My heart's salutation to Australia, part 1
My salutation to the soul of Australia1My aspiring heart is saluting you.
My illumining soul is loving you.
In you, I see a perfect combination of the
mind's height and the heart's depth.
In you, I see a perfect combination of the
body's service and the vital's dynamism.
Your soul is at once the embodiment
of the ancient sun and the revelation
of tomorrow's dawn.
Your body-consciousness is the expansion
Your heart-delight is the perfection
Slowly and steadily your body walks.
Dynamically and confidently your vital marches.
Pointedly and unerringly your mind runs.
Devotedly and unconditionally your heart dives.
Eternally and supremely your soul flies.
Your life's greatness-dream is humanity's
Your life's goodness-reality is humanity's
— Sri Chinmoy
2 From audio transcript 1974. The first edition published 1976, did not include line 9 "Dynamically and confidently your vital marches. " Also, in the first edition, line 6 and 7 read 'body's consciousness' and heart's delight'
AspirationBefore I give a short talk on aspiration, I wish to offer my soulful gratitude to the soul of Australia for having granted me the opportunity to come here and serve her sweet children. I have been here for only twenty-four hours. During this very short span of time, seekers, friends and acquaintances have bestowed upon me their blessingful love, sympathy and concern. For that I am extremely grateful. Also, from the inmost recesses of my heart, I wish to offer my most soulful gratitude to the Dean of Perth. This morning I had the golden opportunity to be blessed by his august presence. His heart's magnanimity has touched the very depths of my heart. With all the sincerity at my command I pray to the Christ-consciousness to grant Mother Earth a few more sincere seekers and sincere lovers of mankind like the Dean of Perth, so that our planet earth can have a better peace, a more fulfilling heart and a more satisfying reality.
AUM AUM AUM
My dear Australian sisters and brothers, you are all welcome in my house. My house is my heart, my heart of aspiration and my heart of dedication. My heart of aspiration shall love the divine in you and my heart of dedication shall love the Supreme in you.
As you all know, there are two mighty forces that govern this world of ours. These mighty forces are desire-night and aspiration-light. Desire-night is the love of power and aspiration-light is the power of love. The love of power wants to destroy and devour the entire world. The power of love wants to feed and immortalise the entire world. The love of power is self-love; the power of love is God-love. When we utilise the love of power in our day-to-day activities, we consciously and deliberately bring to the fore the vital and destructive anger in us When we utilise the power of love in our multifarious activities, then God, out of His infinite Bounty, showers His choicest Blessings on us.
The life of greatness and the life of goodness. We aspire. Why do we aspire? If we aspire to become great, then our aspiration is not the real aspiration. If we aspire to become good, then our aspiration is real divine aspiration. Goodness is the aim of true aspiration. Greatness alone is constant competition. There is no satisfaction in it. By competition alone we can never achieve satisfaction. But if we become good, if we become divine instruments of God, then we achieve satisfaction far beyond our imagination's flight.
God is good. His goodness cannot be separated from His greatness, for true goodness always embodies greatness. The Christ, the Buddha, Lord Krishna — all spiritual Masters of the highest order — were Goodness incarnate. What do we see and feel in them? Greatness as well. So real greatness and real goodness go together. They are inseparable, like the obverse and reverse of the same coin.
The desire-night and the aspiration-light. If we walk along the road of desire-night, fulfilment will always remain a far cry. Our inner and outer expectations will never be satisfied. Yesterday we had a house; today we want two houses. If we get two houses today, we will not be satisfied. Tomorrow we will want to have one more. No matter how many things we possess, we will not be satisfied. Each time our expectation is fulfilled, a new expectation will come to take its place. But if we live in aspiration-light, when we achieve even an iota of satisfaction, we feel that inside that satisfaction one day will loom large infinite, boundless satisfaction. The aspiration-road must be followed. Each individual seeker must live in aspiration-light if he wants satisfaction. If he lives in desire-night, there can never be satisfaction.
Each individual on earth is crying for only one thing and that is satisfaction. But if satisfaction comes, it has to come through self-giving. Self-giving is the precursor of God-becoming. The more consciously and soulfully we can give our body, vital, mind, heart and soul to the Supreme Pilot within us, the sooner we can become an exact prototype of His divine Existence.
God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. But the sincere seeker is he who feels that God is most divine not because God is all Power, but because God is all Love. It is the love aspect of God that conquers the heart and soul of the true aspirant. When we live in desire-night, we become friends with human love. Human love is always the song of bondage. In human love, we try to bind others and others will naturally want to bind us. There is no satisfaction in this mutual bondage. Human love is eventually followed by frustration, and frustration is immediately followed by destruction.
When we live in aspiration-light, we make friends with divine love. At each moment divine love tries to expand its reality. Divine love is our continuous growth in divine reality. This divine love illumines us, liberates us and helps us to realise the highest Absolute. It illumines the obscure and impure life within us. It liberates the ignorance-bound and earth-bound realities within us. It satisfies the divine realities within us.
Fear is the obscurity within us. Doubt is the impurity within us. When illumination dawns, fear is transformed into strength and doubt is transformed into faith: the life-saving, life-immortalising faith. Insecurity is the ignorance-bound reality within us. When illumination dawns, our insecurity is transformed into all-illumining confidence. Our doubt-reality is transformed into a willingness to open to the inner light and our fear-reality is transformed into a willingness to open our heart's door to the divine realities. Finally, when realisation dawns, the earthbound realities, which did not allow us to accept the divine realities soulfully, lovingly, devotedly and unconditionally, now soulfully surrender to the divine power of the divine realities. When our undivine part surrenders to the divine in us, our entire being becomes absolutely perfect.
Aspiration is the inner cry, the mounting flame. Aspiration is at our journey's start and it is also at our journey's close. Ours is not an ordinary, earthly, human journey. Ours is a divine journey; therefore, this journey has neither a beginning nor an end. It is a birthless, deathless journey. This journey has a goal, but it does not stop at any goal, for it has come to realise that today's goal is only the starting point of tomorrow's journey. Once we start consciously and sincerely aspiring, we feel that we are walking along Eternity's road and that we shall eternally walk along this road, receiving and achieving Light, more Light, abundant Light, infinite Light. We shall offer this Light to the aspiring humanity so that this world of ours can become a Kingdom of Heaven.
