
Date: Jan 15th 2018
Vedic Friends Association (VFA) is proud to announce Benny J Tillman (Balabhadra Bhattacharya Dasa) as the President of the VFA organization beginning Jan 1st, 2018. Previously he was a director of VFA Atlanta, Tillman is the first African American President of the organization. The Vedic Friends Association (VFA) is an international body of people who have embraced the Vedic culture or deeply respect the Vedic vision and way of life, including its systems of yoga, meditation, pranayama, languages and literature, Ayurveda, astrology, vegetarianism, forms of worship and spiritual knowledge. The VFA is committed to the promotion and preservation of Vedic heritage, civilization, and culture. It was formed in 2002 in Detroit, MI. Tillman is an avid reader and preacher of Bhagavath Gita, the ancient sacred Sanskrit text from India, holy to a billion-plus people, his specialization is engaging the youth in Dharmic activities in many of its dimensions.
He is very eager to network with likeminded people and organizations for serving their socio-spiritual needs.He is a direct disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Tillman joined the Hare Krishna Movement in 1973 in Atlanta and has since traveled extensively in India and other parts of the world practicing and teaching the ancient Vedic philosophy. Prior to joining the Hare Krishna Movement, he was a successful entertainer in the Atlanta music scene during the late ’60s and early ’70s. Tillman served as president of the Atlanta Hare Krishna Temple for more than eighteen years.
Tillman is one of the most respected leaders in the Atlanta Hindu community, having served that community for more than 40 years. He frequently gives lectures at major Hindu events as well as lectures at local universities such as Morehouse, Emory, Georgia Tech, and Clark Atlanta universities.
In his own words “I am looking forward to creating a signature VFA program in Atlanta in August 2018, which will show cause the true spirit and dimensions of Vedic Hindu Dharma. We also plan to take this up in other parts of the USA as we gather strength. I am thankful to our previous president Stephen Knapp (Srinandanandana Dasa) for forming and managing the VFA organization since 2002 and bring to a state where we can further this organization. I am looking forward to the guidance of the VFA board of directors, comprising of Chairman David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri), Co-Chairman Stephen Knapp (Srinandanandana Dasa), and Co-Chairman Jeffrey Armstrong (Kavindra Rishi)”
Vamadeva Shastri (aka David Frawley), who is the Chairman of VFA, says “VFA is the first western Vedic association that brings together all serious-minded students and teachers in the Vedic field. It addresses Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda, Jyotish, and all aspects of Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma.” Over the last two decades, VFA has created a firm foundation for future growth with a dynamic and experienced team of instructors and guides. Now VFA is launching several important new initiatives to take the organization to a new and transformative level of expansion and development where Tillman will be in charge of it is as the Executive President of VFA.
The vedic knowledge system provides the foundation of cosmic knowledge for the dawning global era. They show us how to live a life of higher consciousness according to dharmic values. As such, they are relevant to everyone in all walks of life, as well as proving professions of their own as Vedic educators, counselors, and guides. In this new knowledge and information era, the Vedic knowledge system provides the key to take our human understanding to a universal level.
VFA has established a network of Vedic practitioners from a diverse assortment of Vedic traditions who could work together to help show the ways that these traditions have to offer for humanity to reach their higher potential. Conferences organized by the VFA and attended by interested parties to discuss various points on how to spread an honest understanding of the Vedic traditions have been successful. Separately, many VFA writers/lecturers have been invited and gone on lecture tours in India to help show the influence of India's ancient Vedic culture in the West, which was very inspiring to the Indians who attended. VFA has established a monthly journal which helped explain various aspects of the Vedic traditions to members who subscribed to it. This allowed more exposure for the VFA writers to promote their work, and for subscribers to learn deeper levels of the Vedic traditions.
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