Third Report from Niranjana Swami to the North American Leaders and Congregation

Date: October 10th, 2023
To: The North American Leaders and Congregation
From: Niranjana Swami
Re: Third Report from Ukraine

Dear Kuladri Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

A few days ago, Radhanath Swami and I were discussing the current situation in Ukraine. He visited for four days in early August. I was there less than a month ago and will be going for another retreat in Western Ukraine from October 16-22. We are expecting about 1,500 devotees for that event.

Radhanath Maharaja said he spoke to you about Ukraine during his visit to the USA. He noted your interest in the topic, so we both decided that it would be a good idea if I gave you an update to share with anyone else who might have a similar interest. I asked Acyuta Priya to share his impressions. He had the following to report:


Ukraine books translation and production

  • We’ve already sent Ukraine 1st Canto of Bhagavatam to printer.
  • 2d Canto expected to be sent to a printer in one month.
  • Just printed new edition 10,000 Ukraine Bhagavad-gitas.
  • Ukrainian Isopanisad just being translated, will be printed in October to be ready for Marathon.
  • Ukrainian Vaisnava Song Book just translated and getting ready for printing. [Acyuta Priya dasa]

New publications in Russian language have been banned since the 1st of the year. The result is that a pre-press team of translators, editors, proofreaders, and fidelity checkers, have been gathered. Many of them are professionals (including university professors) and they are devotees. The efforts of this time are fully approved and supported by the BBT. [Niranjana Swami]


Book distribution

Devotees are going on book distribution daily. On average one person is capable of distributing from 5 to 35 books a day. People are greatly interested in spiritual knowledge. [Acyuta Priya das]

Ekantita-buddhi das

Today is an amazing, unexpected day. I didn’t think that they would take all the books so quickly, although the weather was cloudy and it was constantly raining or not, I was constantly running to and from the subway, and I was also a little sick, nevertheless there was a lot of mercy and blessings from Radha Madhava. (Maybe because today is the first day I learned to serve them at the altar, wash, dress and feed them) I met some friends who had not gone to church for a long time. I took a picture of the guys with cookies so that you could see how the guy was already reading a book in the background, he just didn’t want to take a photo. It’s also cool to read well before sankirtan, to get in the mood. Another devotee from “Food of Life” gave me a lift and took all the books in two hours, now I’m going back satisfied. [Ekantita-buddhi das]

Ekantita-buddhi das

Ukraine Kiev 2023 A very good, positive day, I met good positive people who love to read and are interested in yoga. Some asked where the temple was located and that they wanted to come there for programs. I also met friends who took books and read them. [Ekantita-buddhi das]

Yevhenii Horiashchenko

It was not so long ago, on the eve of Balarama Purnima (2023). I was traveling on the metro in Kyiv to the New Navadwip Mandir temple for the holidays. I live in a neighboring town (180 km). A man, who turned out to be 39 years old, entered the subway car and stood looking around. I often carry books with me, but I don’t take them with me when I travel because my briefcase is loaded with clothes or something else. But to my surprise, I had two Bhagavad Gitas with me, I was taking them to my fiancee. She also likes sankirtana, and I had a box of Bhagavad Gitas at home. So I took 2 Gitas with me. I don’t have a spontaneous impulse to do sankirtana, I was just going to the temple. But this man started looking in my direction and smiling. He gave me a thumbs up. I did the same in response. Then he came up to me, greeted me, said that he was in a good mood, said that he was on holiday with relatives and he began to show me photographs, he began to talk about his two daughters. I inserted some of my own phrases into this dialogue. During our conversation, he realized that I was a Hare Krishna devotee. And then he said that he was a simple man. And I replied that I just have books for simple people and that everyone can know God if they want. I got him the Bhagavad Gita, asked for a donation, he gave me some money, but then he thanked me all the way for this book. He took it for his daughter, he said his eldest daughter reads a lot and makes him very happy. We got off at the same station and he smiled a lot, so I asked to take a photo with him. He agreed. He took me to the bus stop and we said goodbye. [Yevhenii Horiashchenko]

Yelena Lestrovaya

Please accept my obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! For three days I felt a strong desire to distribute books, but for some reason I didn’t have the determination to go out. But the day before yesterday circumstances helped… I was walking down the street, listening to the kirtan, and I thought, “Why haven’t I taken the books out of my backpack yet?” Suddenly, one man on a bicycle began to wave to me. He folded his arms, and bowed. I stopped and immediately began to take out the books. He began to tell me that his sister is “with us” and something about her. I remembered that I had already met him a few months ago, he also told me about his sister, but did not take the book, he said that he had some of them, but this time he gave a little donation. Then I met a beautiful and shining woman. Her name is Tatyana. She goes to some church, reads about God and is very happy. She says: “I am always with God!” She chose “The Perfection of Yoga” but couldn’t donate because she didn’t have her wallet with her. That’s her photo. Then another elderly woman responded to the conversation about God. She said that she read different books, but she did not want to take the book, being embarrassed that she could not buy it. I said goodbye to her, but suddenly, as I was leaving, I felt such a strong desire to tell her about Prabhupada and give her his book that I turned back and resolutely approached her. I offered her to give a book as a present. She took “The Matchleft Gift”, saying that she will return it when she reads it, and I said goodbye to her. I’m very greatful to Shrila Prabhupada, all guru-parampara and Lord Krishna for this opportunity – to be involved in this miraculous service, which awakens a quiet but at the same time some kind of ecstatic joy at the moment a person takes a book, and it also gives a feeling that my life is not going in vain. [Yelena Lestrovaya]




