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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2003

Ankara, Turkey

Blithe Awakening

Mornings at the Yoga Center

When I was a child living on the farm where I was born in Fascadale, South Africa, I used to wake up just before dawn to the cooing of the pigeons in the tall eucalyptus trees that surrounded our little cottage, and to the sounds of my mother and grandmother bustling about in the kitchen, making breakfast (porridge, toast, and tea) on the black wood-burning stove.

I loved those early morning sounds: the murmured conversations, the gentle clinking of the pots and plates, and the glow from the kitchen door, all harmonized to reassure me that I was not alone in the dark farmhouse.

I fondly recall the memories of those blithe mornings here at the Sri Govinda Math Yoga Center in Ankara, where, every morning just before five, I am also awakened by the cooing of a dove, whispered conversations, and the muted clatter of utensils in the kitchen next door.

Only now it is Rukmini Devi Dasi and Navagauri Devi Dasi, bustling about in the adjacent kitchen, busily preparing breakfast for all the devotees, and the cooing is from Rukmini's pet dove, Kushul (Birdie), strutting about on the balcony that joins the rooms.

Rukmini Devi Dasi, the hands-on manager of the Yoga Center, is an excellent cook, and like any good mother, she is always fussing over us and begging us to have just one more helping of whatever it is that she is serving.

At breakfast she apologizes for the noise in the kitchen and I apologize for not being able to do justice to all her tasty preparations.

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