VFA News and Activities
This page lists various news, happenings, activities or accomplishments that the VFA and its members have been involved in. Starting with the most recent news and activities, it will lists various news items chronologically. Our members are always involved with many projects, speaking engagements, or in writing books and so forth. So these are just a few of the highlights.
Stephen Knapp Finishes Indian Lecture Tour
For the month of September and early October of 2009, Stephen Knapp lectured on various aspects of Vedic Culture. He gave around 90 lectures to over 76 different institutions, mostly colleges and universities, in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Coimbatore, and Goa. It was almost like a marathon, but many doors were opened and many students were able to be inspired by a Western speaker who had taken such interest in their own Vedic traditions. This was something they had not usually seen before. This was the fifth lecture tour Stephen has gone on in India.
Stephen Knapp's Book Spiritual India Handbook Receives a Positive Review in the Hindustan Times
VFA Mexico Conference
April 2007-Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico: A call for enhanced Mexico and India relations and for an effective response to the challenges of a globalized world was made at the International Symposium on the Social Sciences, Globalization and the Cultures of Resistance. It was held 4/24-28/2007 in Saltillo, Mexico. Saltillo, also known as ‘la Atenas de México ' or ‘the Athens of Mexico’ is the traditional home of many leading Mexican luminaries. The international convention drew attendance from India, USA and regions throughout Latin America and included many representatives from the Coahuila State and Saltillo City Cultural and Education Depts, local scholars, journalists, artists and students. The symposium was held on the grounds of State Central Public Library ‘Biblioteca Publica Central Estatal Ildefonso Villarello Velez’. For more information and photos, CLICK HERE.
VFA Conference in Jaunpur, India
"Achieving Excellence through Ethics and Human Values in Management"
We are very pleased that our fellow VFA member Dr. Shiv K.
Tripathi had organized a well received conference on "Achieving Excellence
through Ethics and Human Values in Management" in Jaunpur, India. This is a great endeavor and we are glad to hear of its success. A full report has been included below, as supplied by Shiv K. Tripathi himself. For full details, CLICK HERE.
Three VFA Writers on Grosse Pointe Cable Promoting the New VFA Book
On March 9, 2006, Robert Taylor hosted on his Grosse Pointe Cable (in Michigan) television show called "Out of the Ordinary and Into the Extraordinary" with both Stephen Knapp and George Vutetakis about the new VFA book, "Vedic Culture: The Difference it can Make in Your Life". All three are contributing authors to the book and spent the whole half-hour show speaking about it and the ways Vedic culture can improve the lives of all who participate in it. George is also a famous chef in the area, and spoke about the Yoga of cooking. Below is a view of them on the set of the show. Robert is on the right, Stephen in the middle, George on the left.
"Spirituality Beyond Religion", The Second Gathering of the Elders by the ICCS
The International Center for Cultural Studies (ICCS), an affiliate organization of the VFA, put on a grand conference to acknowledge the great old and indigenous cultures of the world in Jaipur, India during February 5th through the 10th. VFA members Stephen Knapp, S. D> Youngwolf, and ICCS coordinator Yashwant Pathak were all participants. A full report and some photos are included in the report, which can be read by clicking here.
The VFA had a Strong Presence at the Dharma Summit in New Jersey, August, 2005
The VFA had a strong presence for the Dharma Summit of August, 2005, with several members giving significant talks and lectures, or even poems by Jeffrey Armstrong. This was a giant step forward for creating more unity among the major Hindu organizations and noted individuals. For three complete reports on the Summit, click here.
Michael Cremo Interviewed by George Nori on Coast to Coast AM
Michael Cremo was again interviewed by George Nori on June 14, 2005 on the mysteries of the true history and development of humanity, countering the Darwinian theory of evolution. This show is the most popular night talk show in the U.S. with listeners that number over 10 million. He is on this show on a regular basis.
Jeffrey Armstrong on Canadian Radio
Jeffrey Armstrong was interviewed by Bill Richardson, a CBC reporter, on the topic of Chanting. This was broadcast June 11 & 12, 2005 on radio stations 690 AM and 105.7 FM respectively. Be sure to visit his website for continuing courses and programs that he gives on a regular basis.
