Pujya Swamiji is heralded by many saints world-wide as well as leaders in this country as one of the great spiritual leaders of our time who contributed silently for almost six decades to moral & spiritual regeneration and social upliftment programmes in this country and abroad. Many leaders have proclaimed that Pujya Swamiji's work in this country is unparalleled.
Speaking about Pujya Swamiji, Sri Santanagopal of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan said, "There are many who have similar traits and attributes. What makes him different and where does the saintliness come from? His eminence stems from and shines in brilliant incandescence, not from what he has been saying but from what he has been doing, silently, unobtrusively, always in the name of his Guru, Swami Sivananda, whom he always refers to reverentially, as my Divine Master."
This day also marked the sacred observance of Gita Jayanti, or the birth of the Bhagavad Gita. Our Divine Master said the following regarding this auspicious day. "It was on this day that Sanjaya narrated to King Dhritarashtra the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, and thus made the glorious teachings of the Lord available to us. The Gita shows a way to rise above the world of duality and the pairs of opposites, and to acquire eternal bliss and immortality. It is a gospel of action. It teaches the rigid performance of one's duty in society, and a life of active struggle, keeping the inner being untouched by outer surroundings, and renouncing the fruits of actions as offerings unto the Lord." When we reflect upon those words, and upon the life of Pujya Swamiji, we see that Pujya Swamiji followed the teachings contained in the Gita.
Three letters written by our Divine Master to Pujya Swamiji were read out at the Satsang. On 5 December 1955 the Master wrote, "The conference (S.A.D.L.S) is a marvellous idea. Every year such a conference should be conducted on a large scale. On 24 July, the Master wrote, "Many Divine Life Society Branches are functioning vigorously. You and your assistants have brought Vaikunta in Natal, Renunciation is the watchword. Self-realisation is the goal. Dharma is the prop."
In a pre-recorded audio message, Pujya Swamiji spoke about the value of service. "People were laughing at Swami Sivananda because he was serving the sick Sadhus." Today we know that he was right, said one of the Sannyasins." In spiritual life you cannot fail. Whatever Sadhana you do will reap its reward. It all depends on the motive," said Pujya Swamiji. "Service is a means to an end, just as meditation is a means to an end."
Pujya Swamiji continued, "We should never leave off the Sadhana of repeating God's Name. When our friends cannot be there to help us, God's Name will be there to give us strength."
Pujya Swamiji then went to speak of the invaluable role of self-surrender in the spiritual path. "Only those who have a strong will-power like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and Mother Krishnabai can follow that path. The rest must follow the path of self-surrender. Self-surrender will bring down the Grace of God. That is why it says in the Gita that His Grace will make the cripple cross mountains and the dumb eloquent. If you are getting tests and trials, know that Divine Grace is working through you."
The importance of silence was the next focus of attention. "Spend about 10-15 minutes in the beginning in silence in the morning. Often peace will come in the last stages. We must never give up. It is well worth paying the price demanded of us."
The melodious recitation of the Gita Slokas also added to the wonderful spiritual vibrations in the prayer hall. In appreciation of the service rendered by our Ganga Arati girls, certificates were awarded to them for the diligent manner in which they participated regularly in Ganga Arati.
Once again, a professionally compiled DVD, outlining the Service Activities of the Society received warm applause from an appreciative congregation. Over the last 3 years, the Society has spent over R36 million in providing medical facilities, arranging feeding programmes, distributing grocery hampers, building of schools, Peace & Skills Training Centres, housing, the Sivananda Sunlit Path in Chatsworth and the Sivananda Ghat. Through the Grace of our Master and Pujya Swamiji the Society has now completed 557 projects.
The Sivananda Sunday School of Reservoir Hills offered a musical item at the feet of Pujya Swamiji. They sang Pujya Swamiji's and the Master's favourite Kirtans: Thou Art my Life and Om Tat Sat.
As we celebrate the glorious life of Pujya Swamiji each year, we must ask ourselves why have we come for the past nine years on 10 December to pay homage to this great saint. We must learn to imbibe something from his divine life. Let us resolve to rededicate ourselves to the Mission that our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji founded and to strive to walk in their divine footsteps by following their teachings diligently.