THE FOLLOWING LETTER WAS WRITTEN BY SRI RUPA MANJARI DEVI DASI, A SENIOR DISCIPLE OF ACHARYADEVA.
It was by the arrangement of Krishna that I was invited again in 2013 to participate in the cruise called “Golden Years” on the Spanish ship, Grand Mistral, along with a group of celebrities and journalists. We left the port of Santos (San Paolo, Brazil) on February 1st, bound for Buenos Aires (Argentina), and passing through Punta del Este (Uruguay). The cruise lasted nine days.
srirupa9There were 1760 people on board, including crew and passengers of different nationalities, mainly Brazilians. Many of them were seniors who were my admirers and already knew some of my work and my story, because in all the cabins of the rooms they had placed a folder with a short summary of the lives of the group participants.
I gave a Bhagavad-Gita As It Is to the ship’s new Croatian captain, Tiho Mozic, and distributed small books to several passengers who showed interested in Krishna consciousness.
srirupa5My job was the same as in 2012 when I was invited for the first time to join the Golden Years cruise: to talk about the glamour of the 60’s and 70’s when I lived as a top model and celebrity, and then explain how I became a devotee at the age of 33. The story is also in my auto biographical book Sri Splendore: A Story of Life. This awakens the curiosity of many people who asked me questions after the talk, giving me a good opportunity to preach.
I’ve always had the habit of asking for the blessings of Srila Acharyadeva when I do some kind of work, especially work like that, which I never accept without his blessings and permission. Srila Acharyadeva’s answer was: “You can preach where no one can go. May Krishna be with you.” srirupa8This gave me a sense of security and the confidence that I would be protected by Krishna and Srila Prabhupada to preach in these places.
As a former top model, I was also asked to train the ladies to participate in the “Miss Seniors Golden Years” contest, with retired or widowed women. This time there was a 94-year-old lady in a wheelchair in the group, accompanied by her daughter, who attended the event. The lady was very lucid and was keen to take with her the Karma book. The first placed in the contest won a collection of Srila Prabhupada’s books, as well as my autobiography.
My srirupa7life goal is to disseminate Krishna consciousness and distribute the books. Krishna always helps and protects me in these different situations.
During my stay on board, I constantly had Srila Prabhupada chanting the maha-mantra softly on my mobile as I went about everywhere. Sometimes I would put the phone to my ears as if I was in call, and I would feel really connected with Srila Prabhupada. Going up or down the 12-story ship by stairs or elevators I kept the “bond of association” in this fashion. At that time many people asked me- “What’s that sound?”- giving me the opportunity to talk about the maha-mantra.
Isrirupa11 chanted my japa on the deck of the ship where there was a huge jogging track. As for food, I opted for a wide variety of fruits, dried fruits, juices and vegetables, although there was a special menu for vegetarians. My work began at 8 am and often finished after midnight. It was very tiring but very sweet, especially because of the book distribution.
During the cruise I made friends with many passengers who took in the view of Hare Krishnas as “normal” people, who work and interact naturally without radical changes.
srirupa10Thank you. Hare Krishna. Jaya Srila Prabhupada, Jaya Srila Acharyadeva!
Sri Rupa Manjari dd (Maria Stella Splendore)