Here we are all seekers. We have made an outer promise and an inner promise. Our outer promise is to Mother Earth and our inner promise is to Father Heaven. Our outer promise is that we shall become inseparably one with the excruciating pangs of Mother Earth. Our inner promise is that we shall become inseparably one with the all-illumining and all-fulfilling Smile of Father Heaven. We shall become inseparably one with both our Mother Earth and our Father Heaven and then we shall become a direct link between Mother Earth and Father Heaven. The aspiration of Mother Earth we shall carry to Father Heaven and the Realisation-Reality-Light of Father Heaven we shall bring down to Mother Earth for manifestation. Mother Earth and Father Heaven are both of equal importance. We need Father Heaven for God's supreme Realisation and we need Mother Earth for God's supreme Manifestation. Both realisation and manifestation are of paramount importance. When we realise and manifest, we complete the cosmic Game.
St. George's Cathedral Perth,
2 March 1976
Questions and answers
Question: I come from Auroville and I was wondering if you are carrying on the mission of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo?Sri Chinmoy: I am carrying on the mission of the Supreme. The entire creation belongs to the Supreme, and the Supreme out of His infinite Bounty has granted me an iota of light and has commanded me to be of service to Him in aspiring humanity. So when I serve Him, I serve everyone: Sri Aurobindo, the Mother, Lord Krishna, the Buddha, Sri Ramakrishna and all others. When I serve the Supreme, I serve all the spiritual Masters that have ever come into the world.
Question: Are you a Christian? Do you believe that Christ was God?Sri Chinmoy: In order to have implicit faith in the Christ, one does not have to be a Christian. The Christ is not a Christian. The Christ is the Saviour, the Son of God. He is the all-pervading Reality, so we can't bind him. I was born a Hindu, yet I have every right to call him a Saviour, to pray to him and meditate on him. Just because I am not a Christian does not mean that I am not entitled to invoke his Consciousness or his Light. I am sorry if I did not understand your question. You asked me if I am a Christian. Yes, in a sense I am a Christian, because I love the Divinity and I invoke and worship the supreme Reality which the Christ embodies. In that sense, if I am not a Christian, who else is a Christian?
Again, if we enter into the mental world, then there is conflict between this division of Christianity and that division of Christianity. But I wish to say that although I was born into a Hindu family, I see no conflict in my acceptance of the Christ, for I know that he is of God, he is in God and he is for God. Since I am a seeker, I have transcended the religion barrier. For me there is only one religion and that religion is love of Truth. Whoever embodies Truth in boundless measure is my Saviour.
Question: How can we transform surrender from a theoretical notion into a practical one?Sri Chinmoy: We have to know one thing. Theory does not give us abiding satisfaction, whereas through practice we do get abiding satisfaction. If surrender is forced, then always it will be in the world of theory. But if it is spontaneous and unconditional, if it is coming cheerfully from the depths of our heart, then automatically it becomes practical. Just because someone else has surrendered to God, if you feel that you are also supposed to surrender to God, then you are mistaken. You have to wait for your hour. Today the hour has struck in his life; tomorrow your hour will strike. You have to wait cheerfully, devotedly and unconditionally.
How do we make our surrender practical? There is a simple and, at the same time, effective way. Before we pray and meditate, if we offer our soulful gratitude to the Almighty Father, the Inner Pilot, then our surrender becomes practical. Why does it become practical? It becomes practical because inside our gratitude-light we see the Supreme's infinite Compassion. We are grateful to Him because out of millions of people He has chosen us to pray to Him, to meditate on Him, to invoke His Light, to invoke His Presence. When we develop gratitude, we expand our reality. And when we expand our reality, love blossoms petal by petal inside us and we become inseparably one with God's Will. When we are inseparably one with God's Will, our surrender becomes cheerful.
Forced surrender the slave will make to the master. But in spiritual surrender we have to feel that we are surrendering to our own highest Reality. It is not to somebody else, a third person, but to our own highest Reality. Right now we feel that our self is a tiny drop. Why? Because we have separated our existence from the mighty ocean. As long as we maintain our sense of separativity, we will not dare to enter into the ocean. If we take the theoretical approach and feel that the ocean in front of us will always remain vast, then we will always remain the drop. But when we are very practical, we just dive and throw our existence into the ocean and become one with it. Then, on the strength of our feeling of oneness, we enter into the ocean and lose our little, limited individuality and personality and become the infinite ocean itself.
Question: Does the practice of Kriya Yoga hasten this process?Sri Chinmoy: Yes, certainly. The practice of Kriya Yoga undoubtedly hastens and expedites the process. Like other branches of Yoga, Kriya Yoga will also expedite the spiritual journey. It really depends on the individual seeker. If you like Kriya Yoga more than other Yogas, then you are at perfect liberty to practise Kriya Yoga. If somebody likes some other form of Yoga, then naturally he will practise this Yoga. No matter which Yoga you follow, if it is sincere and genuine and self-giving, it is bound to expedite your goal.
Question: Sir, there seems to be inside me a dark meanness which appears more spontaneous than my love and kindness. How can I combat this dark power?Sri Chinmoy: I fully sympathise with you. But now that you are aware of this meanness, you are already half way to curing yourself. There are many people who are not aware of their shortcomings, but in your case you are aware of your shortcomings. Now, how do you cure meanness? Not by thinking of meanness all the time. From now on, kindly take the positive side. Meanness is self-centred. By always thinking of night, by always looking at night, you cannot go into light; whereas if you all the time consciously think of vastness, the sympathetic heart or oneness-heart, then automatically meanness disappears from you.
There are two rooms: one is the room of meanness, the other is the room of vastness. If you always remain inside the meanness-room and say, "How did I get this meanness? How am I going to combat this?" then you are scared to death. The best thing is to take the positive side and remain in the other room, which is vastness, oneness. If you stay there for a couple of years, then your entire being will become surcharged with vastness and oneness. Then if you enter into the room of meanness, that room will be changed into vastness and oneness.
Both the rooms belong to you, but you have been staying in the dark room which is meanness. You are trying desperately to come out of this room, but there is a subtle resistance in your life. You don't like it, but at the same time you do like it. Unconsciously you may treasure it, although consciously you do not. If you consciously treasured meanness, then the question of getting rid of it would not arise at all. But unconsciously we do quite a few things. So if you can consciously remain in the room that is vastness and oneness, there comes a time when your entire being will be surcharged with illumination-light. Then you can enter into the meanness room, which is dark, obscure and impure, and illumine it.
Question: I feel as though my being is going through an arid night. How can I find purpose in this world?Sri Chinmoy: Each seeker has two individuals in him: one is the desiring man, the other is the aspiring man. The world has offered you considerable frustration. Now, who is responsible for this frustration? The desiring man in you. The aspiring man in you will never be frustrated; he will always try to see light in God's own way. If constantly you feel the presence of the desiring man, he will give you what he has: frustration. Then you see no purpose in life. But if you feel the aspiring man in yourself, then at every moment you will see a glowing purpose in your life. Each thought, each idea, each ideal will have a purpose. Each moment will have a purpose. Inside each moment you will see a vast, conscious operation. So if you want to discover the purpose of your life, from now on kindly try to feed and nourish the aspiring man in you. Then you are bound to discover the purpose in your life.
Philosophy, spirituality and yogaPhilosophy is God-speculation. Spirituality is God-expectation. Yoga is God-union. God-speculation, God-expectation and God-union.
Philosophy most of the time operates on the mental plane. Spirituality most of the time operates in the outer being. Yoga operates in the oneness-heart and in the perfection-life.
Philosophy has come to the conclusion that God is stupendous. Spirituality has come to the conclusion that God is glorious. Yoga has come to the conclusion that God is gracious, loving, compassionate, illumining and fulfilling.
God says to philosophy, "My child, you have known Me as someone stupendous. I shall make you stupendous." God says to spirituality, "My child, you have known Me as someone glorious. I shall grant you all My Glory." To Yoga God says, "My child, you have known Me as someone gracious. Of all My qualities, My most treasured quality is Grace. You are also aware of My Love. Nothing is equal to My Love. Because you are aware of My Compassion and Illumination, I shall bestow My choicest, blessingful Compassion and Illumination on you in infinite measure. And not only that, but also I shall eventually fulfil you by making you another God."
A student of philosophy studies in the mind-school. He wants to measure God's Infinity. A student of spirituality studies in the body-school, vital-school and mind-school. He wants to reach God's Eternity. A student of Yoga studies in the heart-school and in the soul-school. In the heart-school he studies for liberation from ignorance-night and in the soul-school he studies for the perfect perfection of life here on earth.
Who can measure God's Infinity? It is absurd to think of trying. Who can catch God's Eternity? Nobody. But who can try to become liberated? Who can try to become perfect? Everybody. You, he, I everybody. Everybody in God's creation can make a soulful attempt to become free from the meshes of ignorance and to be perfect. In the heart-school and the soul-school, the student of Yoga learns something else: he learns how to become an unconditional instrument of God. He learns to live on earth only to please God in God's own way.
The student of philosophy is puzzled. The student of spirituality is astonished. The student of Yoga is awakened, totally awakened. The student of philosophy wants to address the world assembly. He wants to prove that God exists. The student of spirituality wants to carry God's Light throughout the length and breadth of the world. The student of Yoga has been commissioned by God Himself, out of His infinite Bounty, to embody, reveal and manifest God in God's own way.
Philosophy and spirituality belong to the domain of knowledge, whereas Yoga belongs to the domain of wisdom. I am extremely happy to learn that the motto of this august university is "Seek Wisdom." When a seeker practises true Yoga, he comes to realise that there can be nothing more important in his life than wisdom-light. He discovers that there is a vast difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is nothing more than the accumulation of world-facts and information. These facts and pieces of information do not and cannot illumine his aspiring consciousness. But wisdom-light can and does illumine his entire being — his earthly life and his earthbound reality. What is proper wisdom? Proper wisdom is the realisation that God is at once one and many, the Creator and the creation. In the inner world He is Silence and in the outer world He is Sound. The seeker with wisdom-light also realises that God needs him as much as he needs God.
Each individual has to launch into the path of the spirit. He can start as a philosophy student. Then he can become a spirituality student. Then he can become a student of Yoga. The most important thing for each human being is to start the journey. There is no end to our journey. There is no end to our goal. One should consciously start, even if he starts only out of curiosity. If he has even a little thirst for God-discovery, let him start with curiosity. Naturally, there comes a time when mere curiosity does not satisfy him. So he tries to go deeper. Then he resorts to imagination. He tries to imagine God in whatever way he wants to. But soon there comes a time when he is no longer satisfied with imagination. Then he goes one step ahead: he knocks at the door of inspiration. Then he continues his journey with inspiration for some time.
But eventually there comes a time when the seeker realises that imagination and inspiration cannot carry him far enough. Then he tries to go deep within to discover if there is anything else he needs for his inner journey. He discovers that he is missing something, and that thing is aspiration. Once he has discovered aspiration in the inmost recesses of his heart, all his problems are solved. All past, present and future problems put together are helpless in the face of aspiration, for aspiration is the burning, glowing flame within. It is a birthless and endless flame that mounts high, higher, highest and purifies the things that have to be purified in our unlit, obscure, impure nature. While illumining the unlit, obscure, impure qualities in us, it immortalises the divine qualities in us: faith in God, love of God and unconditional surrender, which says to God, "Let Thy Will be done."
University of Western Australia
3 March 1976
10.Dear seekers, dear sisters and brothers, I am also a seeker like you. We all are in one Boat. Our Goal is one: the Golden Shore of the Beyond. Here we are all members of the same divine family, so I feel that here I can be perfectly safe. Here I don't have to be something other than what I eternally am. What I eternally am is a seeker of the Absolute Truth. You are also the same, seekers of the Eternal Truth walking along Eternity's Shore.
If you have any spiritual questions, I will take them as a golden opportunity to be of service to you. I shall be extremely glad and grateful if you have anything to ask me.
Questions and answers
Question: Which would come first: realisation of the Divine or manifestation of the Divine, or both simultaneously?Sri Chinmoy: As a principle, the realisation of the Divine must come first; then comes the manifestation. First you reach the height and then you bring down the fruit from above and share it with the world at large. This is the general theory. Again, there is another theory. If one has a spiritual Master, the Master may say to the disciple, "Look, I have realised the Highest, I have got the thing that you need. It is the Will of the Supreme that you start helping me in the manifestation of the Supreme."
At this point, while you are realising you are also manifesting. While you are realising the Divinity inside the Master, or directly inside the Supreme, you are at the same time manifesting the Supreme. So at this point realisation and manifestation go together.
