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The first tiny temple had been in Potts Point,
Upananda explained. In their spare time, Bali and Upendra used to
chant with drums and cymbals in the Domain, a vast, well-kept expanse
of parkland dotted with sprawling old fig trees near the city. The
Domain was well known as a 'Park for the People', where thousands
had flocked for years to watch cricket matches and military reviews.
More recently, it had been host to protests against the presence
of nuclear bases and Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War.
Within walking distance of their small temple, it came alive every
Sunday afternoon, offering instant crowds that eagerly gathered
around anyone who had something to say. Philosophers, evangelists,
political activists and popular heroes would proselytise atop ladders,
in the same way as in 'Speakers' Corner' at London's Hyde Park.
As the devotees arrived each week, dozens of various
speakers would already be standing atop ladders and boxes. They
promoted a vast array of doctrines - creationism, rationalism, pacifism
and republicanism to name but a few. Fundamentalist Christians with
banners proclaiming "Ye Must be Born Again" and "The
End is Nigh" vied for attention with real and quasi-religious
preachers. Communists and Anarchists stood beside Irish revolutionaries
and old Aborigines singing songs.
After chanting and addressing the crowd for some
time, Bali or Upendra, accompanied often by Bill, would extend an
open invitation to the crowd to return with them to the temple for
a 'Love Feast'. The devotees would then walk back across the grasslands,
followed by an assortment of hippies and 'free-spirits', past the
wharves and up the staircase on the cliff face that led to the quaint
old temple at Potts Point.
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