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Friday, June 6th, 2003

Johannesburg, South Africa.

Austere Fare

Roughing it in South Africa

Before Goswami Maharaj and I left India, Srila Gurudev said: "You are undergoing so much austerity, so much hardship, going to South Africa."

You wouldn't know it, the way we have been treated here at the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Ashram in Lenasia, Johannesburg. Premasindhu Prabhu and his family have made us feel completely at home. Our rooms are very thoughtfully furnished with everything we could possibly need: refreshments, stationery, toiletries, extra bedding, warm clothing...

Gopinath Prabhu and Shanta Prabhu are discreetly at hand whenever we need something: running errands, serving prasadam, doing our laundry — catering to our every desire.

And the prasadam! For lunch today we are served rice and dahl, a broad-beans curry (a favorite dish that I have not had in twenty years), an absolutely delicious curd subji, some fried okra, braised cauliflower and broccoli subji in some kind of creamy cheese sauce, a lush green salad, and a sweet sandesh.

Goswami Maharaj and I look at each other across the table, laugh, and say, "So much austerity!"

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