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By Kurma Dasa
People often ask how I first became involved in
cooking. Had I always cooked vegetarian food? Was I born a vegetarian?
The answer is that my involvement in a vegetarian lifestyle, cooking,
and my hunger for a more spiritual way of life all began at the
same time - in my last year of high school in 1970.
As a student at Vaucluse Boys High School in Sydney
I found myself inexplicably drawn to all things Indian. I would
read books on yoga and mysticism, listen to Indian music, burn incense,
buy Indian posters of Krishna and buy Indian clothes. I had just
become a vegetarian, and enjoyed the taste of Indian food. So when
my best friend Mark invited me to a newly opened temple in Paddington,
I jumped at the chance.
Mark explained to me - as we travelled to the temple
in one of Sydney's old double-decker buses - that we were going
to the Hare Krishna Temple. I had heard of Hare Krishna, but knew
very little about it. I recalled first hearing the words "Hare
Krishna" in the Beatles song "I am the Walrus", and
then on George Harrison's famous single "Radha Krishna Temple"
released on Apple label. Mark and I had gone along to see the newly
opened musical "Hair" at the Metro Theatre in Kings Cross
only months before. At the rousing incence-filled finale, the whole
audience (except me) had stood and chanted Hare Krishna along with
the cast. Despite the scenes of unabashed nudity, and despite the
fact that I was too shy to chant, the mantra had stuck in my mind.
But apart from that I knew nothing about the Hare Krishna's.