Saci-suta Das — The only “prisoner of conscience” to die in a Soviet labor camp.

tumblr_p6x408H7XC1sbj0vuo1_250When Saci-suta was a young boy in Armenia he would hike into the country hills and renovate abandoned churches with a friend and later met the devotees. He was always encouraging the other devotees in the Yerevan temple even when the Russian soldiers would come and break up the Sunday festivals and destroy the few furnishings in the ashram. Later, he became a fearless book distributor and would take Communist books out of the library and use the bindings for Srila Prabhupada’s books making them beautiful with his devotion. Then he was caught by the KGB and would not denouce Srila Prabhupada and his movement so he was eventually thrown in a Siberian prison. You cannot imagine the difficulties the devotees encountered at that place. He was so sick with tuberculosis that he passed away.

The devotees didn’t know the story until one day a man came up to them when they were on street sankirtan years later. He was exhuberant…and crying, saying, “I was with him. He was so pure. What they did to him. I was with him when he left this world.” He then told the devotees just what happened that day that Sacisuta dasa left his body in a prison in Siberia. That day Saci took up the bed sheet as he had never done before and fashioned it into a dhoti and with some toothpaste applied very nice tilak. With colored paper from magazines he made a garland for Krsna and then put it on himself chanting very intensely. His friend left the dorm facility for some time and when he returned Saci-suta was no longer chanting…just sitting there very straight. After some time the man asked him, “Saci, what is wrong? …you are always chanting. You are funny, Saci…what are you doing?” and then he walked up to our dear Saci-suta dasa and looked very closely this time…“Saci…Saci!” and began crying realizing Saci-suta had left this filthy place forever.
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