My dear old friend and Godbrother Rama Dasa sent me this photo yesterday. The place is Adelaide, it’s 1972, and I’m 19 years old. I am ‘doing time’ in the early Adelaide branch of the Hare Krishna Movement in South Australia.
This period of my life, albeit only a few months, was very ecstatic. We lived in a little cottage on the outskirts of the Adelaide Hills; number 1 Rossington Avenue, Myrtle Bank to be precise. For some reason I’m able to remember all the addresses of the places I stayed in those wonderful pioneering days.
The garden – the whole neighbourhood, in fact – was full of amazingly aromatic rose bushes. Our tiny temple would be constantly adorned with vases full of them. Dipak, the head-priest and my old mentor (pictured below) was a professional florist before becoming a Hare Krishna. In fact he still is a professional florist – ‘to the stars’ – and well-known throughout North America.
We would rise early, way before dawn, and chant on our prayer beads. That’s me, top picture, pacing in the garden as the sun rose. After a simple breakfast cooked by Dipak, we would venture out into the streets of Adelaide chanting on musical instruments and distributing Back to Godhead magazines.
After a fruit-break lunch (Dipak gave us each an allowance of 5 cents to buy whatever fruit we liked – ‘knock yourselves out fellas’) we’d chant and distribute again, all afternoon. Then we’d return to the temple for a shower, dinner, more chanting, an evening class, hot milk and early rest. The monastic life agreed with me.
I especially loved those Adelaide days – my health was excellent, I had loads of energy, and I developed a real taste for the austerity of early rising, which I still maintain today. What an auspicious and edifying way to spend one’s youth. I don’t regret a second of it.
Posted by Kurma on 22/5/10; 7:04:15 AM