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Slavic Vedism, Slavic Hinduism, or Neo-Vedism or simply Vedism, are terms used to describe the contemporary indigenous development of Vedic forms of religion in Russia, Siberia, other Slavic countries, the Commonwealth of Independent States' members and generally all the post-Soviet states.
Hindu religions were spread to Russia and the other Slavic countries since the 1970s, particularly by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, growing significantly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Missionary swamis from India helped the reactivation of Vedic fire rituals, and Slavic Vedism arose as a distinct phenomenon in the 2000s.
Slavic Vedism involves the use of Vedic rituals and worship of ancient Vedic deities, distinguishing from other Hindu groups in Russia which have maintained a stronger bond with modern Indian Hinduism, although Krishnaite groups often identify themselves as "Vedic" too. Also, some syncretic groups within Rodnovery (Slavic Neopaganism) use the term "Vedism" and worship Vedic gods, but mainstream Rodnovery is characterised by its use of indigenous Slavic rituals and Slavic names for the gods.
The monastery-academy "Collection of Mysteries" (Russian: Собрание Тайн, Sobraniye Tayn) based in Nizhny Novgorod is the foremost representative institution of the Slavic Vedic movement; however, many other groups are active. An International Commonwealth of Vedic Communities (Russian: Международное содружество ведических общин) assembling Vedic groups in Russia, the CIS, Europe and India was established in 2009. They mostly adhere to the Advaita Vedanta and Laya yoga philosophies.
International Commonwealth of Vedic Communities
The International Commonwealth of Vedic Communities (ICVC) (Russian: Международное содружество ведических общин, МСВО) was founded in 2009 by participants of the annual All-Russia Advaita Vedanta Congress. Its aim is to represent a commonwealth and cooperatove body for all Vedic communities on the territory of Russia, the CIS, Europe and India.
Some International Commonwealth of Vedic Communities's goals are:
- Maintaining, enriching, augmenting and spreading classical Vedic Dharma in Russia and worldwide through the principle of "identity in diversity";
- Promoting the revival of classical Vedic spiritual and cultural tradition of liberation path (moksha) as well as Vedanta philosophy and honouring the saints on the territory of Russia and worldwide;
- Carrying out joint congresses, festivals, exhibitions, seminars, retreats;
- Publishing of joint magazines, newspapers, books and almanacs;
- Founding joint cultural centres, museums, scientific research institutes, libraries;
- Constructing temples and temple complexes, pilgrimage places, monasteries, spiritual educational institutions, Vedic settlements, retreat and meditative centers as well as yoga, ayurveda and Vedic astrology centers;
- Organising prizes and contests that will contribute to the development of Vedic philosophy in Russian language.
Collection of Mysteries Monastery-Academy
The monastery-academy "Collection of Mysteries" (Russian: Собрание Тайн, Sobraniye Tayn) was founded in 1995 by Swami Vishnudevanand (or Vishnu Dev), a native Ukrainian, who in 2010 was endowed with the title of mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara in India. The monastery is located in Nizhny Novgorod on a compound called "Divya Loka" (Divine Place, Russian: Дивья Лока). Its main temple is the Temple of the Seven Rishis, built between the years 2009 and 2010.
The monastery has branches and centers in cities of Ukraine and Russia: Berdyansk, Odessa, Mariupol, Simferopol, Dnipropetrovsk, Kiev, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Monchegorsk, and others, and hundreds followers among in the CIS. The doctrine and philosophy of the monastery and academy is based on most ancient texts of the Veda and philosophical treatises Adi Shankara.
Institute of Rishi Vasistha
The Institute of Rishi Vasistha is the scientific-research and educational institution, the establishment of which was blessed by Swami Vishnu Dev, its purposes are:
- Research of the history and culture of the ancient Aryans (Indo-Europeans);
- Research, comprehension, scientific interpretation of the philosophical heritage of Rishi Vasistha and other great saints;
- Publication of books on the philosophy of Advaita;
- Translation of the sacred texts of Vedanta, Yoga, Tantrism, preserving the heritage of the saints;
- Popularization of the philosophy of Advaita, Vedic philosophy and psychology in Russia and abroad, conducting scientifically-philosophical conferences.
"Arya Loka" (Russian: Арья Локу), meaning Aryan Land in Sanskrit, is a projected Vedic holy city (likened as a "Vedic Vatican" or a "European Varanasi") to be constructed on the territory of Russia by the year 2025. The city is deemed as a manifestation of the Pure Land, the Divine Land of "Divya Loka". It will be build in accord with a sacred architectural principles of the Vastu shastra, as a mandala with four entrance ways and eight petals.
The city will house residences for all famous spiritual teachers of the Vedic, Neo-Vedic and other traditions. The city will see the construction of one thousand and eight temples dedicated to gods and saints of various Vedic traditions. Arya Loka will rebind European and Eastern cultures together in a Neo-Vedic culture.
During an excavation in an abandoned village in the Volga Region in 2007, archaeologist Alexander Kozhevin unearthed an ancient Vishnu idol.[no citations needed here] The idol dates back between the 7th and 10th centuries.[no citations needed here] Before this discovery, Kozhevin had already unearthed ancient coins, pendants, rings and weapon fragments. The village, Staraya Maina, had been a densely populated center approximately 1,700 years ago.[no citations needed here]
This discovery fueled interest and research in the origins of the Slavic peoples, the Aryan (Indo-European) peoples, in connection to what is told about them in the ancient Sanskrit epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, and in the Rigveda.[no citations needed here] The archaeological site of Arkaim also contributed to the growth of interest in a Vedic past of Russia.[no citations needed here]
- Michael F. Strmiska. Modern Paganism in World Cultures. ABC-CLIO, 2005. p. 222: «In addition to Ukrainian Paganism, Russian and Pan-Slavic varieties of Paganism and "Slavic Vedism" can also be found in Ukraine».
- Portal "Religion and Law". Монастырь «Собрание тайн» или «Дивья лока»: второе пришествие индуизма в России?. 2013-04-30
- Robert A. Saunders, Vlad Strukov. Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2010. p. 412
- Kaarina Aitamurto. Russian Rodnoverie: Negotiating Individual Traditionalism. Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, 2007.