More than half a month into the Russia-Ukraine war, India came to know of a Ukrainian soldier who swears by Krishna. Apparently, Andre belongs to the Iskcon fold, in the company of which he has visited Mayapur and Vrindavan.
While attrition has set in the minds of soldiers fighting on both sides, with the troops on either side struggling to keep the morale high as they clash to take control of Ukrainian cities. Amidst such dark times, soldiers are finding novel ways to keep their spirits up, says OpIndia.
Andre, the Ukrainian soldier, is seen reciting “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare” using beads of a rosary he carries in his uniform — to remain calm and composed amidst the ongoing conflict.
Andre told an Indian media house that he chanted Hindu shlokas every day without a miss to attain more strength as he prepares himself to defend Kyiv against the Russian attacks in the ongoing war. Speaking to Aaj Tak and India Today, Andre said he was an ardent devotee of Krishna and shlokas to boost his confidence.
Andre, seen in military gear with an assault rifle, said he learnt the mantras 25 years ago when he joined the ‘Hare Krishna’ movement in Kyiv. Andre said he discovered the concept of bhakti and Vedanta by reading books and Hindu scriptures. Andre is a former professional athlete.
The Ukrainian soldier said the shlokas of SrimadBhagavadgita gave him the strength to fight against the Russians.
The Ukrainian soldier said further he had visited India twice and added that he was not a Kshatriya (warrior) but wanted to defend his homeland Ukraine from Russian attacks.
There is a thriving — albeit small — population of Krishna devotees in Russia as well. Watch: