She finds Hinduism fabulous and reads English versions of the Gita and the Ramayana during her discourses in her native country Australia and the United States. Meet Shakti Durga, 50, who is in the temple town to celebrate Maha Kumbh here. Born Kim Fraser but now a devout Hindu, she and her 50-member group have come to the city the first time. They would stay here till January 18.
Initiator of the Shanti Mission in Australia and the US, Shakti Durga has a big following in both Australia and the US. It was in 1997 when she got attracted to Hinduism and became a disciple of a spiritual Hindu guru in Australia.
During her discourses in Australia and the US, Shakti Durga narrates instances from the Ramayana and shares mythological stories based on lord Shiva.
"When I learned I was meant to devote my life to helping others as a guru, no one was more surprised by this than I myself. It took me about two years to really accept that it would be my new path in life," says she, who lives near Sydney. "In Hinduism everything is sacred and everything has a 'place'. The god is like a diamond and Hinduism is a big diamond with many facets," says Durga, a regular to India since 2002.
About reaction of Christians at her discourses through kirtans, she avers: "When any Christian comes to me, they get a cultural shock. I do not burden them with too many details about Hinduism but allow them to enjoy kirtan and gradually they learn about the religion."
"We are not converting people to Hinduism but making them understand the religion," she stressed. Shakti Durga has an interesting way to explain Hinduism to devout Christians. "In the Ramayana, lord Hanuman uproots the entire mountain to save Lakshman. In the Bible, Jesus tells people that with 'faith' they can move even a mountain," Durga adds.
"As a westerner, my role is to help transform western consciousness from within. I have also been given clear guidance that I am to help shift the perception of gurus around the world, including India," she says. Shakti Durga believes Hinduism would play a major role in ensuring peace on the earth. She now devotes her life to helping others. This Hindu from Down Under has established a charity called Shanti Mission, which operates a wide-range of programmes including a network of schools called harmony centres.
The centres run almost entirely on donations and have taught and provided meditation and energy healing to thousands of people. The centres also hold seminars on topics ranging from how to be an energetic healer, to healing relationships, finding your divine connection and running a conscious business to Bhakti yoga.