Undone by war, this Russia-Ukraine love story seeks ‘moksha’ in Varanasi | Varanasi News


VARANASI: War destroys lives in unimaginable ways. Kostiantyn Beliaiev, a 50-year-old Ukrainian living in Haridwar, knew it the hard way. Depressed over losing many family members in the Russia-Ukraine war, Beliaiev, who had embraced sanatan dharm and assumed the name of ‘Kripa Baba’ after getting associated with an ashram in Haridwar, had ended his life at a guest house in Narad Ghat area of Kashi’s Bhelupur area on the Christmas night.
His Russian girlfriend, who stayed in the same guest house and didn’t want to be named due to security reasons, was out of the town that day. On receiving the news, she came back rushing and expressed her wish to perform his last rights.
They had known each other for years before they came to India separately.
Bhelupur ACP Praveen Kumar Singh said, “When police investigation was in progress after reporting the matter to the Ukrainian embassy, the Russian woman appeared and expressed her wish to cremate Beliaiev’s mortal remains. However, as per the prescribed norms for performing last rites of any foreigners, we were waiting for the Ukrainian embassy’s decision.”
Officials at the local intelligence unit’s foreigners’ regional registration office (FRRO) said, “The Ukrainian embassy contacted Beliaiev’s mother, who expressed her wish that any Ukrainian should perform the cremation. After this, we explored our records and found that a Ukrainian girl, Yana Cshernenya, is studying in Kashi’s Sampurnanand Sanskrit University and contacted her.”
As per the directive of her embassy, Cshernenya claimed the mortal remains of Beliaiev and cremated it at Harishchandra Ghat, where the Russian woman was also present to witness the cremation as per the sanatan tradition, on December 29.
“I am deeply hurt and depressed,” she said, refusing to comment any further.
But she wanted to do her bit. So, she consulted local priests and began performing the post-death rituals.
Sampurnanand Sanskrit University’s Dr Lekhmani Tripathi said, “Beliaiev was attached to Pilot Baba Ashram of Haridwar. When his Russian friend contacted us, we advised some rituals in view of the facts Beliaiev came from ‘shishya tradition’ of Pilot Baba Ashram after embracing ‘Sanyas’ and ended his life. She is listening to the japa of ‘Garun Purana’ and also trying to perform other rituals with the help of local priests.”
The operator of the guest house, where she stayed, said, “As she also wanted to offer food to people as it is done in post-death rituals of our tradition, I advised her to donate food grain to a local ashram, which distributed edibles among ghat visitors.”
Beliaiev had informed the guesthouse operator that he would go to an ashram in Sasaram (Bihar) on December 25. However, when he did not open his guest house room for long on December 26, it was forced open, and his body was found hanging from the ceiling. He had not left any suicide note. According to the people in Narad Ghat and adjoining areas, he used to interact with them frequently and was depressed after having lost many family members in the Russia-Ukraine war. He also used to talk about ‘moksha’ after death in Kashi.


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