Hare Krishnas in the former capital of Bolshevism

So I was walking down the street in Moscow Monday when my new aquaintence Testa, an ethnic Indian now studying in here, pointed out the Hare Krishna temple near Khodinko Field.  The “temple” was actually a combination of trailers and other temporary housing in the kind of makeshift structure elementary schools put up after a natural catastrophe.  Only in this case, the catastrophe was caused by the Russian Orthodox church and the stolid workings of the government bureaucracy.

Russian Hare Krishna followers have been trying to build a temple here for years but have run into opposition from the government, which sympathizes with the Russian Orthodox Church as the traditional national faith.  I was told that now most of the bureaucratic hurdles have finally been cleared and a real temple will soon be built.

We decided to check out the temple and wound up seated in a circle around a Russian devotee who lulled us into a stupor with his gentle religious entreaties and philosophical musings.  “Religion without philosophy is fanatacism,” he began (in Russian), “and philosophy without religion is empty words.”

We finished up the lovefest by singing the Maha Mantra and eating coconut baked goods.

No converts were made that day, but I do have to respect the Russian Hare Krishnas, who are still trucking after years of Soviet, and now Russian, government oppression.  Since Russian Orthodox is now becoming a de facto state religion due to the happy cohesion of its anti-Protestant direction with the government’s anti-Western streak, I’m all for anything that will prick the little toe of the Russian Orthodox giant.

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