Australia and New Zealand - Later Years

Swami returned to Perth towards the end of 1968, where he stayed at the home of devotees. During this time he visited several yoga classes and other venues such as the Jewish synagogue and Christian churches, including St George’s Cathedral, where his talks were greatly appreciated.

He then left for India, where he stayed in Madras with his purvashram family. Two memorable visits to Tirupathi Temple in Andhra Pradesh were taken during this Indian visit, where one Australian devotee had a life-changing experience in the temple.

In early 1969 he visited the Sivananda Ashram at Rishikesh where devotees from England and Australia were eager to hear his talks on various aspects of Yoga, and to bask in his divine presence. He also travelled to Calcutta, stopping off at Monghyr to visit his gurubhai, Swami Satyananda. One devotee was sent to Bombay and Poona to take classes with B.K.S. Iyengar, who subsequently visited South Africa and Mauritius and made other worldwide contacts.

After 1969 Swami visited Perth almost every year. Each visit saw more and more people joining in satsang and fillingthe hall to capacity during the public talks.

His talks were transcribed and turned into booklets.

During these years he carried his typewriter with him, working on the Supreme Yoga (Yoga Vasistha).

He was a guest speaker at the International Yoga Teachers Seminar in 1972, held at a beautiful venue in the mountains near Sydney. Here the devotee gave a demonstration of the yoga of B.K.S Iyengar, sparking great interest and resulting in many of the teachers present visiting Poona – thus enabling the teaching to spread throughout all states of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

Swami then journeyed to New Zealand, where he traveled to several towns, staying with friends and conducting meditation classes, talks and discussions every day. A 10 day Yoga Retreat was conducted at a beautiful Centre in the middle of the North Island, where Swami became the pivot of each days activities – talks, discussions, stories, and chatting with the participants.

In a discussion at Lane Cove in Sydney, a student asked “How to be free from tension?” Swamiji said he did not have first hand experience of tension. “I have seen it, “ he said, “but I have not directly experienced it.” He initiated the discussion:

“Why does one get into the state of tension at all in the first place? If you do not pick up tension, you do not have to drop it, you do not have to relax. It seems to me that once you are tense, an effort to relax makes you more tense! Therefore, all the different methods lead no where; and, as a famous psychologist is reported to have said, “Drugs will continue to be the mainstay in the treatment of people suffering from tension.”

Hence, too, the yoga relaxation, etc fails to produce lasting results. In the yoga class people relax because the help and support comes from the teacher: but outside the class, tension returns.

One of the yoga students in Lane Cove (an aged lady) pointed to the real cause: which is “The competitive structure of our society.” Exactly! And so long as this competitive spirit lasts, tension is inevitable Swami said to them( half in jest):

“If two of us are engaged in the same work and you make it and I do not, I feel We are two. You did it – and that is 50% of me! You were the first and I the second. Together we made the team. Therefore I am happy too.”

“The competitive spirit is destroying society. The loser loses confidence in himself - which he might endeavour to compensate by becoming aggressive, violent, desperate or despondent. The winner also loses – loses his friends, peace of mind sleep, health and happiness – and he lives in perpetual fear of losing his gain!”

In April 1974, Swami spoke at a Rotary Club meeting at Rossmoyne:

“If you look at your own life, culture, upbringing, education, the books and the newspapers that you read, the propaganda that you listen to – you hardly find any serious mention of this commonness of humanity. Even in religious teaching this commonness of humanity is treated with a flippant superficiality, which makes no impression on anyone.”

“Yet, religion is not religion if it does not enable us to see that as human beings, we are one.”

“If we are serious, we discover that somehow something deep within each one of us has resisted this religious spirit and rejected it. The spirit of religion has failed to touch and to transform it. On the other hand the divisive factor that lies deep within each one of us has even polluted the spirit of religion.”

“I remember the day I landed in South Africa in 1961. I was asked by a newspaper reporter what I consider is the best solution to the problems that beset the world. I answered: ‘Religion.’ A gentleman who heard this wrote complimenting me on this and queried: ‘Which religion did you refer to?’ (He was keen to reassure himself that it was his religion that I spoke about.) So you and I do not talk about religion or God; we talk about ‘my religion’ and ‘my God’. But that is not religion!” “I have no first hand knowledge about the particular problems connected with the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Catholic-Protestant conflict, or the Capitalistic-Communist conflict, but I was witness to the way in which the Hindu-Muslim riots were sparked off in what is known today as Bangladesh. (I was there on the very day that the rioting broke out.) For weeks before this the Hindus and the Muslims were living in friendship: Muslims used to come to the religions meetings we had organised in Hindu style. But the pollution of politics poisoned the atmosphere in a couple of days, and brothers were at each other’s throats.”

“This selfishness corrupts every aspect of our personality, relationships, society and even our religious practices. As long as the ‘me’ dominates our life, we are not religious, however loudly we may proclaim to the contrary.”