As a matter of fact, it is the aspiration inside both the realisation and manifestation that we notice. Manifestation is not a finished product, just as realisation is not a finished product. There is no end to our realisation and there is no end to our manifestation. Let us take realisation as a tree. Somebody comes and stands in front of the realisation-tree and says that he has seen the realisation-tree. We can't deny it. But somebody else will come and touch the realisation-tree, while a third person will climb up a few metres. A fourth person will climb up to the topmost branch and the fifth one will not only climb up but also bring down the fruits and share them with the world at large. So his realisation is undoubtedly far superior to the realisation of those who either stayed at the foot of the tree or only climbed up a few metres.
If somebody has no Master and he wants to discover the Truth all by himself, let him realise God first and then listen to the dictates of God. God will direct him in manifesting God in God's own way. But if somebody has a God-realised Master, then it is up to the Master to tell him whether to realise God first in order to manifest God, or whether to realise and manifest at the same time. If the Master tells him to realise while manifesting and to manifest while realising, then the Master will be responsible and the individual should listen to the Master.
Question: There are many spiritual Masters in the world today, but it seems that they don't really agree or feel the same.Sri Chinmoy: If they don't agree, that doesn't mean that they are wrong. As I said before, each one has seen the tree in his own way. Some have just seen, some have climbed up a little, some have climbed up to the Highest. So each one will talk about God according to his own realisation. It is up to the individual seeker to have implicit faith in one particular Master. I will say a particular thing. If you are not satisfied with what I say, no harm. Somebody else will say something which will satisfy you and then you may become his disciple. Again, a third party here may feel that what I am saying is correct, so he will become my follower. The fact that all spiritual Masters do not agree will not hinder the seeker's progress. Rome is the destination; many roads lead to Rome. The most important thing is to have faith in someone and follow his teachings; that will lead you to your destination. Sometimes the followers of a particular teacher may brag and, unfortunately, even the teacher may also brag that his path is the sunlit path, the shortest path and so many things. But if you as a seeker have implicit faith in one of the teachers, in one of the paths, and if you are satisfied, then you are right to walk along this particular path with the teacher you have chosen, no matter what others say. All the teachers and all the paths will take you to the same goal. The goal is one, but the roads will be many. If somebody says his road is better, far superior to others, it is up to the seekers to make a choice.
There are many teachers. But one teacher you will find who gives you immediate joy, boundless joy, though you cannot account for it in your mind; or he makes you feel that you had a previous connection with him or you have an affinity with him. Outwardly your mind cannot fathom the Delight or Peace or other sublime qualities that you are feeling, but you feel something in him. If you have this kind of experience with a certain teacher, then rest assured that he is meant for you. The teachers may differ and each one will say, "You come to my room. My room is full of beautiful things; it will satisfy you." But it is up to you to enter into a teacher's room and see whether or not the things that he has will satisfy you. If they do not satisfy you, then you go to somebody else's room-another Master-and if he satisfies you, then you remain there.
Question: Does not the desire for satisfaction represent a barrier to the realisation of the Supreme?Sri Chinmoy: We have to know what kind of satisfaction it is. If we remain in the desire-world, we immediately cry for satisfaction. We expect something and inside that expectation is the feeling that satisfaction will dawn if we walk along the road of desire. But if we walk along the path of aspiration, our aim is not satisfaction. Our aim is to become a perfect instrument of God. We are not crying for satisfaction; we are crying only to establish our unconditional surrender to God's Will. While we are aiming at this loftiest Goal, God, out of His infinite Bounty, says, "My child is trying so hard to please Me in My own way; it is My Duty to give him some satisfaction." But as seekers, we are not crying for satisfaction. We are crying only for one thing: to become good, perfect, unconditional instruments of God so that God can manifest Himself in and through us
When we walk along the path of aspiration, we will be satisfied not by getting Peace, Light and Bliss; we will be satisfied only if we can satisfy God in God's own way. Suppose God stands in front of us and we feel that we have to show God our utmost devotion. So we bring flowers or candles or incense, something to show our devotion. But God says, "No! This is not what I want. I don't want this. I want something else. Bring me a book or a glass of water." Our human mind says that since God is in front of us, we should go and place flowers at His Feet. But if we identify with God's Will, we will immediately know that God does not want flowers from us; He wants some material object or something else. When we can make unconditional surrender to God's Will, we immediately know what God wants from us and what He wants us to do.
Question: Why do you need a spiritual teacher? Isn't it true that you can walk alone and still arrive at Truth?Sri Chinmoy: He who realised God for the first time walked alone. At that time he got Blessings and Light directly from God. Here on earth most human beings who are cultured and well-educated have been to college and university. Some people become great writers or artists without going to school, but they are exceptions. The rest have gone to school. A teacher is not obligatory. The only thing is that if we go alone, at times you may doubt your own experiences. Suppose you have a very high experience and you have nobody to discuss it with. All the appropriate books are available in the bookshop. You take a book and read it, but at that time you may not understand it properly, doubt may enter your mind and you will say, "Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps I am wrong." But when you have a teacher and the teacher says this is this and that is that, immediately you are convinced.
Now, there is a great difference between a school teacher and a spiritual teacher. A school teacher will examine you and he will pass or fail you according to your capacity. But a spiritual teacher is like a private tutor. A private tutor only helps you to pass the examination. He teaches you privately so that you can stand against ignorance and enter into the sea of Light.
If someone wants to walk alone, no harm. But the process may be slow. If doubt enters, the process will be very, very slow. He is walking, but he is not convinced that he is walking along the right road, so he will come back a few steps. Then he will walk a few more steps and again his mind will be assailed by doubt and once again he will start walking backward. There is no end to this. But if he is walking along the road with a guide, the guide will be able to convince him, "Come, I know this road will take you to the Goal. I will definitely be able to take you to the Goal along this road.
Again, it is up to the individual. He may say "I don't want anybody. I believe in God's Eternity. I will wait for God's Hour. If it takes hundreds and thousands of years, no harm." But another individual will say, "No, I believe in speed. Since God-realisation is not a fixed thing, since it is constantly transcending its own Reality-Heights, it will take God knows how many years for me to realise God. Then God alone knows how many years it will take me to reveal God and manifest God. Realisation has no end; revelation has no end; manifestation has no end. Everything is in the process of transcendence. My journey started with aspiration and my Goal is the Eternal Aspiration."
