Today this question that can Krishna consciousness make this world a better place to live in is quite relevant especially when there is war between Russia and Ukraine.
Thousands of miles away from the battlefield of Europe, I am not the right person to comment on the Russia Ukraine war? Also, I am not a geopolitical expert to analyse the war which has caused massive humanitarian crisis. If we believe just the west and the western media, then Russia or rather Putin is the culprit. But there are people quite good in number who believe that it is because of the policies of the western countries in Ukraine which provoked Russia to invade Ukraine, its immediate neighbour. Putting aside all these cacophonies, the truth is that people including the soldiers of both the countries are dying, children are becoming orphans, people are leaving their homes and fleeing to refugee camps. Everyone is suffering. No sane man can justify the war or Russian invasion.
Currently the war is in Europe, but few months back it was in Afghanistan. Many wars on large scale or small scale are happening in different parts of the world. Some are extensively reported, and some are not.
Vedic scriptures describe the symptom of the present age we are living in
When I see the precarious situation of the world then my faith in the Vedic scriptures increases. Just read Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 12, entitled, The Age of deterioration. Its 2nd Chapter, The Symptoms of Kali Yuga, gives a vivid description about the condition of the present age in which we are living. What we are seeing today across the world is mentioned in this chapter.
The chapter says that “in this age the qualities of tolerance, mercy and truthfulness deteriorates. Law and justice are applied only on the basis of power. And the rulers are greedy and merciless.”
This is what is happening across the world. And we should remember that the period we are now living in is the beginning of Kali Yuga. The situation will become from bad to worse in future. Kali Yuga is also described as “the age of quarrel and hypocrisy.” People suffer a lot in this age – physically and mentally. Srila Prabhupada writes, “In the modern age most countries have developed economically, but due to business exchanges, relationships seem to be strained. Finally wars are declared between nations, and as a result of these upheavals there is destruction all over the world, and people suffer heavily. (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 5.13.13 purport)
Is there any solution?
So, is there any solution to this menace or we have to silently suffer?
Vedic scriptures not just talk about the problems we have to go through but also provides a tangible solution to these problems.
The holy Vedas say that the period we are living in is bad, no doubt about it, but one good or rather great thing about this age is that in this age attaining the grace of God is easy. And how to attain that grace is revealed by God himself through the scriptures.
Lord Krishna appeared as Lord Chaitanya to teach us how to attain love of God. According to him in this age, if we just chant the names of Krishna then we will attain Krishna. So, easy! He asked us to chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. This great mantra will purify our heart of all the evil propensities and will take us towards Krishna. Lord Chaitanya deputed acharyas like Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami to spread the holy names of Krishna. Few decades back, Srila Prabhupada, a great devotee of Chaitanya, tried his best to make the world Krishna Conscious.
Can Krishna Consciousness stop Russia Ukraine war?
Now the question is how Krishna consciousness is relevant to Russia Ukraine war? Will chanting the names of Krishna stop all the conflicts in the world? And Can Krishna Consciousness stop Russia Ukraine war?
I don’t know. I do not have data to prove this. And also, I am not a pure devotee to confirm this.
However, based on some of my experiences I can say that Krishna Consciousness makes us a better human being, creates a better society, provided we are sincerely practicing it.
One of the most famous statements which I heard again and again when I got introduced to Iskcon was “Prabhupada built a house in which the whole world could live happily.” Practically I saw this when I first went to Iskcon Mayapur. There I saw people of different nationalities, religion, race, gender living together peacefully and also blissfully. Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, blacks, whites all stay together there. No religious or racial discrimination. You can see them singing, dancing, laughing, joking, eating together. Devotees forgo all their material identities and come together to chant and glorify the Lord. Because while doing so they experience great satisfaction and happiness.
Another example, I remember is when I attended ISKCON Leicester Rath Yatra in UK. For the Rath yatra inauguration, devotees had invited one prominent UK government official. If I recollect correctly, he was the mayor of the city. While inaugurating the festival, he said a very interesting thing. He said that what surprises and inspires him the most about the festival is that he sees whites and blacks coming together to celebrate the festival. There is no discrimination based on colour of the skin.
During this terrible Russia Ukraine war, there are several reports emerging which says that the people who are trying to flee Ukraine are being discriminated because of the colour of their skin. There is separate queue for black and white at the border. And the blacks complain that they are not being treated well.
But if you visit any Iskcon temple in any part of the world, you won’t find any discrimination. Black, brown, white stand in the same queue, sit together and hold each other’s hand and dance for the pleasure of Krishna.
Krishna Consciousness will make this world a better place to live in
So, as I said earlier that I do not know if Krishna Consciousness can stop war or solve the political issues of the world. But one thing it will do is that it will make us a civilized human being. Devotion to Krishna purifies our consciousness, we then see others as our brothers and sisters. And none of us ever want to kill or even harm our brother and sisters, if we love them.
When Srila Prabhupada as a young man first met his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, in 1922 then his spiritual master told him that Krishna consciousness is emergency, it cannot wait for anything else. Because if people are not Krishna Conscious then they are in terrible consciousness. And such terrible people become enemy to the humanity.
But if people seriously practice Krishna Consciousness, then they become a well-wishing friend of all and then the world will become a better place to live in.