Friday, March 2, 2012


EVENTS ON BOARD THEIR DISABLED SHIP - The Costa Allegra docked in the Seychelles on Thursday, three days after a fire broke out in the ship’s generator room, leaving passengers without working toilets, running water or air conditioning in a region of the Indian Ocean where pirates are known to prowl. Cabin temperatures reached up to 43 degrees, forcing passengers to sleep on deck chairs. “Things became very primitive,” a passenger said, a far cry from what the couple had expected when they embarked on the multi-week cruise. The blaze came just six weeks after another luxury liner, the Costa Concordia, capsized off Italy, leaving 32 people dead, a fact that was on many passengers’ minds. Both ships were operated by Costa Crociere SpA, which is owned by Florida-based Carnival Corp. When the ship’s alarm sounded, passengers knew it wasn’t a drill. The short-short-long wail meant to prepare to disembark.

Passengers couldn’t see the fire, but they could smell and see smoke. Crew members extinguished the blaze within an hour, but the alarmed continued to wail for two more hours. Some passengers panicked, shouting out family members’ names. An emergency generator not involved in the fire failed, leaving the ship with only six hours of battery power.  That brought an end to any semblance of the good cruise life. There were no more hot meals, only cold sandwiches. The water used to extinguish the fire flooded the galley between the first and second decks. The toilets couldn’t be flushed, blanketing the bathrooms in stench. The average age of the 627 passengers on board was 55, said Guillaume Albert, head of Creole Travel Service. Many of the older passengers in particular had trouble with the sweltering heat. The waters off East Africa are Somali pirate territory; the attacks crippled the Seychelles tourism industry after wary cruise companies stopped coming to the island paradise in 2009.

Passengers disembarked from the stricken Costa Allegra cruise ship and described the three days of "hell" in horrific conditions on board. As the luxury liner finally made it to shore, tourists expressed disgust at the way they had been treated. They faced with a lack of air-conditioning, running water, functioning toilets, and cabin temperatures which reached more than 40 degrees. Like the journey of the jiva in the material world, what at the beginning began as a luxurious pleasure trip became a nightmare.

When a living entity is conditioned by material nature, he is exactly like a person haunted by a ghost. Forgetting the words ‘In my perfect state I am servant of Krishna’, he serves maya for a long time. Sometimes he is a king. Sometimes he is a citizen. Sometimes he is a brahmana. Sometimes he is a sudra. Sometimes he is sad. Sometimes he is happy. Sometimes he is a tiny insect. Sometimes he is in Svargaloka. Sometimes he is in the earthly realms. Sometimes he is in hell. Sometimes he is a demigod. Sometimes he is a demon. Sometimes he is a servant. Sometimes he is a master. Sometimes he is a servant. Thus he wanders in the material worlds. When he attains the association of devotees, he can understand the truth about himself. When he understands the truth about himself he no longer wishes to stay in the material world. Then he laments, ‘Why did I serve maya for so long?’.

Śrīla Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thākura :
“Jaiva-dharma” (The Universal Religion)
Chapter Seven - Nitya-dharma O Samsar
“Eternal Duties, Household Life, and the Material World”  -

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