Inside aspiration is realisation. Inside aspiration is revelation. Inside aspiration is manifestation. When we become aware of our real aspiration, we see that it is something birthless and deathless. In order to enter into that birthless and deathless consciousness of aspiration, we feel that the sooner we start our journey properly, the better for us.
Question: Do you see Australia playing a large role in a new age?Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. Australia is bound to play a most significant role in the comity of nations, because Australia has not yet played its supreme role. Its soul is new; it has not yet got the opportunity to muster all its light for its manifestation. Australia's body is old, but the soul is new. The body is very strong, stout and solid, experienced. So when the soul musters all its divine potentialities, capacities, realities and divinities, the soul will manifest most powerfully. There definitely shall come time at God's Choice Hour when the soul of Australia will be able to manifest all its unique, unprecedented capacities through the body of Australia. Australia is bound to play a most significant role in the comity of nations; it is only a matter of time. Nobody can deny it, but until the Hour strikes everybody can deny it. Even one minute before the Hour strikes, the whole world can deny it. But when it is done, nobody can deny it.
Question: How can we all manifest love more?Sri Chinmoy: There are three types of love: animal love, human love and divine love. Animal love is all destruction. If we enter into the animal consciousness, we see it is all destruction. Human love always tries to possess and be possessed. Divine love wants to expand and establish oneness.
Because we are seekers, our aim is to have always divine Love in us. How do we cultivate this divine Love? We cultivate divine Love by entering into the Source. The Source is God, who is all Love. When the seeker enters into the spiritual life, he does not have to have all the occult powers. No, he does not need God's occult powers to perform some miracles so the whole world will be at his feet. The seeker does not want that. He prays to God only for one thing: for a big, vast, sublime heart, so that inside his heart he can feel the entire humanity.
He is praying to God because God is all love to him and love to everybody. God's greatness can fascinate him. But God's greatness will not satisfy him. Only God's Goodness will satisfy him. God's Goodness is His Love. It is God's Love-aspect that has conquered him.
At every moment we have to be very careful whether it is human love or divine Love that has entered into us or is operating in and through us. If we give someone something and then expect something in return because we feel that the person is under an obligation to give us something back, this is human love. But if we can do something unconditionally, that is divine Love. In divine Love we give for the sake of giving and we feel it is up to the other person whether he gives us something back or not. This is unconditional Love, this is divine Love.
Then there is something called supreme Love. Supreme Love far transcends even divine Love. In supreme Love we have to know how, when and in which manner we love an individual. Sometimes it may happen that God's Hour has not struck in someone. At this time God wants an individual to stay fast asleep in ignorance. This means God has decided that that person will take two days or two years to wake up. I, as an individual, knowing it is not good to remain asleep in ignorance, feel I should go and knock at his door. But he is fast asleep, his room is untidy and he will be furious. He will say, "What right do you have to come and awaken me? I am enjoying sleep; you have no right to disturb me." But if God's Choice Hour has struck for this individual, I will go and knock at his door and he will be so grateful to me that I have awakened him, for it is high time for him to pray and meditate.
When we cultivate supreme Love, we give all importance to God's Choice Hour. In divine Love our motive is excellent, even unconditional. We want to knock at someone's door and wake him up so that he can meditate. It is for his good we are doing it, but it may be untimely. The mother is knocking at the son's door and saying, "Get up, get up, it is high time!" The mother is doing the right thing but the son gets furious. He says, "No, don't bother me; I am going back to sleep. Today I don't want to go to work; I don't want to go to school." But if we have supreme Love, we will not only do the thing unconditionally but also at God's proper Hour. Then we will not be misunderstood. Each seeker will feel that we have done the right thing for him.
Animal love is out of the question for seekers. Divine love is far better than human love. To give anything unconditionally is the most difficult thing. So until we know what supreme Love is, let us at least try to come out of human love and offer divine Love.
I am extremely grateful to all the seekers here. As I said before, I feel perfectly safe here for we are all in the same boat, and we are all heading towards the same destination: Truth-discovery and God-discovery, which are one and inseparable.
Meeting with the Lord Mayor of PerthSri Chinmoy met with the Lord Mayor of Perth, the Honourable Earnest Lee-Steere, at the Lord Mayor's office at Council House, Perth on 3 March 1976.
Service at the U.N.Lord Mayor: You do a lot of good work for the people in the United Nations, I believe.
Sri Chinmoy: I try to serve mankind according to my capacity. Whenever I am given the opportunity to be of any service feel it is most rewarding. So I try my hardest to serve mankind, not only at the United Nations, but everywhere. I go from one place to another, like a bird, and try to offer to others the light that God, out of His infinite Bounty, has granted me.
Lord Mayor: I think it's wonderful that you do this, because so many people, particularly those who hold the so-called prominent positions for their countries at the U.N., seem to need it. In my experience with local government, it's slightly disappointing to see the number of people who are ostensibly there to serve their fellow citizens when, in fact, their main motivation seems to be to glorify themselves. I think a person such as you, who is so humble in himself, trying to give light to people in so-called prominent positions, probably reminds them to be more dedicated to the ideals they are supposed to be serving rather than to themselves.
HumilitySri Chinmoy: I always say that when you really have something to offer to the world, then you can become truly humble. A tree, when it has no fruit to offer, remains erect. But when the tree is laden with fruit, it bends down. When you have genuine humility, it is a sign that you have something to offer to mankind. If you are all pride and ego, then nobody will be able to get anything worthwhile from you.
Lord Mayor: That is a very wonderful parable. Great men through the ages have been quietly preaching parables to other people. I'm so glad you have met the Dean. He's new here. He seems a nice man.
Sri Chinmoy: He has been very kind and generous. One lady berated him on the phone for giving me the opportunity to speak in a Christian cathedral. This is why I find it difficult to accept the barriers of religion. Our Indian spirituality far transcends these barriers of religion. It feels that Truth is nobody's monopoly. Truth is your birthright, my birthright, everybody's birthright. When we think of Truth and cry for Truth, all problems are solved. But when we think of a particular religion, each religion claims to be by far the best. "My religion is far better than yours," people will say. There is no end to this silly, fruitless controversy.
Lord Mayor: Man's inhumanity to man through different sects of religion is incredible! When you think of the French, for instance, tying people upside down on stakes and burning them because there was a slight difference in their Christianity. And the Spanish inquisition, the Moslem and Christian war in Lebanon, the war in Ireland. It's awful, isn't it? What happens all around the world is unbelievable! In the name of Truth and God, people are led by their religions to this absolutely ridiculous bigotry.
