Far away from the grim reality of the war that is witnessing Russian forces pounding the Ukrainian cities with bombs, the pilgrim town of Puri in Odisha acts as a unifier rather than a destroyer.
When both Russia and Ukraine are at the loggerheads over issues that apparently could not be resolved through talks, nationals from both countries were united under the aegis of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in Puri and prayed to Lord Jagannath for the peace to prevail in their respective countries.
The preacher, Avadhuta Maharaj, a Russian national, who was seen imparting knowledge from the verses of Bhagvad Gita to his disciples of both Russian and Ukrainian descent said that war is necessary for the peace to prevail.
“Even Arjun had to fight for Dharma. Lord Krishna has said in the Gita that you fight but you think about peace. Without fight peace is not possible in this world. But if you have a good heart like Arjun, you can have peace even during the fight,” he said.
Referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Avadhuta said, “Everybody wants peace. The Ukrainian people too love Lord Jagannath. But it is their ‘Karma’ like killing animals, killing cows and chickens that has brought them miseries. But after the war finishes, everybody will be happy and the Supreme Lord’s name will prevail.”
“We believe in the concept ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. We are all one family under Lord Jagannath’s blessings. So here in Puri, we do not discriminate between Russians and Ukrainians. We consider each other’s families as our own,” he concluded.
It is pertinent to mention here that Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and the fight is still on even after over 40 days, with neither of the countries wanting to negotiate with the other.