Stephen Knapp Has Article on Northeast India Published in Hinduism Today
In the January, 2005 issue of Hinduism Today published the article by Stephen Knapp on some of his travels in Northeast India, called, "Fighting to Preserve a Tribal Heritage". This describes some of his work in his travels throughout Northeast India to help the people there to preserve their heritage and culture, in spite of the growing threat from the Christian militant groups who force Christianity on the tribal people there. You can read it by using this link: http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/2005/1-3/62-65_tradition.shtml
British Association of Vedic Astrology Conference, April, 2005
Andrew Foss will be overseeing the 7th International Conference of the British Association of Vedic Astrology will be held in Central London April 14-17, 2005 at our beautiful and historic venue. The leading speaker is Dr TS Vasan, perhaps India's best Jyotish teacher who will be giving a workshop on the 14th as well as two lectures. One of India's top singers will also be performing for us and Komilla Sutton will be leading an (optional) trip to the Greenwich Observatory including a boat trip down the Thames. Please visit www.bava.org for details. These conferences happen on an annual basis.
First Major VFA Conference
The VFA had its first major conference in the US On October 2-3, 2004. Only two years after incorporating, the VFA had a small but eventful conference with over 30 active members of the general Hindu Dharma community participating. It was held under the good graces of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati at his ashram in Pennsylvania. Several important issues were discussed. The difference was to develop action plans to resolve or work on such issues so that an ongoing strategy would be developed to continue dealing with the needs of the general Hindu community, and the means by which we can further preserve, protect and expand the Vedic traditions. A full report is available by clicking here.
Expanding Vedic Programs in Florida
In other news, VFA member Yogi Harinam Baba Prem Tom Beal is taking Vedic chanting and Vedic meditation workshops to Ocala, Fl, Gainesville, Fl (University of Florida is located here), and Ormond Beach/Daytona Beach, Florida, and Deltona, Florida.
These programs will be happening from April-June, 2004. While these are smaller communities, it will be wonderful to bring Vedic teachings to the area for people to experience and become educated about them. It could lead to additional programs.
The VFA Mission Tour of Nagaland, Manipur and Assam
(Posted February, 2004)
VFA members had a unique seminar in Hyderabad on December 15-16, titled "Global Hinduism in the New Millenium". Speakers included Dr. Shankar Tattvavadi, Jeffry Armstrong, S. D. Youngwolf, Vrindavana Parker, Michael Cremo, Isvara dasa, Basu Ghosh dasa, Parama Karuna devi, David Frawley, Stephen Knapp, and Mr. K. S. Sudharshan.
VFA members Stephen Knapp, S. D. Youngwolf, and Vrindavana Parker also had a most successful tour of Northeast India to help encourage the continuance of the native and indigenous cultures and traditions there. They received much press coverage and reached many thousands of people in their seminars, talks and press conferences.
A full report can be viewed by clicking here, [VFA Tour of Northeast India, 2003].
Vrindavana Parker's report on his Northeast Tour can be read by clicking here [Vrindavana in Arunachal 2003]
VFA Members Hamsavatar das and Yogamaya dasi Establish New Rishikesh
Nestled in a lush valley of the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico, USA,
protected by mountains all around and situated directly on the pristine Pecos
river lies New Rishikesh. New Rishikesh is in a region of great natural beauty
offering varieties of recreational opportunities including hiking and horseback
The main house of this beautiful 3 acre property features a temple room and yoga studio where regular programs and classes are held. There is also a small ayurvedic clinic in a separate building. New Rishikesh is the home and inspiration of Hamsavatar das and Yogamaya devi dasi. Hamsavatar, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, is a Vedic astrologer and internationally renowned ayurvedic gem therapist. Yogamaya devi is an accomplished yoga instructor, ayurvedic practitioner, reflexologist and nutritionist. In this idyllic setting they have developed vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, a large pond with ducks and geese and also maintain several horses and even 3 vegetarian dogs.