Sri Chinmoy: What does it prove? It proves that the animal in us is not yet fully transformed. It is only waiting for the opportunity to come to the fore and devour the rest of the world. Only when we practise real spirituality, when we sincerely cry for God and the highest Truth through our prayer and meditation, is the animal in us transformed into a divine child. Then slowly, steadily and unerringly the divine child becomes absolutely perfect. This perfection is everybody's ultimate aim and goal. Unfortunately, right now, the animal is still hiding in us like a hungry wolf. It is only waiting for the opportunity to devour us and the rest of the world.
A lover of God and TruthLord Mayor: You know, sometimes I find myself nearly preaching in my job here, because of people's stubbornness. This was chosen as the site of a city where a lot of people would live: therefore, it's necessary to have roads and interchanges. But there is always a group that says nothing should be done — you are spoiling nature. My answer to that is twofold. First, if you don't want to do anything around the river at all, then you should have put the capital city on some hot, dusty sandhill out back, and left the river exactly as it was. And the second thing is that at least we, as humans, have done better than perhaps the dinosaurs would have done. They would have been trudging around despoiling parts of the river. So I find myself almost preaching, God forgive me, by saying that I'm a great believer in the divinity of man and that for better or worse we're the best He's got. I say that we're trying to look after people, not trying to worship the ground or the river. It may sometimes be bad luck from an aesthetic point of view, but we have to have some roads and some car parks since this is the place where people have decided to live. It's my job as Lord Mayor to make Perth as comfortable as possible for the people, while at the same time preserving the beauty as best I can. There's a lot of Western Australia that hasn't got anything on it except the ants and the birds. And so I keep finding myself almost preaching, saying that in my opinion man is made in the Sight of God and this is what we are supposed to be doing. That falls on some deaf ears amongst some of the hard-headed people around, but is it not a reasonable philosophy?
Sri Chinmoy: Absolutely! With my heart's implicit sincerity, I wish to tell you that you are a real lover of God and Truth. What I practise and what my students practise, you also try to practice. We use the term 'seeker.' We seek God and Truth in a specific way. You are also seeking the Truth and believing and manifesting the Truth in your own way. But our ultimate Goal is the same. What you are doing is absolutely right. The seeker in you is most genuine and most soulful, and because of that I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to be here. The seeker in me and the seeker in you have become eternal friends in the soul's world. Our eternal friendship is recorded on the tablets of our aspiring hearts.
DedicationSri Chinmoy wrote a dedication to the Mayor in one of his books, and presented it to the Mayor. The Lord Mayor presented a book about Perth to Sri Chinmoy and wrote in it: "To a truly great and humble man."
Meeting with Ian CairnsOn 2 March 1976 during a visit to Perth, Australia, Sri Chinmoy had a meeting with world champion surfer Ian Cairns. Excerpts from their conversation follow.
Concentration and meditationSri Chinmoy: The life of the ego and material success will eventually fail. The life that disciplines itself, the life that has a higher call, an inner call, can serve mankind most fruitfully. Devoted service to God is the real life. So I tell my students to live a life of spiritual discipline, a life of inner oneness. When we have no sense of separativity, at that time the inner life can flow.
You are twenty-three, and so you are on the ascendant. You can go high, higher, highest. There is no end to the inner experiences and inner progress you can have. Life is the teacher, and the more experiences you are supplied with, the more you will grow.
Ian Cairns: When I'm surfing, obviously I'm competing against other people or trying to improve my approach in certain ways. There's a lot of energy outflow a lot of building up of a mental strength to try and perform your best on the waves. It is like meditation in the matter of concentration.
Sri Chinmoy: We feel that concentration and meditation are two different things. When you concentrate on a particular subject or object, you focus all your attention on that person or thing. If you know how to meditate, then you will make your mind calm, quiet and tranquil. When you see a huge wave, if you have the power of meditation, then you will not be scared to death. If you have peace of mind, then certainly you will have no fear of the waves of the sea. In fact, inside the waves you will feel tranquility precisely because you have calmed your own mind. It is in the mind that fear exists because the mind enjoys a sense of separativity. You are an Australian and I am an Indian. This is what the mind says. But the heart will say that you and I are one. We came from God, we are in God and we shall one day become God.
How do you meditate? You meditate with an inner cry. There should be an inner cry here, in the heart. The outer cry is ego-centred; it wants name and fame. But in your case, what you want is the life of divine reality, so you must have an inner cry to serve God in man. While you are feeling this inner cry, you try to make the mind absolutely calm and quiet. If a thought enters your mind, you try to reject it. Consider this thought as a fly. When a fly comes to land on your arm, you don't allow the fly to remain; you just wave your hand and it goes away. It comes again and we chase it away again. Then there comes a time when the fly will not come and bother you; it goes to somebody else. So when thoughts come into your mind, you try to chase them away. You say, "I do not welcome you. You are an intruder." How many times will a thought be able to come when you are rejecting it again and again and again? When the thought is allowed to come into the mind, at that time you are in meditation. Your whole mind becomes calm, quiet and tranquil and you become a sea of Peace and Light and Bliss. First you face the sea and then you yourself become the sea of Peace and Light and Bliss.
Benefits of meditationIan Cairns: You've spoken with Muhammad Ali and people like that. Does he use meditation?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes! I had a talk with him, a most soulful talk, for about two and a half hours. The first part of it we missed; the tape recorder failed us. But the second part was recorded. Our conversation was all about spirituality. He prays most sincerely and even before he goes to fight he prays with his manager, Herbert Muhammad. He prays to Allah for Allah's guidance, for Allah's Light, so that he can also serve mankind. His heart is full of simplicity and sincerity. We meditated together for about ten or fifteen minutes and then he asked me many questions about prayer and meditation and told me about his own spiritual life. We had a very soulful conversation.
Ian Cairns: So through meditation you are able to improve your own level of endeavour by ignoring outside influences?
Sri Chinmoy: We make tremendous improvement through meditation. This is the only way of improving any part of life; there is no other way to make abiding progress. But we don't ignore anything. The negative aspects of life are also part and parcel of Mother Earth. If we ignore them, what will happen? They will come again and attack our near ones and dear ones. So what we do is try to change them, transform them. In the beginning we do not pay attention to them precisely because we want to be strong. If you are weak, how are you going to protect others? But if you become strong, then you will be in a position to help and protect others. And it is meditation that makes you strong and powerful.
