American hailed a hero at event

An American who was deported from South Africa as an 18-year-old some 30 years ago, was hailed as a hero when he returned to attend the anniversary celebrations of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness at the Shri Radha Radhanath Temple of Understanding in Chatsworth yesterday.

Bhakti Caitanya Swami, commissioner of the Governing Council of the Society in South Africa, recalled how Kshudy das - who was white, then 18 years old and the first devotee in South Africa - was summoned to the then dreaded John Vorster Square in Johannesburg.

"The security forces told him that they objected that he was mixing with Indian people.

"Kshudy das told the officers that we are all eternal spiritual beings and that the bodies we have are mere vehicles which we discard in another life," said Bhakti Caitanya Swami.