Today (7/2/14) I received an email from a friend of mine in Ukraine. A portion of it is reproduced below along with my reply.
A Devotee Writes:
Just today devotees of your Math, … who live in Eastern Ukraine Lugansk area, called me to explain the horrible civil war situation there. You can talk with them directly to find out the truth and I can help in interpreting. He seeks from senior devotees guidance what to do now because he fears for his children, wife and parents as well as for other devotees of his town. He says in brief that regular Ukrainian army uses heavy artillery such as howitzers, large-caliber mortars, multiple rocket launchers, warplanes- bombers etc. to bomb civilians in populated settlements. They destroyed hospitals, schools, residential houses and multi-storied buildings, buses with people etc. Opposing them are local civilians who took weapons to protect themselves and their families. No Russian troops are available there to help them. They awaited military help but Russia was pressed by sanctions and cannot interfere.
Srila Giri Maharaja Responds:
My dandavats Sriman _______ ,
“Everyone is free to do as he feels best, but I am doubtful that devotees will benefit in any way by taking any strong political positions against one side or the other publicly. I do not see any profit from taking part in public demonstrations except to do Hari Nama Sankirtana and preach the message of Sriman Mahaprabhu.Especially we should try to keep some special respect for the devotees of Krishna, even if they disagree with us politically.”
Therefore, unless you believe you can withstand the arrows of Bhishma, or the bullets of the modern day warriors, it will be prudent to avoid the battlefield.
During WWII, when Calcutta was being bombed by the Japanese, I recall Srila Prabhupada saying he sat in his home and chanted japa while the sound of bombs could be heard exploding near his home. He might have gone to Navadwipa, where he sent his sons for their safety, but his wife, despite the bombing, refused to leave Calcutta and he remained there with her.
Srila Prabhupada: The whole Calcutta became vacant. Perhaps only myself and a few others remained. I sent my sons to Navadvipa-of course, my daughter was married. My wife refused to go out of Calcutta. She said, “I’ll be bombed, but I will not go.” So I had to remain in Calcutta. I have seen bombing in Calcutta all night. I was just eating when there was the siren. So, the arrangement was that… in your house would be the shelter room. I was hungry, so I first finished eating. Then I went to the room, and the bombing began. Chee-Kyam! I was thinking that this was also Krishna in another form. But that form was not very lovable.
Archbishop of Canterbury:
In every quarter of earth men long to be delivered from the curse of War and to find in a world which has regained its peace, respite from the harshness and bitterness of the world they have known till now. But so often they want the Kingdom of Heaven without its King. The kingdom of God without God. And they cannot have it.OUR RESOLVE MUST BE BACK TO GOD. We make plans for the future for peace amongst the nation and for civil security at home. That is quite right enough and it would be wrong to neglect it. But all our plans will come to ship-wreck on the rock of human selfishness unless we turn to God. BACK TO GOD, that is the chief need of England and of every nation.
This is actually the civilisation of Nescience or illusion and therefore civilisation has been turned into militarization. Everyone is fully concerned with the comforts of the body and everything related with the body and no one is concerned with the Spirit that moves the body although even a boy can realise that the motor-car mechanism has little value if there is no driver of the car. This dangerous ignorance of humanity is a gross Nescience and has created a dangerous civilisation in the form of militarisation. This militarisation which, in softer language, is Nationalization is an external barrier to understanding human relations. There is no meaning in a fight where the parties do fight only for the matter of different coloured dresses. There must be therefore an understanding of human relation without any consideration of the bodily designation or coloured dresses…. Without light, any amount of speculation of the human mind (which is also a creation of the material nature) can never restore the living entities to permanent happiness. In that darkness any method of bringing peace in the world… can bring only temporary relief or distress, as we can see from all creations of the External Potency. In the darkness non-violence is as much useless as violence, while in the light there is no need of violence or non-violence.
Swami B.K. Giri