Svarupasakti, born in Cape Town, South Africa, moved to Albert Park’s Hare Krishna temple to further her religious studies. Devotees can become lay priests and open their homes to other followers or celibate priests and remain within the temple.
Hare Krishna followers eschew gambling, alcohol and drugs, eating meat and sex for pleasure.
“When I was about 19 I was in high school and a friend of mine was going to the Hare Krishna temple in Cape Town. I would go with him, and I used to love the meals and singing. Then gradually I started reading the books and doing the chanting as well. Eventually I decided it was something I wanted to do on a permanent basis,” the 25-year-old says.
“At first my parents didn’t like it … they didn’t know much about it, they were unsure but gradually they could see how much of an impact it was making so they accepted it. They saw the positive changes it was making to my life.
‘‘The lifestyle, which is backed up by with so much of the philosophy that the Hare Krishnas live by, is very detailed and very regulated. It really shapes and moulds your life and whatever activity you’re performing.
“It’s a very blessed lifestyle one can actually have, especially at a young age. In the beginning I wasn’t used to waking up so early in the morning. I wasn’t brought up vegetarian ... change happened over time, it was a gradual change.
“At this point I feel this is it for me. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, but if I move to another country and I have to work then I’ll support myself with a job. But pretty much everything else will still be intact, my spiritual life will still be my main goal.”