Appreciating Sankirtan Prabhu’s frontline literary outreach
Sankirtan Prabhu, who departed on the auspicious day of Janmashtami after a sustained battle against cancer, was a frontline fighter in Lord Chaitanya’s army. He was on the frontline in striving to share bhakti wisdom in China, despite the many restrictions and obstacles there. While that service is glorious, I, as an author, appreciated most his frontline outreach through writing.
I first had his association in a student-teacher relationship when he was one of my Bhakti-shastri teachers in Pune. Thereafter, when he started writing, he very kindly started treating me like a friend, sharing his plans and challenges in writing and seeking my inputs. Though English was not his first language (as it is not mine either) he strove vigorously to share the universal spiritual truths he had learnt in this contemporary lingua franca.
The feature that struck me most about his writing was what could be called its inter-disciplinary scope. He brought bhakti wisdom into a mature dialogue with the yoga tradition in his book Bhakti-Yoga Pilgrimage and with contemporary psychology in his other writings. Drawing pertinent points eclectically to address various current concerns, he then insightfully illumined the underlying issues with the light of aptly distilled devotional insights. Overall, he was one of the pioneers in our movement in striving to penetrate the huge and largely untapped self-help genre of writing.
With a heavy heart at the departure of a fellow author and friend, I seek his blessings for continuing in my own small way the literary legacy of our tradition.