So far no temples are being closed for any reason. Devotees are gathering regularly for programs in all cities. Despite the fact that many devotees relocated to Europe, still new devotees are coming up, people are joining, they start chanting, putting on Vaisnava dress and tilak. There is a need for reorganizing management teams in the temples, getting new devotees on board. Devotees are somehow getting adjusted to the war situation and realizing that we can’t wait for the war to be finished, we have to live life and do service despite any circumstances. No need to waste time, war can be continuing for some more years. [Acyuta Priya das]



These are recent photos taken of Harinama in mid September, 2023. Despite regular military assault in the Kharkiv region, devotees are still distributing prasadam and going on Harinama, including on Radhastami.



A couple of months ago a shell hit Kherson temple, which is under direct Russian artillery fire from the left bank of Dnepro river. Shell hit roof, all windows also broken. You can see video from the spot as well as the temple inside. No devotees hurt there. Before fixing the temple we have to wait till front line moves further from Kherson. Any time temple could be damaged again. Although to protect temple equipment from thievery devotees have to board up the windows now.

Even in Kherson, which is directly on the front line, considering that the temple was damaged by a shell, devotees gathering regularly few times a week, cooking prasadam and distributing three times a week, each time more than 500 kgs of prasadam as Food For Life. Here is a short, subtitled video clip that was taken after the temple was hit by artillery shells. [Acyuta Priya das]



Khmelnitsky is in Western Ukraine. Many devotees from Kyiv and eastern parts of Ukraine have moved to Khmelnitsky.



Kramatorsk is near the front lines. They had a small one-room temple which was under construction. Unfortunately the building was totally destroyed by artillery shells. Many devotees were forced to flee to Western Ukraine and Europe. Remaining devotees have been meeting outside during the warm weather.

Once it gets cold, Kramatorsk devotees will have their gatherings in flat.  [Acyuta Priya das]


Despite regular missile attacks a lot of guests coming on Sundays. Just in Kiev every Sunday we are getting 30-35 brand new guests coming to temple for the first time. [Acyuta Priya dasa]



Western Ukraine. Many devotees from Kyiv and eastern parts of Ukraine have also relocated to Lutsk.


Magdalinivka Refugees

Western Ukraine. Many devotees from Kyiv and eastern parts of Ukraine have moved to Magdalinivka.



Nikolaev was under heavy bombing and artillery fire in 2022. Many devotees were forced to flee. These remaining devotees gathered to observe Janmastami together in Nikolaev.





The above photos are from the new temple being constructed in Uzhgorod. Uzhgorod is located in the far Western part of Ukraine. Construction began around the beginning of the war.



In Zaporishshya devotees continue serving Deities and having regular programs in the temple. Zaporishshya is very close to front line and to nuclear power station occupied by Russia. Devotees still gathering in temple for programs and doing Food For Life prasadam distribution.[Acyuta Priya dasa]


In all communities we are expecting upcoming winter blackouts, so generators, solar panels and other electric equipment we got from international ISKCON community, especially from US, is greatly appreciated. [Acyuta Priya dasa]




Poland Food Distribution Summit

Open video about the Summit

This is our Food For Life participation in Poland. Tarini Sundari Radha spoke on the main stage. It’s in the English language. [Acyuta Priya dasa]


A Retreat in Magdalinivka with Bhakti Vijnana Goswami


Nitai Gauranga Retreat, Iskey

Iskey, June 1 – 7, 2023, 1,300 devotees attended
Guest Speakers: Niranjana Swami, Bhakti Caitanya Swami. Dhirasanta das Goswami, Madhavananda dasa, Acyuta Priya dasa. .


Dhanistha Gopi Mataji conducting programs for teenagers at the Nitai Gauranga Retreat

They are all devotees’ kids. Many of them not much interested in devotional life, but eagerly participating in retreats organized by Dhanistha Gopi dd. At the end of five day retreat all of the girls shed tears, cried and did not want to leave. [Acyuta Priya dasa]


Radhanath Swami’s visit, Chernivtsi

First week of August, 2023, between 600-700 devotees attended


Janmastami and Vyasapuja in Chernivtsi with Niranjana Swami


Janmastami in Kiev

Between 300 – 400 devotees attended


Vyasa Puja, Kiev


Radhashtami, Kiev


Brahmotsava, Rivne

Anniversary of deity installation, Rivne, Ukraine

This short report could be longer, but I thought I should give at least a snapshot of how devotees are coping with the realities they are confronted with from one day to the next.

On behalf of all the Ukraine devotees, I wish to once again say “Thank you” for your kind assistance.

Yours in Srila Prabhupada’s service,
Niranjana Swami  


Daniel Coggins