New Rishikesh is located near the city of Santa Fe. On October 27, 1968, Srila Prabhupada himself visited Iskcon Santa Fe, one of the first 6 temples opened in the world. Here, in one of the world's most important areas for new age thought and alternative healing, the devotees have been teaching Krishna Consciousness through the Vedic sciences of jyotish, ayurveda and yoga, which are becoming increasingly popular all over the western world. The devotees hold workshops, teach classes and give personal consultations. They plan to eventually buy an adjacent 100 acres to build a large complex which will facilitate retreats and regular classes in the Vedic sciences, house a large temple, a school for children, a guest house and restaurant, and which will provide facilities for cows, horses and gardens. Importantly, prime land will be set aside for devotees' homes.
Due to the great diversity of the people of New Mexico, the state government is unusually sympathetic to alternative lifestyles and cultures. Thus, Hamsavatar and Yogamaya devi are beginning to work with the state government in the hopes of making New Mexico the first state in the USA to fully legalize the medical science of ayurveda. Once achieving this goal the hope is to eventually expand the ayurvedic clinic at New Rishikesh into a diverse and world-class healing center.
Immediate plans call for the opening of a Govinda's restaurant in nearby Santa Fe within the next 12 months. The restaurant will provide employment opportunities for a number of devotees. Some profits will help to fund a Food-For Life program in northern New Mexico. We are very interested in finding a devotee or couple who would like to become a partner in the restaurant project. Investment capability can be discussed.
Devotees interested in New Rishikesh are invited to correspond with Hamsavatar by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at 505-757-6194. Yogamaya may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the same telephone number.
Dr. Rosser Talk on Treatment of India in American Schools
(Posted August 21, 2003)
On August 23, 2003: Dr. Yvette Rosser gave a talk, from 6: to 7:30 pm at the Fair Oaks Community Center, 540 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Sunnyvale, California on the subject of the treatment of India as a subject in American schools. Admission is free. Dr. Rosser's study, an analysis of the treatment of India in the American secondary social studies curriculum, includes a study of the negative impact that the standard essential presentation of India, in American classrooms, has on the identity formation of American high school students of Hindu descent. The talk is sponsored by the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh: http://www.hssworld.org.
The VFA Had A Big Presence at the Global Dharma Conference
Several members of the VFA had been invited to attend the Global Dharma Conference at
Speakers from the VFA at the Dharma conference included: Dr. David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) [talking on is moksha adharmic, and chairing a panel discussion on faiths and traditions], Stephen Knapp (Sri Nandanandana dasa) [talking on spirituality in everyday life], Jeffrey Armstrong [talking about the personalities of the Mahabharata], Yvette C Rosser [talking on misconceptions of dharma], Professor Subhash Kak [talking on consciousness, cognition and quantum theory], Andy Fraenkel (Sankirtana dasa) [creativity and sacred story-telling], and Surya Das YoungWolf [on the Native American experience and a performance]. This was the largest collection of affiliates from one group at the conference. Plus, there were numerous people that we met with, many of whom were most interested in the activities of the VFA.
The VFA also coordinated the production of a video documentary of the event,
which included the team of Vrindavana Parker
as production manger
& anchor, Award Winning
Documentary Director & Editor, Ricardo Lobo, Script writer &
Interviewer – Simone – from Brazil, photographer Kristina from
Texas, and Elizabeth
to help with audio & visual also from
The VFA members also met with the Indian
Ambassador-at-Large Dr. Bhishma Agnihotri for a productive meeting.
Along with other events VFA members and friends will also participated in an interactive
session of Hindu-Jewish-Sikh groups over dinner for a concerted effort to
increase unity between them.
Also of great assistance was the VFA Coordinator, Vishwa Vijai who was invaluable to the VFA efforts.
VFA Members Help with the Conference on Cultural Preservation in Northeast India
In December of 2002, several members of the VFA attended and gave talks at the Janajati Conference for Cultural Preservation in Guwahati, Assam. This was at the invitation of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati of Coimbatore, India. The members included David Frawley, Stephen Knapp, Vrin Parker, Yvette Rosser, Surya dasa Youngwolf, and Andrew Foss. These talks, which were on the importance of preserving the Vedic and indigenous cultures of the region, were well received and also distributed through tape recordings. Their presence also received much news coverage. From Guwahati they also traveled to various towns throughout the region, known for its troubles with militants, to visit various tribes and give additional talks wherever they went. For additional information you can click on these links:
To read Stephen Knapp's detailed account.
To read the account of Surya dasa.