The Wonderful Devotees of Irkutsk, Russia – Indradyumna Swami Nectar
In a video describing his recent travels in Irkutsk, Russia, His Holiness Indradyumna Swami discussed there are about 500,000 people in the city itself, which used to be a major trading post between China and Europe. ISKCON, Indradyumna Swami mentioned, has been present in the city since the early 1990’s. There are presently a little more than 300 active Devotees there and a large congregation as well. The Devotees have constructed a beautiful temple there, and they have a Gurukula and a daycare center for little children.
The Russian government imposed restrictions on what they call “new religious movements” which has made preaching in these areas difficult, Indradyumna Swami admitted. He said that in most of our centers and most temples in cities there is no harinam or book distribution allowed, and foreign missionaries cannot preach or teach the public. They can only inspire the devotees already there at the local centers. So that is a setback, Indradyumna Swami mentioned.
However, some of the temples in some of the cities have good relationships with the government and they are allowed to do a little harinam. One such place is the city of Irkutsk. The Devotees there go on harinam three times a week in the winter and in the summer, every day. Indradyumna Swami said he is very impressed with the Devotees there, and he said:
“When I come to places like this, the remote areas of Russian and Siberia, the devotees are so wonderful I feel like I am coming to get association.”
Indradyumna Swami said that Srila Prabhupada set the standard in this regard. He came in the early 1970’s to Moscow and that seed has grown into a beautiful tree producing so many fruits and flowers of beautiful Devotees. All glories to these Devotees!
Excerpt came from a video of Indradyumna Swami available on his official youtube channel.