We are nearing the 10-year anniversary of VINA – the first years of Vaishnavism entering the Internet age! It was a time of many transitions. Internal difficulties in some missions went public through the famous VNN Vaishnava News Network, which was originally started with the idea of helping to unite Vaishnavas by Kriparama Prabhu. As devotees started to send their respective complaints, VNN turned into a forum to indiscriminately publish topics which were not meant for a WVA forum. Thus with the help of Tusta Krishna Prabhu and Anandamoy Prabhu of the Chaitanya Mission, VINA was started to report in a very impartial way about the activities of all Vaishnava missions. For the sake of humanity, all frictions and negative situations were left aside to be resolved at local levels of concern.
VINA's main purpose was to demonstrate that all the people who follow the Vaishnava tradition are in essence one fantastic group of servants of humanity and thus their founders and principle teachers are highly qualified to give direction to the troubled world to get out of the plight, both individually by practicing bhakti yoga, and collectively by adopting the principles of individual responsibility and the recommendations of Dharma on a larger scale. Nothing could disturb that message more than to report about individual failures or power struggles in any particular mission or temple. Human failures are always to be found amongst neophytes, but the contributions of the four Vaishnava sampradayas and especially of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are shining brightly, opening the way for a discovery of the values of theism, the way of all-embracing love, free of dogma and ecclesiastical confusions.
And that mesage of divine love, that ancient spirit of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and more recently, that of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, was brought to the attention of the entire world by Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
To carry that dignity to the awareness of the world and to obtain acceptance for the preachers of Vaishnavism in the different missions, VINA was established. VINA was transferred to Vrindavan where VINA webmaster Gaur Kesava Das has protected and promoted its policy for many years.
Meanwhile, VNN started to change and became a one-mission promoting agency until it went into passiveness. Also other Vaishnava missions ventured to report about the Vaishnava world but did not leave the compound of concern of their respective mission, or preferred to focus only on particular topics. Forums like chakra.org, dipika.org (discontinued), harekrsna.com/sun, dandavats.com and a few more started to bring modern communication of Vaishnava missions into the Web. It may also be mentioned here that many people showed their incapacity to deal with such a forum by allowing even foul language to enter their discussion boards. Hence VINA has stood alone to maintain a joyful and positive appreciation of all good efforts done by any Vaishnava mission and providing a stable group of reporters who are now pushing to expand VINA's activities into the already existing VINA Spanish site. Using this article as a medium, we invite Vaishnavas who like our service to expand VINA at least in the form of a blog, into more languages so that people in others countries can also get these informations. VINA Bengali, VINA Hindi, VINA Telugu and VINA Russian are also being prepared for launch in the coming days. And of course there is a standing invitation to all missions to participate in the diverse VINA and WVA activities, especially by reporting about the nectar coming from your Guruvarga and the activities, discoveries or productions made in your respective missions.
By the grace of the six Goswamis and Lord Gauranga, VINA will continue to accompany the growth of Vaishnavism in the service of humanity for much time to come. Those who like to help in this effort are invited to contact the VINA webmaster.
Swami BA Paramadvaiti
VVRS-WVA Internet Committee