Moscow Krishna Temple Emergency, Urgent Help
Posted December 2, 2006
In the last 15 years devotees all over Russia have begun actively building their congregations and a Krishna conscious environment for their children. But now their hopes are threatened and they need our help. Please listen to their story.
In 1993, several years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Hare Krishna movement was bursting at the seams. Looking for a place to begin developing a community, one of the stalwart devotees from the communist era, Vidura prabhu, found a former summer camp called "Cosmos", which was available for rent. The place was given a new name "Sukharevo" after the nearest village, and the first Krishna conscious community in Russia was born.
The first winter was a severe struggle without heating or hot water in the intense cold. But despite these great austerities, in January 1994, the first Sankirtana Festival was held in Sukharevo and the community was on its way to become the spiritual and educational hub for the Krishna consciousness movement in Russia.
Gradually, the devotees began developing the entire camp and in 1995 the first large deities of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai were installed. Communication seminars, Bhakti Shastri courses for over 400 devotees and bigger and bigger festivals followed as Sukharevo brought "sukha" or happiness to many devotees who had been moving from place to place for many years.
Today 45 families including 53 children live in the Sukharevo community, fulfilling the dreams we had during the dark days of the Communist oppression of Krishna consciousness.
So, you can imagine my anxiety when I heard a few days ago that this dream is now threatened. All of a sudden, with just a few weeks warning, the government has decided to put up the property for auction. Now, unless the community can raise sufficient funds to buy the property (Moscow's real estate is one of the most expensive on the world), over 200 devotees could lose their homes.
If we don't act now, 20 years worth of development will be lost.
Like, Sasipad das and Iravati dasi came to Sukharevo to raise their children in a peaceful atmosphere of love and devotion amongst Vaisnavas after moving from flat to flat for many years.
Now, without extraordinary measures, they and hundreds of other devotees may end up homeless.
As I write, many leading devotees in the Russian community are pulling together resources from all over the country to save the situation. Investments loans are also coming from sympathetic sources. Still, there is a shortfall of nearly $30,000 needed to make a down payment required at the auction.
During the many years that I had the great fortune of serving Srila Prabhupada's mission in the then Soviet Union I saw the tremendous sacrifices the devotees made to spread Krishna consciousness. I feel that it is the least I can do to offer some small help during this time of their current crisis. It would be such a shame that after so many years of struggle and finally achieving the beginnings of a Krishna consciousness community that all could be lost simply due to lack of funds. The devotees endured the onslaught of the Communists, they stood up for their rights when attacked by other "believers," and now, just because of a lack of money, one of the most important accomplishments in the history of ISKCON worldwide, will be lost if we don't all join together.
If you feel like I do, please take a moment to visit the special appeal website www.moscowtemple.org that has been set up for this and make your generous contribution.
The families, mothers and children of Sukharevo will be forever grateful for your help. Srila Prabhupada will be pleased by your effort to assist and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.