Veerashaiva Samaja of North America (VSNA) was founded in 1978 by Asian Indian immigrants of the USA. It’s a non-profit, charitable and spiritual organization, dedicated to the preservation, protection, and propagation of way of life depicted by Lord Basavanna.
Basavanna, who lived in the 12th century, in Karnataka, India was a social reformer who sought to bring about socio-economic, class, occupational, religious and gender equality through his principles which acted as catalysts for social change. His principles emphasized ‘Kaayaka’ (work is worship), ‘Dasoha’ (service by sharing) and ‘Anubhava Mantapa’ (a parliamentary form of discussion) in which both men and women equally participated and expressed their ideas through Vachanas (literary poems).
Many famous people like Mahatma Gandhi, Vivekananda, and Narendra Modi have admired and adopted Basavanna’s principles. Basavanna’s followers are popularly called Lingayats or Veerashaivas who live in many countries today including India, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and the Middle East.
Started off on a small scale, VSNA now has 21 chapters spread across the USA and Canada and includes over 2000 families who participate in local chapter activities. While each of these chapters organize events locally, many members from all chapters convene once a year for an annual convention.
The purpose of this convention is to provide an opportunity for people including our youth to socialize, discuss Basavanna’s teachings, and continue to find ways to apply these teachings in our individual lives. An effort is also made to explore the Vachanas (literary poems) that carry the wisdom of Basavanna and his contemporaries. Adults and youth will also participate in charity work to serve the local communities.
This year’s annual “Global Basava Convention 2020” is being hosted by the Virginia and D.C. chapter, and will be held on July 2nd, 3rd and 4th 2020 at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, VA.