In 1976, when Baba Muktananda was in Oakland, California, on his Second World Tour, I offered seva in the kitchen as one of the cooks. Baba came into the kitchen almost every day to cook and to teach us how to prepare food.
Cooking with Baba was an amazing experience. Baba was a Master, the embodiment of yoga in action. He was dynamic yet calm, energetic and also totally focused. Every time Baba was in the kitchen, his stillness and energy were like the dance of Shiva and Shakti. We soon learned to be ready for him. We set up for all the dishes we’d be cooking: rice, dhal, vegetables, chutney, and even a fruit salad with chocolate—Baba’s special recipe!
When Baba was in the kitchen, he seemed to be in four places at once. He was always present at the perfect time to add the spices to the oil or blend the chutney, to turn the flame off or add rose water to the fruit salad. Baba was a masterful conductor, creating the most shakti-filled and delicious meals—and all the while, teaching us about the sacredness of food.
When all the cooking was finished, Baba sat in his chair and we all sat around him. In those precious moments everything became supremely still. It was like being in the most holy of temples. The walls reverberated with silence.
From this experience of offering seva and receiving Baba’s teachings, I have learned to find my center no matter what is happening around me. I work in London two days each week, and even in the midst of the city’s noise and crowds, I can access a great stillness inside me. I just pause and focus within.
As I tap into the wellspring of peace in my own being, I am reminded of those magnificent days in the kitchen with Baba, and I know: Baba’s presence is always with me.
A Siddha Yogi from Coates, England