This year, a team of three of us, who went from Tapoban for the whole month of June, were engaged in spiritual programs in Russia at the invitation of Russian seekers. In the two major cities of Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg, and in the modern Siberian city of Novosibirsk in far Russia, we held meditation camps, lectures and satsang programs in which hundreds of learned and enlightened Russian friends participated. 188 people also received initiation. This time we planned the program in such a way that we would get some time to see the spiritual and cultural heritage of Russia.
Churchill has said – Russia is an unfathomable land shrouded in unfathomable secrets. Occupying a quarter of the world’s territory, the population of this country is only two percent of the world’s population. The area of taiga forest in Siberia alone is more than the area of India. 25 percent of the world’s forest resources are occupied by this forest. The reason why the people of Earth can breathe properly is because of the forest. When traveling to this region of Siberia by the Baikal-Amur railway, for two or three days, nothing is seen but the dark wall of the bottomless forest. The famous Russian novelist Anton Chekhov has written – Only a migratory bird knows where the end of this forest will be.
Lake Baikal in Siberia is a unique gift of nature on earth. This lake has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This lake is 636 km long and 1637 meters deep. 22 percent of the world’s clean water is in this one lake. Its water is so pure that even today it can be drunk directly. Driving across this world’s deepest lake, which is completely frozen in the month of March, is an exciting experience in itself. In the summer of the next two years, Russian sannyasi friends have decided to organize a large meditation camp on the shores of this lake.
This year, a journalist from Newsweek asked the Dalai Lama – ‘if you had to become the leader of any country, which country would you choose?’ The Dalai Lama’s answer was -’ If I have to, I will become the President of Russia because Russia is a country full of endless possibilities.’
Russia has the largest gas reserves in the world. Also, there are vast reserves of coal and oil. Only because the international price of oil and gas has increased, Russia is getting rich by selling it. According to a recent survey, Moscow has become the most expensive city in the world. It has surpassed Tokyo and Seoul this year to maintain this record. The city with the most billionaires in the world is Moscow, but 20 percent of the people of Russia live below the poverty line, whose daily income is only 1.2 dollars. The villages have to suffer extreme poverty. Factories that were developed for industrialization and industrial development have been abandoned. The cities are becoming rich but the poverty of the villages is increasing. Guess what, the price of a cup of coffee in Moscow is 5 and a half dollars. 20 percent of the country’s people have to work for 4.5 days to buy a cup of coffee in the capital itself.
The reason for the poverty faced by the people of a nation full of natural resources is the unnatural communist economy of the past and the irresponsible behavior of the current rulers towards the people. Lack of practical economic planning is also a factor. According to the mayor of Moscow, the property of the Moscow municipality is more than the total property of the rest of the Russian government.
When the sun was shining in Moscow, when it was hot and cloudy, when it became very cold, Russian friends often said – the famous Russian poet and dramatist Pushkin said the same thing, what about the weather in Moscow and the young women of Moscow? It is impossible to say when they will change. The passionate poet has only experience with young women in Moscow, otherwise most of the young women in the capitals of other countries have the same fickle nature.
Casinos, bars and nightclubs are scattered in every corner of every city in Russia. Most of the cities have their own nightclubs for lesbians and homosexuals. Russian law considers 16 as the legal age for homosexual or heterosexual relationships.
Another interesting but scary fact is that the average Russian consumes 3 times more alcohol than other Europeans. Even the Holy Quran has not stopped Russian Muslims from drinking alcohol. Their argument is that drinking alcohol is forbidden in the Quran, but it does not say not to drink vodka. How to spend the cold, dark and lonely night of Russia without vodka?
The population of Russia is decreasing alarmingly. Every day the population is decreasing at the rate of 20 thousand. Among the main reasons for this are excessive alcohol consumption, high cost of living, family disintegration and a sense of social insecurity.
This is the outward appearance of Russia. Within a year, thousands of my Russian friends have gone into intimate relationships. They are doing spiritual practice. I have initiated five hundred of them into Osho’s Neo Sannyas. On that occasion, I got a chance to observe the Russians’ mutual understanding. Famous writer Dostyevsky said about this state of mind while paying tribute to Pushkin: ‘The Russian soul is rooted in world brotherhood and camaraderie. He sees his own happiness in everyone’s happiness.’ I have directly seen the vision of this Russian spirit in thousands of married couples who are very eager and striving to lead a sattvic and spiritual life. They respect this Buddhafield, Nepal as a sacred pilgrimage destination and the Nepalese as very respected friends. There is a possibility of a great spiritual revolution in Russia in the coming days and Nepal can play an important role in it.