Niranjana Swami’s Ukrainian Report to the GBC

March 29–As the battle in Ukraine enters its second month, Niranjana Swami, GBC consultant for Ukraine, addressed the Governing Body Commission (GBC) of ISKCON with a report on Ukraine, the devotees affected, and future planning. The following info is drawn from that report. For the aim of this report, Niranjana Swami defined that as a result of pure relationships with devotees at the moment sheltered in neighbouring areas, some details on these areas, comparable to Crimea, would even be included.

ISKCON has temples, both rented or beneath building, in 32 cities all through Ukraine. There are eight cities the place ISKCON is situated which have seen vital navy exercise. These embody Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Mariupol, Zhytomyr, and Chernigiv. In the cities the place Deities have been commonly worshipped, these Deities have both been secured safely, relocated to a protected place the place the worship has continued with out interruption, or as within the case of Kharkiv, the big Deities have been secured, however the small Deities are nonetheless being worshipped.


Deities and pujaris who have been moved to Mali Lysivtsi village, a devotee farm in Ukraine


The ISKCON Ukraine National Council continues to fulfill commonly. The final assembly was in early March–in the course of the ongoing navy battle. At that assembly, it was determined to encourage all of the devotees dwelling within the massive cities close to navy installations to go away their residences for safer locations. They additionally inspired devotees, wherever they relocate to, to maintain linked with their group and congregation for ongoing assist.


Kyiv is the most important temple and the most important devotee group in Ukraine. Based on the data Maharaja had, roughly 80- 90% of the energetic congregational members (roughly two thousand devotees) have relocated to areas exterior of the navy operation. At the beginning of the battle, lots of the congregational members had moved into or close by the temple. They have now all been inspired to go away Kyiv. There are simply two senior devotees dwelling within the Kyiv temple and about 15 devotees staying close to the temple. Amazingly, Food for Life is constant in Kyiv and is distributing roughly two thousand plates of prasadam a day.


As of March twenty eighth, nearly all of devotees from this space have been evacuated. Maharaja reported that as greatest we all know simply 20 devotee adults and 10 kids stay within the metropolis, however Ukrainian leaders have misplaced contact with them. The navy circumstances have made it unimaginable to reestablish contact with these devotees, regardless of repeated efforts to speak with them. Efforts to contact them are persevering with and fixed.


Lviv has been considerably of a protected haven. The ISKCON constructing was just lately constructed and there are 70 devotees from Eastern Ukraine at the moment dwelling there.

Ukraine Food for Life

Food for Life is constant in main cities together with Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Chernihiv, and Sumy. Approximately ten thousand plates of prasadam are being distributed each day to folks in want.

Approximately thirty thousand plates of prasadam have been supplied to the devotee refugees hosted at varied temple initiatives. This doesn’t embody the a whole bunch of devotees who’ve been accommodated in central and western Ukraine in different devotees’ residences and houses.

BBT and Book Distribution 

There are 4 BBT titles which are quickly going to print in Lutsk, the place there’s a printing press and a devotee printer licensed by the BBT. He is printing 10,000 copies of Beyond Birth and Death in Ukrainian, and Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita Volumes 1, 2, and three in Russian. Even amidst the battle, ebook distribution remains to be happening in some cities in Western Ukraine. Some devotees are on common distributing 30-60 books each day within the metropolis of Chernovtsiy, near the border of Romania.


Book distribution Chernivtsiy, Ukraine


What’s Next

Niranjana Swami said that he’s in common communication with leaders of the ISKCON European Regional Governing Body (RGB). They are planning find out how to greatest present for the present and future eventualities of refugees in Europe. The variety of refugees is rising each day. Poland alone has roughly 800 devotee refugees, largely girls, and youngsters. The yatra’s capability is already over-extended.

Some European leaders are encouraging Ukrainian devotees to journey to different international locations. They are additionally discussing how these devotees might be accommodated and funded for the long-term. Despite the battle, Maharaja, and different leaders, are commonly giving on-line lessons for the advantage of Ukraine devotees. For instance, Niranjana Swami gave an internet class on March twenty seventh to 250 devotees. Maharaja reported he’s additionally in touch with devotees who proceed to plan rescue operations for devotees in harmful areas.

Your Donations

With the assistance of the worldwide monetary assist, Ukraine has been receiving, about 700 devotees have been relocated and supplied private upkeep and requirements like remedy. 255 devotees have been accommodated in Ukrainian temples the place there may be minimal navy motion. The majority of those devotees are being accommodated in an ISKCON rural retreat heart – New Mayapura – which is exterior town of Dnipro. Currently, there are roughly 250 devotees being accommodated there, most of whom are girls and youngsters. This is quite a lot of further folks for the retreat heart, however with the monetary assist and donations, they can present for them.

So far, the worldwide funds which have been obtained have been satisfactory to fulfill the fast wants of devotees.

Niranjana Swami commented, “Gratitude will not be a phrase I may correctly use to specific on behalf of those devotees. Many of them are making movies and writing letters expressing their phrases of gratitude. Some are fairly emotional, some are traumatized, as to be anticipated.”

Maharaja famous {that a} massive concern for the long run is find out how to take care of trauma, particularly for the ladies and youngsters who’ve left their houses, husbands, and fathers, and have change into refugees.


Sunday feast and program in Chernigiv, Ukraine. Chernigivis was closely destroyed however there are nonetheless some devotees left.


He additionally famous that if funds at the moment out there are distributed at this time charge, they may run out in 30 days. Thus extra monetary assist is required, as the speed of disbursing the funds has additionally been rising.

Maharaja ended his report on a somber notice: “It’s additionally essential for us to organize for the long run: some temples and houses might be destroyed and they’ll have to be restored. This is a serious concern within the thoughts of lots of the devotees who needed to vacate. What might be left, and the way will we rebuild?”

Readers wishing to contribute to the Ukraine aid efforts, both by serving to Ukrainian devotees nonetheless of their nation, or devotees who’ve change into worldwide refugees, or to assist ISKCON efforts by distributing prasadam (sizzling vegetarian meals) for others affected by the battle can discover out the place to ship cash to licensed ISKCON websites here.



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