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.