So first we become strong. Then we will be in a position to help others. But we do not ignore anything; only in the beginning, we pay attention to Beauty, Light and Delight. When we get Light and Delight, through this Light and Delight we can be transformed. We try to pay all attention to the positive aspects of life so that we muster courage, strength, will-power in infinite measure. Then, when the negative aspects turn up, we try to change the fate of those who are in the world of darkness and indulgence.
Ian Cairns: When you are riding waves, you are not up against energy forces of other people; you are up against the energy of the ocean. Often I've found that, through a positive mental approach to the waves, you can overpower the energy of the ocean and every good wave will come to you. You have a complete confidence and sort of know that everything will go right. Would that be something akin to natural meditation?
Sri Chinmoy: Certainly! When you are surcharged with infinite energy, then no matter what you are facing, you will not be frightened. When you have divine energy in boundless measure, your divine energy enters into the wave before you touch that wave. Then your energy, which is boundless, immediately makes friends with the wave. Even if the wave has destructive energy, no harm. You embody the energy which is infinitely more powerful than the energy which the wave possesses. Then what happens is that the destructive energy in the wave surrenders to the constructive energy which you embody. And where did you get this energy from? You got it directly from meditation.
Ian Cairns: To do all these sorts of things, do you have to lead any special kind of religious life? Or can you maintain your own life-style?
Sri Chinmoy: You do not have to give up your previous life in order to meditate. If you want to remain in your religion, then you should remain in your religion; the path of meditation will never ask anybody to give up his religion. Ours is not a religion, ours is only a path. Religion is a home. So you will come from your home to this place of study and I will come from my home. You don't have to give up your religion and I don't have to give up my religion. But we do have to go to the school in order to get wisdom. And the school is meditation. So when you are practising meditation. you do not have to give up religion. That is not necessary at all. Only you have to be sincere.
By virtue of your sincerity, your talent and your perseverance, you are the world's best surfer. In the spiritual life also, you have the same sincerity. If you have the willingness to become good, divine and perfect, then you are bound to succeed. It has taken you quite a few years to become an adept in surfing. In the spiritual life it also takes some time, but it is all done by God's Grace. God has chosen you out of millions and millions of people to become a world champion. He has not selected anybody else. He has not selected your brother or father; he has selected you. Why? Because He wants you to serve Him in mankind in this particular way.
So we don't have to give up our religion, only we have to study at our inner school. The inner school teaches only one thing: God's Grace and God's Compassion. This is the subject we have to study. God's Grace can do everything for us provided we believe in God's Grace, provided we feel it is God's Grace alone that acts in and through us.
Ian Cairns: I haven't ever really been into any religion at all because I've just been concentrating on surfing. But a lot of those things I really believe are a divine gift. I'd like to learn more about meditation because I think it could help me improve my own ability in surfing. I've never heard much about meditation before and I don't really know anything about it.
Having a teacherSri Chinmoy: Do you think it will be possible for you to come this evening? I shall be meditating at the Cathedral. There you will see me meditating and contemplating. I will invoke God's Presence for you and for the other visitors who are sincere, and at that time you are bound to feel something. When I invoke God's Presence, at that time God's Presence comes into the seekers. I invoke and bring all of their divine qualities to the fore so that they can receive God's Light in abundant measure according to their capacity.
Ian Cairns: And afterwards, how do you continue to meditate? Do you just do it by yourself or do you have some school, or what?
Sri Chinmoy: Some surfers come to you because you are an authority on that subject. They know that if they come to you, they will be able to learn everything in a very convincing manner. Again, there have been a few experienced and talented human beings, like Tagore and others, who didn't go to school. But we can't say that they are not men of wisdom. No, they are. But these are exceptions. Otherwise, most men of knowledge went to school and had a teacher. Meditation you can practise all by yourself or in groups; but if you want to make the most satisfactory progress, you need a teacher. Your students practise surfing. They may make mistakes, but when they come to you, you counsel them and tell them this is wrong, this is right. So if they believe in you, they don't commit the same mistakes again. Someone can learn surfing without a teacher, but it takes a much longer time. In the spiritual life, time is of paramount importance. I know that my Goal is not stationary; my Goal is constantly transcending itself. Today we have a Goal; tomorrow the Goal is something higher and deeper, more illumining and more fulfilling. If you have a teacher, the teacher helps you considerably. There are many teachers. Some students have implicit faith in you, so they come to you whereas there will be some students who will have more faith in somebody else, so they will go to that person. In my case also, I say that if somebody sees something in me and feels that I am the right person to be of service to him, then he can try my path. But if he feels that somebody else can give him more Light, more Knowledge, more Wisdom, more Peace, then I tell him to go to that person. But a teacher is necessary. He will expedite your journey. Once you reach the Goal, it is just a matter of time before you will become a teacher. Previously you were a student of surfing and now you have become a teacher. But you started your life as a student.
Ian Cairns: Thank you very much.
Sri Chinmoy: Thank you, thank you.
Rose bush for world peaceSri Chinmoy planted a rose bush for world peace at the Nedlands Memorial Rose Gardens in Perth on 3 March 1976. With him was Mayor Charles Smith of Nedlands, a suburb of Perth where the Sri Chinmoy Centre is located. Sri Chinmoy offered the Mayor a plaque to be placed at the foot of the rose bush, and began his talk by reading the message on the plaque.
Rose bush for world peace"This rose bush was planted by Sri Chinmoy for the inspiration of all who aspire towards Peace." So this I offer to you. I wish to say, Mr. Mayor, dear spiritual brother, that to be here in your presence is to be blessed by your wisdom-light. You have far surpassed most of us with your soulful maturity. With your magnanimous heart you have conquered the hearts of many, many, many people. From now on, I will be one of those. I shall be one on that list of the countless souls who appreciate and admire you.
Here we are planting a rose bush. The significance of the rose in the inner world is most important. The rose, like other flowers, has fragrance and beauty, but it also has something special, unique. There are very few flowers in God's creation that please God to the greatest extent. The rose is one of those, along with the lotus. Rose and lotus: these are the two mystical flowers. These are the two flowers in God's Heart-Garden that please Him most. The fragrance and beauty of this rose will come from Perth, Australia and go directly to the Heart of God the Creator and God the creation.
