By Rupavati Devi Dasi
Discovering Spiritual Knowledge
It all began with meeting a young lady, who is an astrologer. She prepared my natal map and gave some recommendations as far as what I should and should not do. First of all, she recommended to switch to a vegetarian diet. The reason for that is because I was born on Caturdasi. It is a must for people who are born on this day to be engaged in spiritual practice. Otherwise, consequences can be really harsh. I became interested. Actually, I had always been interested in spiritual living. The astrologer and I had a long conversation and I would have loved to talk more, but I had to leave for Milan, so time was limited. That is why I asked her if she could recommend any books. She told me about Radhanath Swami’s “Journey Back Home” book and also about “AGHORA, At the Left Hand of God” [book by Robert Svoboda]. The first book was about Lord Krishna and the second one was about Lord Shiva. The first one was about piety and the second book was about death. I read both of them. I was so inspired by Radhanath Swami! I love sincere people, I love it when they freely talk about the auspicious things – which are the most important things for me! “Journey Back Home” inspired me to the point that I downloaded the Maha mantra and later cried all week long. I had such a deep realization that it is hard to explain. I had a feeling as if I had been waiting for this mantra my entire life. So that whole week I just kept listening to it and crying, listening and crying. Later, I came to St. Petersburg and visited the [ISKCON] temple. That is when I realized I did not want to leave. That is how it all began.
There is a general perception that the modeling industry is far from goodness and that it has been vulgarized. In your Instagram profile, you expressed gratitude to a number of people and shared that your path was different. Could you please tell us more about that?
I agree that modeling is far from goodness. At the same time, I think it all depends on a person. If you see the negative in everything, then you will be surrounded by the negative. Similarly, if you see positivity in everything, then you will be surrounded by the positive. That is number one. Number two, spiritual practice plays a big role. Since I discovered it, my surrounding has changed dramatically. In the same manner, my work clientele has changed as well. I started attracting vegetarians, people who were interested in spirituality, and spiritually practicing people. As you can see, everything depends on us. If we know how to think and act right, then we can survive even in this kind of environment. I do not consider my work to be bad. Good things exist everywhere, and I do my best to maximize them. However, I cannot say that I want to be a model for the rest of my life. Actually, I have much more exciting plans for the future.
What are your plans for the future, could you please share?
Based on my natal map and my inner feelings, I realized that I wanted to work in the beauty industry – in the most general sense of it. I would like to help make this world better and more beautiful. This has to do with people, both the inner and the outer beauty. I am still trying to find out what else I can contribute, what else I can learn. The thing is that I am not good at anything else other than modeling (laughing). But it is never late to learn.
When I just came to Krishna consciousness, there were other people with me, who have already found their spiritual masters by now. But my path is just starting now. Due to having a very active lifestyle, I am behind. Gone for two months, then back for one month, then gone for two months again, and then back for one month again. When I travel, I usually listen to audio lectures, but that is not enough. Association with devotees is very important and that is what I am lacking. So, my pace is slow, one step at a time. Of course, my hope is that someday a spiritual master will find me and I will find him. As for right now, it seems I am not ready for this.
You travel a lot and meet a lot of people, do you think they are interested in any philosophy? Do you get to talk to them about anything?
Absolutely! That is yet another reason why I love my work, as it gives me multiple opportunities for preaching. When you are simply out there with a japa bag, everybody wants to come up to you, and that is a good reason for a half an hour conversation! What’s this bag? What are beads? What is japa? The last trip to Hanjoy, China turned out to be very special. Many people became interested in karma: how it is created, how to avoid bad karma, and how to improve one’s karma. I was so happy to tell them about that! While I am still new to this and there are many things I do not know, it is so cool when you know an answer to a particular question. That is how I get to preach while I am out traveling. At the same time, there are people who refuse to accept this philosophy, but I do not force them to be engaged in a conversation, because it is our personal business – to accept or not accept it.
How can a woman be both modern and Vedic?
We are living in a challenging time that requires finding a balance in everything. Covering yourself with a burka does not work for everyone, but wearing tight jeans and a short tank top is also not a good idea. There has to be a balance. For example, I am wearing pants today, but they are not tight and are not revealing my body. This is how I find my balance. Same goes for behavior. We live in the time of independent women. Personally I don’t see any problems with that. For example, I cannot show weakness at my work, otherwise I will not survive. I have to stand up for myself in certain situations. But when, for example, a woman is married how she applies her strengths in the society is a different story. Everything requires a balance.
What would you like to wish to our readers?
Read the Hare Krishna Lifestyle blog! I would like to wish the readers to find time for inspirational articles and keep looking for your unique life path, spirituality, and heart. The most important is to be a Human, regardless of your religion. The goal of every religion is to teach people how to actually become Humans.
Correction and Translation: Svetlana Hrupkova
Photos: Rupavati Kesavi