We were most pleased to see that in the morning session, which commenced at 6am, almost 500 devotees were present to pay homage to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda. Breakfast was served after the first session, after which devotees attended the "Open Day" at the Sivananda Press and viewed the exhibits and documents on display. They were also given an insight into the various stages that are followed before a book is finally made available to the public. Whilst the Open Day was in progress, there was also a parallel session of chanting of the Divine Name in the prayer hall, where devotees from our branches participated.
In the "Children's Hour", the Reservoir Hills Sunday School Spiritual Darlings offered a "Tribute to Gurudev and Pujya Swamiji" which included a video showing Sri Gurudev's and Pujya Swamiji's interaction with children. Spiritual Darlings of the Shallcross Branch enacted a play entitled, "Kancha Prabhu", which highlighted the importance of charity and the dangers of being attached to material possessions and wealth. The Stanger Branch presented a hilarious play, entitled, "Mother Ganga", produced and enacted by the Sivananda Academy. The Pietermaritzburg Branch presented a musical item comprising Sanskrit Slokas, which incorporated tributes to Mother Saraswati, Lord Ganesha and all our Gurus, focussing on our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji.
The final session of the day took place from 9.30am with Ganga Arati, followed by Satsang and concluded at 12.45 with lunch Prasad. The article: "True Discipleship" was selected as a message from our Divine Master. It is a tribute to Pujya Swamiji who shone throughout his life as the epitome of Guru Bhakti to Sri Gurudev. We present a few excerpts from this thought-provoking article:
- A disciple without devotion to his Guru is like a flower without fragrance, a well without water, a cow without milk, or a body without life.
- Whatever be the trials and problems on the spiritual path, you must serve the Guru sincerely. You cannot have any progress if you are cunning and not straightforward by nature.
In the audio message, Pujya Swamiji urged us to repeat the Divine Name as many times as possible throughout the day. "Swami Ramdas repeated the Name for 20 hours a day. The Bhagavad Gita also says, 'He attains Me easily who remembers Me constantly and daily.' Every repetition of the Name brings about purification of the heart. It takes us nearer God, creates spiritual vibrations and improves conditions. We can never say how the Name helps us. There is no doubt that if the Name of God did not have marvellous powers, then our great saints will not be writing about it so often. All the saints have extolled the glory and greatness of God's Name".
Priceless Jewels, Volume 4, the last in these series, was released by a senior devotee from Pietermaritzburg. This beautiful book contains letters written by our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, to Pujya Swami Sahajananda. This invaluable collection contains direct instructions to Pujya Swamiji on topics ranging from Ashram administration to detailed guidance on his spiritual practices. In order to maintain the spiritual power latent in these letters, we have chosen to type them as the Master had written them. We are greatly indebted to Pujya Swamiji himself, for preserving these letters over the last six decades.
In a rare video entitled, "Memories of a Divine Sage", devotees sat spellbound as they saw and listened to the wisdom and educative humour of Pujya Swamiji Sahajananda. Quoting from the life of Sri Aurobindo, Pujya Swamiji also highlighted the importance of humility and receptivity in spiritual life. Pujya Swamiji also spoke about the value of the Spiritual Diary.
In commemoration of this auspicious event, our online web-shop was also launched on this day. Our IT Committee is keeping abreast of the technology available to inform devotees of the spiritual activities of the Society. The updating of the website with the latest news, pictures and Satsang calendar dates has been going on uninterruptedly. The DVD that was released by the Society entitled, "Wisdom of Sivananda - Vol. 1" was uploaded onto our YouTube channel as well. The Society has its own YouTube channel which contains videos of the Society that were broadcasted via SABC on national television under the TV programme called "Sunday Sadhana". The YouTube channel is also used for streaming some of our major Satsangs live. Overseas devotees gratefully acknowledge the value of this facility. We are delighted to receive the following information from our IT Department for 10 December 2017: Views: 327. Countries viewing the live stream: South Africa, Australia, China, New Zealand, U.S.A. and Swaziland.
It is hoped that the web-shop will assist greatly in fulfilling the primary objective of the Society, which is the dissemination of spiritual literature. Our Sivananda Free Book Distribution to schools is also progressing well and we have distributed in excess of 35 000 of our Master's books to learners since it was launched last year.
In commemoration of the 10th Mahasamadhi Anniversary of Pujya Swami Sahajananda, the Society distributed 1000 grocery hampers to needy families via our branches. Our Likhit Japa Count from our January Yoga Camp to date is 6,6million, and our Japa Yoga count is 21 million. We thank all devotees for participating in this Sadhana in honour of Sri Gurudev and Pujya Swamiji.
We gratefully acknowledge the presence of the following spiritual personalities and patrons at the event: Sri Swami Anand, who had a long-standing association with Pujya Swamiji and is now based in Baroda, India, Sri Naren Pattundeen (ABH), as well as the following representatives from the SAI Organisation—Sri Soobrie Naidoo, Sri Dhanpal Naidoo and Sri Leon Greenberg.
We thank all our devotees, donors and patrons for their unstinting support all these years, despite the challenging economic climate. It is mainly through their support that the Society is able to undertake the various projects which now total 568.
In closing this report, we are reminded of the Master's words in a handwritten letter to Swamiji, dated 12 February 1960, "All must adapt, adjust, accommodate; cooperate, collaborate and co-ordinate. Co-operation means Fifty-Fifty—giving out and taking advice." Devotees would do well to heed this advice. In the same letter, the Master gave this assurance: God will look after the Divine work. Lord will look after everything.