I wish to say that this is not an honour; it is a blessing that you are bestowing upon me and my followers, and this blessing I am going to treasure all my life. As a seeker, I am offering my aspiration to this rose bush so that it can continuously grow and increase its beauty, fragrance, light and delight and be of constant inspiration to humanity's progress and constant delight to Divinity's all-fulfilling Compassion on earth.
Mayor Charles Smith [very moved]: Thank you, sir! Well, my friend, on behalf of the Council and the citizens of this very, very wonderful city, we take this plaque from you. It will remain here in front of this bush, which is a reminder also of what has become your homeland, has it not? [The Mayor is referring to the fact that it is a Lincoln Rose.] And it joins, of course the other bushes in this garden which commemorate the fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers who have lost their lives in the defence of this country and the defence of right and justice throughout the world at many times. It is fitting, sir, that it should be a rose. The rose is the national flower of England, you would probably be aware, and most of our forefathers, of course, originally came from England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. They are our great-grandfathers now, of yesterday.
I'm quite sure a large number of people, sir, will have a look at this. Questions will be asked as to just who you were and what happened on the 3rd of March 1976. If I'm not here, I guess the Town Clerk or one of the others will be here, or Mr. Alan Turner, the head gardener.
Sri Chinmoy: Your spirit and your soul will long be here in this beautiful city, in this beautiful country. [Sri Chinmoy blesses a rose.] This rose is a Lincoln Rose. President Lincoln's most famous utterance was, "Government of the people, by the people, and for the people." I wish to say that this Lincoln Rose is not only of Perth's heart or Australia's heart, it is of humanity's heart and for humanity to claim and to utilise.
Aspiration and realisationDear sisters and brothers, I wish to give a short talk on aspiration and realisation. Slowly, steadily and unerringly. Slowly the seeker enters the spiritual life. Steadily he makes progress. Unerringly he comes to his journey's close and realises God.
At every moment of our journey, aspiration is necessary. But this aspiration again has to be genuine;: it has to come from the very depths of our heart. Real aspiration doesn't know how to pull or push. Restlessness and aspiration can never go together. Very often when beginners aspire they try to be very dynamic. This is good, but unfortunately they confuse dynamism and determination with restlessness. They want to realise God tomorrow. But this kind of restless demand is not aspiration.
There is always a time span between the planting of the seed and the harvest. The planting is aspiration and the harvest is realisation. Is aspiration something that we already had or is it something that we are going to have? It is both. If we say that we always had aspiration, this is true, because we live in Eternal Time. But if we say that we are trying or crying to bring the inner urge of the heart to the fore, here also we are correct. When we sit at the feet of Eternity, we realise that aspiration is bound to be followed by realisation; and when we make friends with Eternal Time, we come to realise that realisation was hidden all along in aspiration.
In the outer world, we see that the tree is a symbol of aspiration. Here on earth it remains, but its aim is to reach the highest. We human beings are afraid of staying on earth. We feel that if we stay on earth, then we cannot reach the highest, we cannot look upward. But the tree makes us feel that this is absurd. The root of the tree is under the ground, but the topmost branch is aspiring towards the highest.
In the Upanishads we come across a tree named the ashwathva tree. Unlike earthly trees, this tree has its root above the ground facing the sky and its branches down below. This tree has two types of branches. One type enters into the meshes of ignorance and starts struggling and fighting to come out again into the effulgence of light. The other type of branch always tries to remain up; its movement is upward, its aspiration is upward. Even though its branches face downward, this type of branch always looks upward. So let us think of this tree and aspire most sincerely and powerfully.
Today's aspiration is the realisation of tomorrow and the manifestation of the day after tomorrow. At the dawn of our journey we start with aspiration and at the end of our journey's close there is salvation, liberation and illumination. When illumination takes place, it is undoubtedly, unmistakably, infallibly the transcendental Victory's Crown.
Ours is the aspiring soul. Ours is the destined Goal, decreed here and now in the immediacy of today.
5 March 1976
'Meeting with Mayor of Perth'Sri Chinmoy: You are the Mayor of Perth, so you have the responsibility for thousands of children. I happen to be a teacher, so I also have a responsibility, but for only a thousand children. I know how difficult it is to deal with only a few people and you, being the Mayor, have to deal with many, many problems every day. I admire your dedication and hard work.
Lord Mayor: Thank you for your understanding. I find it very rewarding to be responsible for such a number of different types of people in the city: We have many ethnic groups here. There's the Greek community, the Italian community and some from India and Sri Lanka, and our Aboriginal community (I speak their language a little). I find it easier to please the average person than the odd man at the top. I often don't quite understand the attitude of some of the people who you would think could have the same sort of responsibility as we have, who could try and do the best they can for everybody, but avoid it because it is a burden.
Sri Chinmoy: From the spiritual point of view we take each responsibility as an opportunity. Responsibility means opportunity to widen our consciousness. If I have a responsibility towards you, then if I properly use that responsibility, I become one with you.
Lord Mayor: I'm very self-critical. I feel that ever since I was a little boy I clearly saw the right path, and I used to wonder why people like the Dean had to preach every week. Now I realise that they could preach every hour on the hour and still be needed to continue saying what they do. So it is an inspiration to meet someone such as yourself. I get a sense of re-dedication to things that so obviously need to be done.
Sri Chinmoy: It is most kind of you to say so. We feel that spirituality is like our regular food. We can't depend on yesterday's food. Yesterday we ate because we were hungry. Today, when we are again hungry, can we say that yesterday's food was enough? No. Today's hunger needs and demands new food. Every day we have to strengthen ourselves with new food, new inspiration. Then only can we be satisfied inwardly and outwardly.
Lord Mayor: Thank you, thank you. Well, you have brought a big meal for me today. I had a very rewarding task once. I had to lead a mission of goodwill to India, and it went off wonderfully well. We made a great number of friends among the average people we met while we were there, and I was very taken with the calm philosophy of so many. The Indians are a million years ahead of us in understanding not to fuss about things that don't matter. They've got a sense of judgement of what matters and what doesn't matter, probably from people like yourself teaching them and inspiring them. Are you enjoying your trip to Australia?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, I have been enjoying it very much. Right from the start of this journey, I have been blessed not only by the soul of Australia but by the kindness of its people as well.