Sankirtana Spotlight #4 – Satyabhama Dasi

Satyabhama Dasi has been a pillar of book distribution and an emblem of inspiration for book distribution in Mauritius for over three decades. Since she joined ISKCON as a full-time preacher in 1988, her journey of book distribution spontaneously began and has grown unabated throughout the years. Her personal example and determination are legendary in Mauritius.

Satyabhama is most comfortable and happy when she is giving out books on the streets, connecting with people in a personal way and directing them to the real goal of life, Krsna consciousness.

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ
pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam

This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed. BG 9.2

It wouldn’t be too presumptuous to say that she almost epitomizes the ‘su-sukham kartum avyayam’ mentioned in this particular verse. For her, this dissemination of spiritual knowledge through Srila Prabhupada’s books is always joyfully performed and is everlasting, nothing could ever stop her from its performance, except perhaps the limitations of the body as it goes through its normal transitions.

Srila Prabhupada once wrote to Giriraja Swami, the spiritual master of Satyabhama Dasi: ‘Go on increasing books and go on increasing my pleasure.’

By their blessings Satyabhama has made it her life’s mission to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books which possess the potency to change lives and bring people closer to their spirituality.

She shares her vision about book distribution in Mauritius:

‘Before I used to think that Mauritius is so small, everyone’s already has our books but after some time I realised that our next target is the new generation. Everyone is a potential recipient of Srila Prabhupada’s mercy but if the older people already have our books, then we should approach the younger people and try to convince them that by simply adding Krsna to their lives they will become happy and successful! Book distribution will go on forever, there will always be new people who have not yet been exposed to Krsna consciousness and who are waiting for their spiritual journey to begin, even on a small island like Mauritius.’ 

Many years ago, as a young book distributor on the streets, Satyabhama was approached by her mother. The latter was quite unfavourable to Krsna consciousness and upset that her daughter had left a bright career prospect behind to join the movement. She nevertheless purchased a book from her daughter. Later on Satyabhama’s mother gradually gave up her misgivings and became a devotee! She went on to get initiated as Sarva Kanti Dasi and became a fervent and enthusiastic book distributor herself!

Over the years Satyabhama’s responsibilities have increased. Apart from engaging in and organizing book distribution for ISKCON Phoenix, she has also taken on the leadership of a temple in the north of Mauritius, which is home to Sri Sri Rukmini Dwarkadhish, its presiding Deities. One of her main objectives there is to train and inspire young and old in distributing books. As has been the tradition every year, she recently participated in Ganga Snan, a festival where thousands of people congregate on the coastline around the island. Seeing it as an opportunity to reach out to people, she encouraged and led many devotees, especially the new ones  in giving out books and the mission proved a huge success!

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