I was on a tour of Russia with a team of three people from Tapovan for 24 days this May at the invitation of Russian seekers. During this year’s visit, four meditation camps, some sermons and meditation programs were organized in four cities of Russia. These cities are: Moscow, Rastov, a famous southern city on the banks of the Don River, Krasnodar, another developing city on the banks of the Kuvan River, and Gelendzhik, a very beautiful, quiet, picturesque, touristic city located at the foot of the mountains where the Caucasus mountain range begins, on the banks of the Black Sea.
According to the 2002 census, there are 13 cities in Russia with more than one million inhabitants. During the past three visits to Russia, we have conducted meditation camps in seven such cities. The number of people who took initiation from me in Russia has exceeded 700. Thousands of Russian friends have developed a deep personal relationship with Tapoban. No matter what time you come, you can meet Russian friends in Tapoban.
This year’s visit was fruitful in the sense that I had the good fortune to establish nine meditation centers in different cities from Arkhangelsk, a northwestern city on the shores of the Barents Sea that meets the Arctic Ocean of Russia, to the Black Sea and Sea of Azov in the south.
Russia covers a quarter of the world’s total land area and is the largest country, twice the size of Canada, but its population is only two percent of the world’s population. This population is also decreasing day by day. Considering this fact, the government here has provided 10,000 dollars and special facilities for the care of the child for the mother who gives birth to more than one child. However, due to the structure of European society and the instability of the marriage relationship of the modern age, Russian women try to avoid giving birth to more children as much as possible. On the contrary, in countries suffering from excessive population growth in Africa and Asia, a special economic package is necessary for those who have only one child.
It takes more time to reach the eastern part of Russia from the west than it takes to reach Kathmandu from Moscow. There are 11 time zones in one country. It also takes eight days for the superfast train to reach the city of Vladivostok on the east coast from the city of St. Petersburg on the west coast by the world’s longest trans-Siberian train. It is probably the luckiest country from the point of view of natural resources. There are abundant forest resources, oil, natural gas reserves and huge mines of metal and coal. Since the price of natural gas and oil increased a lot in the world market a few years ago, Russia is accumulating foreign currency in abundance by improving its declining economy only through its export business.
Yes, we used to say that green forest is the wealth of Nepal. The wealth has disappeared, but in the cities of Europe, there is a lot of greenery inside and outside the city. The city of Moscow, with a population of over 16 million, looks like a forest when viewed from an airplane. A single forest area in Siberia is responsible for 20 percent of the world’s oxygen.
Emperor Vladimir introduced Christianity in 988 with the help of some Orthodox priests who came from Constantinople, Turkey, in Kiev, which is considered the then capital of the Slavic region of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Before that, there were nature worshipers like the Aryans in that area and based on the evidence obtained from the recent excavations, Vedic culture seems to have spread. The grammar of the Russian language is similar to that of the Sanskrit language, and many words of the Sanskrit language are surprisingly still found in the Russian language.
Even King Vladimir could not win the hearts of the people and make Christianity the state religion. After he created this religion, he forced the people to adopt this religion by force of arms. At that time, a house without a sign of the cross on the roof became a victim of atrocities. From the 10th century until today, the Orthodox Pravoslav Church has been protected by the state. During the 72 years of the Soviet era, this religion endured the wrath of the state. Before the October Revolution, there were 50,000 churches and 680 active monasteries in Russia. Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev also took a policy to destroy them mercilessly, but during the Second World War, Stalin allowed them to go to church in order to unite the people emotionally, realizing that religion helps to build national spirit. It is said that during the Second World War, when Moscow was surrounded by Nazi soldiers, Stalin also went inside the church inside the Kremlin and prayed for the victory of the Russian soldiers. Although the churches got a little relief during the Second World War, the process of destroying them did not stop after the end of the war and during the subsequent regimes. By the end of the Soviet era, only 10 percent of churches and 21 monasteries had survived. After Gorbachev’s policies of glasnost and perestroika (Transparency and Restructuring), the churches regained state protection and the old Christianity received the respect of the state religion. Recently, the influence of the establishment party of the church has increased on the government and it seems to have made an invisible policy to limit these religions in the areas where Islamic and Buddhists are in majority and not to allow any other religion to flourish in other areas. There are about 15 million Muslims and 500,000 Buddhists in Russia. Only these three religions are considered as religions by the state. Let’s not talk about other religions, Protestant and Catholic sects of Christianity are also hated by the state as cults.