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An Appeal to the Devotees of Ukraine and Russia

By: for ISKCON News on March 20, 2014

Bhakti Vijnana Goswami

ISKCON devotees in Russia and Ukraine have had quite a turbulent time in the past month with the revolution in Ukraine. Due to this situation Bhakti Vijnana Goswami has recorded an appeal to the devotees of Ukraine and Russia. 

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"I would like to say a few words about the situation in Ukraine and Russia. With great pain and anxiety I have been following the development of the situation, and feel the need to call upon all the Vaishnavas to ensure that, before discussing this conflict, we should keep in mind the basic, fundamental principles of the Vaisnava philosophy.

We must remember that all living beings, regardless of nationality, are part and parcel of God. The pain of any living being is our common pain, we are all closely connected, and it is impossible to find happiness at the expense of pain and suffering of others.

Vedic philosophy primordially insists on the unity of all living beings, unity among themselves, solidarity and unity of living beings before God. The nature of the living entity is to be an eternal servant of God.

It is very painful to see Vaisnavas engage in online fights in social networks just because their views on the political conflict are opposite.

Of course, this is the age of Kali which is playing out its scenario. The age of Kali is referred to in the Vedic scriptures as “the age of hypocrisy and hatred”, and its most important weapon becomes the weapon of propaganda, of  the media, most recently the Internet.

We know that truthfulness is considered to be the last pillar of religion in our age, and now it is being undermined. Lies penetrate into our hearts through the media. They generate hostile feelings and hatred in the heart, and that is completely opposite to what people should cultivate in this life - the opposite of love. That is horrible and unforgivable, because it leads to bloodshed of innocent people.

But even more appalling is that thousands and thousands, if not millions of people get involved in this story and start to insult each other, quarrel with each other, thus losing the battle with the age of Kali.

I would like to remind us once again what our beliefs are. We profess a religion of peace and love. We want to live in the country of love, in the realm of love, and in order to do that we must banish from our hearts envy, hostility, anger. There should be only good feelings in our heart that will reveal themselves naturally, once we are able to keep our mind fixed on our unity, on the higher unity of all living creatures before the Creator. The Upanishads say: “Vasudevam Kutumbakam - the whole world is one big family.” And we as Vaisnavas are especially closely related to each other. Srila Prabhupada really made us one big family, regardless of what our beliefs may be in secondary matters of this material world, one big family, really cemented by the ties of love and spiritual kinship. This is the most precious thing that we have - the spirit of service, the spirit of love, the spirit of mutual help.

Today, as Vaisnavas, we must try to serve as an example of peaceableness, loyalty to our principles and at the same time, nobility. We have to show an example of compassion based on the sublime principles of Vedic philosophy.

Having shared all these thoughts with you, I would like to express my confidence that no external events will prevent us from remaining a single family, grateful to Srila Prabhupada for having shared with us this elevated knowledge."

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