Reminiscing about Rupa Sanathan Das

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Rupa Sanathan das was born in 1952 in Oribi Gorge. This is an interesting birthplace which represents a 330 metre high abyss sliced by the Umzimkulu River, just 20 kilometres inland from Port Shepstone. Named after the sprightly little antelope, the Oribi Gorge is lined with dense coastal bush and forests and it was not surprising that Rupa’s parents were farmers and he became involved with the farm throughout his schooling career. His parents gave all of their children, names of God or His associates. He was named Krishna (God who is all attractive). His sense of spirituality was further induced by the daily prayers at his uncle’s temple close by.

 

In 1971, given the challenging economic imperatives, Rupa left Port Shepstone to join Nampak Products where he worked for 27 years. In 1973, he became a grihasta (householder). It was in the same year that his spiritual yearning became strong and his search for spiritual truths led him to churches and several other topical organisations in the area. When he was mystically drawn to attend the first Hare Krsna tent campaign in Unit 9 (now called Moorton), he was completely charmed by the manner in which the programme was organized and captivated by the ancient vedic philosophy of Krsna Consciousness. In the same year he started a service group of like-minded members of the community in Moorton and within 10 years of joining the organization became part of a prolific team in organizing festivals for the Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple of Understanding in Chatsworth. Apart from the different services in which Rupa was engaged, his core service was cooking for Food for Life. His spiritual master H H Parthasarathi das Goswami Maharaj, who hails from the United Kingdom, gave him an instruction in1993: ”Always be engaged in practical devotional service” and Rupa is committed to carry through his spiritual master’s injunction “until my last breath”. Over the last 10 years, he has cooked approximately 50 000 plates of food monthly which is distributed to schools and impoverished communities beyond the 10 mile radius from the temple in Chatsworth – a staggering total of 6 000 000 free meals!

Now relocated in Johannesburg, Rupa continues with his devotional service at BBT house where he is involved in starting up a Food for Life “hunger free zone”. His humble prayer sits at the feet of everyone to give him the mercy to continue serving the founder of Food for Life, Srila Prabhupada and fulfill his  mission to eradicate hunger.