First visit to Australia

Sri Chinmoy in Perth — 1976

Sri Chinmoy’s first visit to Australia in March 1976 was the fulfillment of a dream.

Two years earlier, he had composed his soulful tribute to the island-continent, entitled ‘My Salutation to the Soul of Australia’.

During February 1976, the month preceding his arrival in Australia, Sri Chinmoy was consciously preparing for his visit. He would have been diligently working on the ten lectures he was to deliver in five major capital cities; on February 19, in a radio interview on WRNW in New York, Sri Chinmoy explained the reason for his upcoming visit; and on February 20, whilst on a bus trip to Canada, Sri Chinmoy composed the song ‘O My Australia’.

On February 28, 1976, Sri Chinmoy departed New York on an epic 10,000-mile journey across the globe. And after a series of gruelling flights over two continents and the vast Pacific Ocean, he finally arrived in Perth late in the evening on the first day of March, eager to begin his tour of Australia.

During his eleven-day stay, Sri Chinmoy gave talks at universities and met with prominent Australians in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.

One of the most memorable moments of the tour took place in Melbourne when Sri Chinmoy met with his athletic idol Ron Clarke. As a youth growing up in India, Sri Chinmoy had heard the name of Australia’s greatest middle-distance runner. After their initial meeting in 1976, Ron Clarke remained a lifelong supporter and friend to Sri Chinmoy.

Despite his busy schedule, Sri Chinmoy also found time to record music for two LP albums. And, it was in Australia he learned to play the Western flute — an instrument that later became synonymous with his soulful, meditative melodies heard worldwide at his hundreds of Peace Concerts. It is also interesting to note that on February 17, Sri Chinmoy first began playing the esraj — the instrument he chose to play publicly for the first time in Australia.

A complete day-by-day account of this historic tour can be seen at: Sri Chinmoy Reflections.