(iskconnews.org) – ISKCON News | Remembering Mukhara Devi Dasi: The Legacy of an Early South African Devotee
In the annals of South African Krishna consciousness, few names shine as brightly as that of Mukhara Devi Dasi. Her life story is a testament to unwavering dedication, selfless service, and an unshakable commitment to spreading the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. With a legacy deeply woven into the fabric of ISKCON South Africa, Mukhara Devi Dasi’s journey is a source of inspiration for generations of devotees, illuminating the path of devotion with her exemplary life.
Jayananda Das shared how his mother dedicated her life to the service of the Krishna Consciousness community in South Africa, embodying the ideals of selfless service. He fondly remembers, “So, that was her opulence: caregiving, feeding, offering help and assistance, and serving with all she had. That’s what she accomplished in her Krishna consciousness. So for that, we are very, very grateful because it was through her support that we achieved so much; she gave us access, and we got to render service to all the devotees who appeared throughout her life.”
Krishna consciousness often brings profound changes to individuals’ lives, sometimes leading to estrangement from family and friends who don’t understand the new path. In such a challenging phase, Mother Mukhara played a pivotal role in bridging the gap. Sukanti Radha Devi Dasi, a family member, recalls, “My aunt was also very instrumental in preaching Krishna Consciousness, especially to our family members. Although we went preaching in and around the area we lived in, she skillfully brought our then estranged family in slowly, one by one, sharing and explaining Krishna Conscious concepts, offering prasad, and lovingly drawing them back home.”
Jayananda’s mother had a unique and practical approach to spreading Krishna consciousness. Instead of imposing beliefs on others, she employed a gentle and thoughtful strategy; as Sukanti Radha remembers, “She had this thing about her, a potency of just knowing what needed to be said. And my uncle, her husband, was really good at explaining aspects of the Krishna Conscious philosophy in detail.”
Krishna consciousness became a unifying force in Mother Mukhara’s family. It not only strengthened their bonds but also transformed their lives. “Discovering Krishna consciousness initially created a perceivable gap in our extended family and drew us back together to become close again. We appreciate it very much. I’m thankful to my aunt for not allowing me to just drift away with the rest of our family that was still attached to our Hindu culture at the time; she fought for me,” said Sukanti.
In the early days of Krishna consciousness in South Africa, resources were scarce, and devotees had to rely on their creativity and dedication. Jayananda’s mother played a crucial role in those days. “We didn’t have a temple back then. We didn’t even have Srila Prabhupada’s books. We didn’t have anything aside from faith and the inspiration of the devotees who came to preach, along with the candles, incense sticks, and the annual calendar they sold. And that was what we used to go door to door with, fundraising for the construction of Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple. She was fearless,” recalled Sukanti.
As one reflects on the life of Mother Mukhara, one is reminded of the profound impact one individual can have on a community and the enduring legacy of selfless service. Her gentle, compassionate approach to spreading Krishna consciousness left an indelible mark on those who had the privilege of knowing her.
Her legacy is a testament to the power of faith, service, and love within the Krishna consciousness community. Her life’s work, filled with dedication and humility, inspires new generations of devotees, reminding us of the transformative potency of Krishna consciousness.