Sankirtan Spotlight #7 Jagadananda dasa & Namanta devi dasi

Our small effort towards preaching in Zimbabwe started in 2017. I had planned a trip home to introduce my then girlfriend to my family in December of that year, and we had the idea in addition of making it a Sankirtan trip. With the help of Raghunath Batta prabhu in Durban, she procured several boxes of Srila Prabhupada’s books, Back to Godhead magazines, flyers and bookmarks with the maha mantra and our contact details printed on them. We were fortunate enough to get the blessing of His Holiness Kadamba Kanana Swami, and off we went. Alas, the books were barred at the border and we were not able to bring them into the country for distribution.

All in Krsna’s time, for over the next few years He took us both on an incredible journey in preparation for the future of the Sankirtan mission in Zimbabwe. We received the fortune of being formally accepted into the shelter of our spiritual master, completed our Bhakti Sastri degrees, developed a deeper appreciation for the need of preaching Krsna consciousness in Africa, and spent a year living at the temple in Cape Town where, under the guidance of HG Vrajabasi Dasa, we were able to experience and practice many things including giving class, organizing preaching programs, and most significantly, distributing books. We are still inspired by a class given by our spiritual master during the 2019 December marathon wherein he impressed upon us that we are empowered, by Srila Prabhupada, to perform miracles through the Sankirtan mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It was with this in mind that we returned to Zimbabwe, also recently married, for the book marathon of 2020, this time with all of our books sent ahead.

We went straight to Harare, the capital city, where we were assisted by a kind family and started by visiting all the main university campuses and public libraries, placing a Bhagavad Gita, copies of the Science of Self Realization and various smaller books in each of them. We met with department heads and lecturers, many of whom were keen to have conversations about spirituality and delighted to receive the books. One faculty leader expressed the desire for a spiritual upliftment program for university students, perhaps something akin to the Bhakti Yoga Society through which both my wife and I joined ISKCON. We hold on to this idea as a keen possibility. Schools were already closed by the time we came but we planned to return in January when they reopened with the intention to look into other possibilities for meditation or yoga programs as well as to gift books to the senior learners. In the mean time we took to the city streets, and met many wonderful people, warm and welcoming, and interested in spiritual knowledge. We were enlivened by many experiences, too many to mention here, but characteristic of the service of book distribution in how it brings us into contact with souls who have been searching for Krsna all their lives, and allows us to witness the wonder of their receiving His mercy in the form of the books of His pure devotee. We are humbled and honored to be used as instruments in distributing these books.

Three of the people that we met have stayed in contact with us and we intend to return to Harare when we are able to again. Unfortunately, the country went into a hard lockdown for three months at the start of this year and we were unable to travel to other cities to continue distributing books nor to approach our desired goal of starting programs in schools in my hometown where we have been based. Nevertheless, we have been thinking about and began to discuss with our spiritual master the endless possibilities for preaching in the nearby Victoria Falls town. It has, however, proven difficult to be so far away from devotee association and the temple environment that we had grown to love. We continue the battle to remain strong and keep growing in our Krsna consciousness; and so we take this opportunity to beg for the prayers and blessings of the devotees, so that we may always be part of the Sankirtan movement and somehow fulfill its mission in Zimbabwe.

Yours in service to the Sankirtan mission

Jagadananda dasa and Namanta devi dasi

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