Bonds of Love: Rudrani Devi Dasi
When Rudrani was young, her whole pursuit was find a guru and the purpose of life. She wanted knowledge. While other students smoked, took drugs, and drank, she stayed apart. At age eleven, she became interested in Indian mysticism, yoga, meditation, and vegetarianism. Two years later, she was meditating on a Miami beach while on vacation with her parents when she met devotees, who sold her Krishna Book.
I visited the Toronto temple and bought beads. In high school, I’d chant on my beads, skip classes, and read Bhagavad Gita As It Is and Krishna Book. I thought all other books were useless. One day in May 1973, when I was sixteen, I went to the Toronto temple with my suitcase and moved it. I hadn’t completed twelfth grade.
Right away I joined the harinama and book and prasada distribution parties. Devotional service seemed natural and familiar to me, like something I’d already done and was continuing. Those were the happiest days of my life.
Then in Janurary ’75, my parents kidnapped me and shipped me to Ted Patrick’s house in San Diego, where deprogrammers forced my mouth open and put meat in it. I spit it out into a napkin. For six months I was shipped around with bodyguards to deprogrammers who would shout and scream and rip up books in front of me and draw horns on Prabhupada’s picture. I was young and expected Nrsimhadeva to jump through the windows. At this point, I hadn’t yet seen Prabhupada, but I realized that I only wanted to be around devotees, that I didn’t want the association of nondevotees.
Since I’d read Prabhupada’s books and had chanted and served, I knew that Krishna consciousness was what I was supposed to do, and I had faith that if I kept doing it, I’d advance spiritually. During this heavy time, my bond with Prabhupada strengthened and drew me back to him.
After six months of deprogramming, my parents put me in some classes in Toronto. When I started chanting again, my Dad threatened to take me back to Ted Patrick. I got scared. I called the temple and wound up hiding in Subal Vilas’s house (he is an Indian disciple of Srila Prabhupada). I was there for two weeks.
After that I went to the East Coast to distribute books. On book distribution I felt really connected to Prabhupada because I knew it pleased him.
I distributed books up and down the U.S. and across Canada. I distributed with Tripurari Swami in Toronto and Chicago, on Jiva’s party in San Francisco, on Bhagavan’s party in France. I knew my duties were to distribute books, remember Lord Caitanya, and get out of the material world. While I was distributing books, I prayed as much as I could to Lord Caitanya and Prabhupada. I had happy times on book distribution. I used to think, “I have a responsibility to Srila Prabhupada. My service is book distribution, and I should do it.” I didn’t try to prove anything, I just wanted to serve. Nothing else mattered much.
Prabhupada commented that women are simple-hearted by nature. I feel I’m like that – not very complicated. The process of Krishna consciousness is straightforward, easy to follow, and works. Devotional service brings joy. When I was kidnapped, I went through traumatic hardships, many people tried to break my faith, but in my heart I felt, “I’m going to plow through this and go for the essence.” Prabhupada gave us so much – prasada, books, Deity worship – and his movement is about what we can give others, not what we can take from them.