Guru Purnima falls on the full moon day in the month of Ashad (July-August). On this day, sacred to the memory of the great sage, Bhagavan Sri Vyasa, Sannyasins settle at some place to study and discourse on the thrice-blessed Brahma Sutras composed by Maharishi Vyasa, and engage themselves in Vedantic philosophical study and investigation. Sri Vyasa has rendered unforg
ettable service to humanity for all times by editing the four Vedas and writing the eighteen Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. In honour of this divine personage, spiritual aspirants perform Vyasa Puja on this day, and disciples worship their spiritual preceptors. Saints, monks and men of God are honoured and entertained by acts of charity by the householders with deep faith and sincerity. On this day, we pay special homage to our own Guru, Sri Swami Sivananda and his illustrious disciple, Sri Swami Sahajananda.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda recommended the following spiritual activities on Guru Purnima Day, "Generate fresh waves of spirituality. Let all you have read, heard, seen and learnt, become transformed through spiritual practice into a continuous outpouring of universal love, ceaseless loving service, and continuous prayer and worship of the Lord who is seated in the hearts of all beings."The Master continued, "It is through the medium and Grace of the spiritual preceptor that the individual can raise himself to Cosmic Consciousness. The Guru is verily a link between the individual and the Immortal. He is a being who has raised himself from this to That, and thus has a free and unhampered access to both realms. He stands, as it were, upon the threshold of immortality and, bending down, raises the struggling aspirants with his one hand, and with the other, lifts them up into the kingdom of everlasting happiness and infinite Truth-Consciousness."
Pujya Swami Sahajananda wrote, "If the disciple serves the Guru with faith, love and devotion, the Guru will work through the disciple and hasten his spiritual progress. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda himself has said, 'If you take care of my mission, I will take care of you.' In several places in his books the Master has stated how the Guru's power works through the disciple and hastens his spiritual progress. He said that at one stage the Guru's power works with tremendous speed."
Parts of a recorded Guru Purnima message, delivered ex tempore many years ago by Pujya Swami Sahajananda,were played on this night. Pujya Swamiji spoke about understanding the Law of Karma and linked it to the role of the Guru in the life of the disciple. "If we remember this great Law of Karma, then most of our troubles will be over. If you understand this Law properly, you will be free from worries. We have to work out our Karmas. Only in the case of those who have a Guru, the Guru can ward off certain Karmas. If you are destined to pass away, the Guru can ward that off. The saints all say that only in the case of a disciple, you get special protection, which is not given to the ordinary man. But, when the Guru will save you and when he will not, when he will ward off a calamity and when he will not, that is in his hands. He will allow a certain calamity to go through because it might be necessary for your development. In other cases, he might stop it. He might stop your illness or something like that. But, whatever it is, in true Bhakti we don't care where the Guru leads us, because we are holding his hand and wherever the Guru leads us we follow. That is the only way of getting peace of mind."
The honour of unveiling of the "Centenary Crest" was accorded to a very senior devotee, who has rendered meritorious service for many years. In 2024, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda's Sannyas Diksha, and in 2025 we will celebrate the Birth Centenary of beloved Pujya Swami Sahajananda. All Centenary Projects and Programmes will bear this crest. In unveiling the plaque, he said, "It is an act of Guru Bhakti to promote the Name and teachings of our beloved Gurudev. Our Gurudev, Sri Swami Sivananda is a spiritual force who has transformed and saved countless individuals and will continue to do so through his literature. We owe a debt of gratitude to our Master for his Grace in our lives. In the case of Pujya Swami Sahajananda, we owe it to the younger generation and the souls yet to come to the earth to inform them of this great Being who once walked this country. It is our duty to present this super spiritual role-model for Guru Bhakti, supreme loyalty and devotion to the Guru, before their eyes."The video presentation on the Master was enjoyed by all as they watched the Master walking around the precincts of the Ashram, interacting with devotees and being worshipped by them. In the voice-over, the Master gave valuable advice on attaining purity of mind. Introspect to eradicate vices. "Practise Pranayama and meditation. The subtle impressions, hidden deep down in the mind are dangerous", said the Master.
The exquisite dances by the Sivananda Dance Academy and the high-quality singing of the well-chosen Bhajans and Kirtans, ended a morning truly well spent. Devotees left the precincts of Sivananda International Cultural Centre with a feeling of spiritual satisfaction and joy.
We are happy to report that the entire Satsang was live-streamed to all parts of the world and devotees expressed their gratitude for allowing them to share in the joy of being a part of this event, albeit thousands of kilometres away. We express our deep appreciation to our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji for their Grace and for providing all the facilities for the spiritual growth of devotees. Our sincere thanks to all donors, devotees, patrons and well-wishers for their generous contribution in support of the service activities of the Society. It is through the loyal support of donors that the Society could complete 566 projects since 1974.
We include a fitting closure to this report in the words of Pujya Swami Sahajananda, prepared on 29 July 2007, "So on this sacred Guru Purnima day let us dedicate ourselves to our Master's mission. All our devotees are already serving our Master with so much love, dedication and enthusiasm that cannot be described in words. There is not a single department where these qualities are missing. I see everything and feel that words cannot describe their love and dedication to our Master. Even those who do sweeping do their tasks with such perfection. Through the Grace of our Master may we continue to serve him with faith and devotion!"