Book Review : Salted Bread

Salted Bread is the true story of two good friends written by Sarkis Buniatyan. It is based on the autobiographical account of the author’s father Sarvabhavana Das (Gagik Buniatyan). This awe inspiring real life story recalls the struggle for spiritual freedom behind the iron curtains of the former USSR. The book is a tell tale account of the sacrifices of the devotees with a strong determination to serve God. It is soul stirring and emotional tale of two amazing souls who dedicated their lives for the sake of God and Srila Prabhupada’s mission of spreading Krishna Consciousness all over the world.

Salted Bread recalls the journey of Sarvabhavana Das (Gagik Buniatyan) and his best friend Sachisuta Das (Sarkis Ohanjanyan) who are yearning to seek spiritual answers during the strict vigil of KGB in the former USSR. Their search for spiritual fulfillment brings them to Krishna Consciousness. Enchanted by the Hare Krishna mahamantra and association of devotees, they dedicate their lives to the Bhakti marga (Yoga of devotion to Krishna). KGB starts harassing their families and so they leave the city and go to live with the devotees in Yerevan. They dedicate themselves to devotional service of the temple and book distribution. Printing and distributing spiritual literature was banned in the former USSR and this led to their frequent encounters with the police and KGB leading to beatings and arrests.

Their simple and humble struggle for religious freedom takes them a journey full of adventure, faith and determination. From chanting to country hideouts, to printing & distributing Bhagvad Gita, to sending secret messages in Siberian labor camps, to conducting kirtans in prison- It’s a story of unshakable faith in Lord Krishna. They are imprisoned and then sent to mental hospital. After a few months in the mental hospital, they are sent to prison and afterwards to Siberian labor camp. They are often brutally beaten and tortured to no end but even in those extreme conditions, they didn’t stop chanting the Holy Names. The food served to them was non-vegetarian and so they survive by eating only bread and water. The extreme conditions in the labor camp take its toll on Sachisuta Das and he dies in the camp in 1987 due to tuberculosis. He was just 23 years old at the time. This led to worldwide protests and finally ISKCON was registered as an official religion in 1990 during the post-Soviet period of reform.

This book is an amazing story of struggle and surrender.  This real life story of the journey to God will overwhelm you, amaze you and fill you with wonder. A must read for all spiritual seekers!

© 2017 Shaloo Walia All rights reserved



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