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ISKCON GBC Executive Committee's Letter to Ukrainian Devotee Refugees

By: for Contributor on July 23, 2014

Ukrainian devotee refugee mother with her newborn baby and with what's left of their belongings at ISKCON's Magdalinivka refugee shelter.

Recently, responding to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Eastern Ukraine, the Executive Commitee of ISKCON's Governing Commission released a letter addressed to the Ukrainian devotees affected by the challenging situation:

Dear Devotees of Krishna in the Ukraine, 

Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

On behalf of the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON, please accept our prayers to Lord Krishna for your protection, as well as our deepest affection and concern for your well being. 

We are following the events in Ukraine in the media with heavy hearts. We have heard directly from Niranjana Maharaja about some of the great challenges, dangers and threats that you have undergone. 

By the Lord's mercy many of you have survived close encounters with bomb blasts, militia attacks, and other terrible effects of living with war at your doorsteps. 

We know that the leaders of ISKCON in Ukraine are doing all that they can to assist you and to offer you spiritual guidance in this difficult time. Many of you have relocated, and have had to leave behind your homes, jobs and temple communities. 

Through all this we pray you will continue to take shelter of the Lord and His Holy Name. Krishna tells us in the 8th Chapter of Bhagavad-gita that "From the topmost planet in this material world, down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein birth and death take place."

Yet, we also know that He is the Supreme Controller, Enjoyer and Friend. If we take shelter of Him, He will guide us and protect us through the greatest difficulties---as He did for Arjuna in the Kurushetra war. 

Sometimes it is revealed to us just how terrible this material world is. In the pastimes of Srila Prabhupada we know that he too underwent great tribulations in his determination to serve the Lord. He lost his business, his commentary on Bhagavad-gita was stolen just when he thought he had found a publisher, he was gored by a cow, he later suffered two heart attacks, and much more.

We remember how when he was in Calcutta and the city was being bombed by the Japanese in World War II, Srila Prabhupada commented that the bombs too, were a form of Krishna, but not in a very lovable form.

So, for all of us, and especially our Ukranian brothers and sisters, this time is one of great trial and tribulation. Yet, we know the Lord is always present, and He and His name are our protectors.

Please do everything you can to assure your own safety and that of your fellow devotees. We understand that devotees are opening their homes to give shelter to one another. We commend you all for your generosity and love for each other, and your spiritual strength. 

We are all praying for you, and we pray you will feel the Lord's presence through even the darkest of hours. We know that the Lord's mercy will sustain you.

Your servants,

The GBC Executive Committee

Anuttama das, Chair

Praghosa das

Sesa das

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