If you dig deep, you will find that ISKCON, seen by many as a mere religious movement spreading Hinduism, has got a much broader purpose. Like Bhagavad Gita, historically, ISKCON has never been a movement meant only for the Hindus. It embraces people from all walks of life and from all religions so far they agree to live a lifestyle that teaches how to love God and serve His children. Since God is one, all living entities are children of the same Supreme Person.
Over the past two years, Europe has been facing a refugee crisis. UN data show that more than 300,000 refugees have tried to reach Europe so far this year. Of those, almost 200,000 landed in Greece and 110,000 in Italy.
Once landed safely, most of the refugees continue on their journey towards Western Europe. Their route goes trough Hungary, the last country with protected borders before they can enter and move freely within the European Union countries.
About 145,000 migrants have been detained already this year in Hungary, more than triple the figure recorded in all of 2014. Police reported a single-day record of 3,241 detentions of migrants on Wednesday August 26th, 700 more than the previous day, as they launched a new initiative seeking to channel migrants to one of the country’s five camps using special trains.
The train stations on Hungary’s the Southern border and in the capital city Budapest are packed with refugees, among them families with young children, women and old people – all sleeping on the bare floor.
Civil organizations have stepped up to help them with medical aid, water or food.
ISKCON Hungary has also risen to the challenge, and now distributes hundreds of plates of freshly cooked meal on two locations near the two main train stations. The prasadam is always being accepted with gratitude by the refugees, most of whom have not touched freshly cooked food for weeks.
Devotees also provide them with clothes, shoes, diapers, soap and other items to help them maintain their health and personal hygiene.
“Helping needy people without discrimination is considered to be a moral duty by Krishna-devotees.” Declares Gandharvika Prema Dasi ISKCON Hungary’s spokesperson. “Above all and most importantly we are all equal spirit souls, compared to which our specific religions, skin colors and nationalities are secondary. According to our scriptures it is our duty to respect and to take care of the people coming to our home, no matter what their backgrounds are.
“Although we don’t challenge the notion that every nation has the right to self-defense or to protect their borders, but that should not mean that we give up the principle of compassion, especially towards those who were forced to leave their countries, for fearing their lives.”
Excerpts ISKCON News: ISKCON Hungary Steps Up to Help Middle Eastern Refugees