Satsang in the evening commenced with Ganga Arati at 5.30pm. In his autobiography, Glory of Guru's Grace, Pujya Swamiji narrates in the 3rd person the circumstances leading to this momentous event at the Master's Ashram in Rishikesh on 10 April 1956, "One day, Swamiji went to get some treatment from Swami Venketesananda for his suppurating sores. At his cottage, he was surprised to see the Master also arriving there after some time to give instructions to Swami Venketesananda. During the conversation, Swami Venketesananda suggested that the Master give Swamiji Jnana Sannyas. The Master at once agreed and also decided to have a farewell function for Swamiji. When Swamiji told the Master that it was not necessary, he said, "No! No! We will have it." Swamiji was reluctant to take Sannyas, as he felt it would be a hindrance to his work. He used to walk about in the streets of Durban and sell the Master's books. He did so much walking that the soles of his shoes had to be replaced every few months.
"Swamiji thought that he would have to walk about in the streets in the Sannyas garb and felt apprehensive. But Swami Paramananda and others said that the Master's offer should not be refused. So, the Master gave Swamiji Jnana Sannyas, that is, Sannyas while continuing to work (to be in the teaching profession). When he gave up the profession he could take full time Sannyas. This kind of Sannyas was something unique with the Master, who gave it to several others from foreign countries.
"The Master allowed Swamiji to select his Sannyas name himself. Reading a publication of the Swami Narayan movement while at the Ashram, Swamiji came across the name ''Sahajananda" and thought that if ever he took Sannyas, he would prefer that name. So, the Master knowing what had already transpired, allowed him to choose a name himself.
"Many years later when Swami Venketesananda was in Durban, at a special ceremony, he performed the Vraja Homa ceremony (formal rites pertaining to the Sannyas Order)". It was on this day the 10 April 1956, 62 years ago that Srinivasan Naidoo became Swami Sahajananda.
Pujya Swamiji narrates in his pre-recorded audio message the story of a king who wanted to find out which was better life: the life of the householder or the Sannyasin's life. At the end of the story the king realised through a series of experiences that neither is better. If you do your duty properly, that is the important thing. The householder must be prepared to sacrifice and to serve. The Sannyasin must have the highest renunciation. Pujya Swamiji concluded, "We must see that we follow the Dharma that pertains to our station in life and if we do that faithfully, that is what our scriptures call Swadharma. It is by discharging our duties satisfactorily that the mind gets purified."
The Sivananda Audio Magazine, Volume 1 was also released on this auspicious occasion. It is a Jnana Yajna offering, dedicated to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda who advocated that the dissemination of spiritual knowledge was the greatest service to the world. The theme of the CD is self-transformation. Stories, dialogues, verses and articles have been chosen to provide spiritual knowledge for the modern man who has a busy lifestyle. The honour of releasing the CD was accorded to Sri Tansen Nepaul, the renowned musician, and a well-wisher of the Society, who was closely involved in the recording and production of the CD. Tansen complimented the Society for keeping abreast of the times and for meeting the demands of the public and for "moving in the right direction".
Devotees were privileged to listen to the Farewell Message delivered by the Master on the 10 April 1956, the day when he initiated Pujya Swamiji into the holy Order of Sannyas. We reproduce excerpts from this memorable speech:
You may ask why Swamiji is giving Sannyasa to young people. You may say that people should take Sannyas only when all hairs have grown grey and all teeth have fallen. No. We want people at this age with great dynamism, with abundant spiritual energy. In old age one is not able to sit in one Asana for half an hour at a stretch. When all energy has been squeezed out in family-life, he is not able to sit in Padma Asana. We need young Swamis. Shankara was not an old man. Padmapada was not an old man. Young people only should take Sannyasa, for they will lead a life of fortitude and endurance. They are full of strength, full of energy. We require only young people to take Sannyasa and spread the message of Shankara in the West.
Swami Sahajananda is styled as the spiritual king of South Africa, Durban. He is also called the African Chota Guru. He does not want anything. He is a silent worker. He is a man of renunciation, Vairagya and meditation. He is a very good organizer. He has organized some 20 branches of the Divine Life Society in South Africa.
There is Savikalpa Samadhi, and then comes Nirvikalpa Samadhi, and then comes Sahaja Avastha. He is established in Sahaja Avastha. He does not forget Brahman when he is working. He has got double consciousness. He is resting in his Satchidananda Swarupa and he is utilizing his mind and Indriyas for the good of humanity. He likes Sahaja Avastha. He is in Sahaja Avastha.
He is a strong pillar of the Divine Life Society. I am Swami Sahajandandji's rupee-eater. I want money for printing paper, art paper, for hospital, etc. Sahajanandaji supplies the money. Swami Sahajananda is spiritual king of Durban, a great organiser, a great supporter, a pillar of the Divine Life Society.
He talks little. You have never seen him talking. He thinks much and does much. Such a great spiritual Yogi is he.
If you find humility, that is a sign of a Yogi, and he must be compassionate. His heart should melt like butter when he sees the sufferings of others. If he finds a starving man, and if he has got a tumbler of milk, he will run to him and give it to him. Of all the qualities that are enumerated in the Gita, humility and compassion are the most important. He who possesses these qualities is a Yogi of the first order. These are the test of a Jivanmukta.
So, let us pray for the health, and long life of this small Yogi, full of strength. One who can transform the materialistic intellect of the whole of South Africa–what tremendous influence, what tremendous purity, what tremendous Yogic power, what tremendous meditation, his spiritual aura, selfless aura!
May Lord bless Swami Sahajananda with health, long life, peace, bliss and immortality. May Lord bless you all.
We reiterate, we in Divine Life Society of S.A. should consider ourselves to be spiritually fortunate to be associated with this rare Divine Grace. Consequently, our lives have been touched by the Grace of Sri Swami Sahajananda here in South Africa. Our beloved Pujya Swamiji was the greatest Saint that Africa has produced. Let us remember and celebrate this glorious life of Pujya Swamiji. Let us re-dedicate ourselves; let us reaffirm our loyalty to our beloved Gurudev, Pujya Swamiji and his mission here on African soil!