Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

Established in 1949 by Sri Swami Sivananda

Divine Life Society of South Africa celebrated Pujya Swami Sahajananda’s 99th Birth Anniversary on Wednesday, 10 July 2024, at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. There was a morning Sadhana programme at 6am, after which devotees paid obeisance at Sahaja Kutir, Pujya Swamiji’s sacred Kutir and the Sivananda-Sahajananda Diamond Jubilee Centre. Ganga Arati commenced at 5pm, followed by Satsang. Hundreds of devotees, well-wishers, donors and members of the public attended, indicative of their admiration, love and devotion to Pujya Swamiji.

The Satsang programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, readings of three letters sent to Pujya Swamiji by Gurudev, Sri Swami Sivananda, and Pujya Swamiji’s audio message.

In the letter dated 21 November 1954, the Master wrote, “You have made Durban the Lord’s Turban, the Crown of Divine Life, Vaikunta or Kailasa on earth”. He continued, “Your noble self’s life is inspiring. Be a witness. Do not identify yourself with the name ‘V. Srinivasan’ or the photograph. Let others do whatever they like. A great Sadhak’s or saint’s life is greater inspiration to people than volumes of dry theory on Yoga and Vedanta. In the life-story of a saint are the secrets of Yoga and self realisation”. Again, in praise of Pujya Swamiji, the Master said in his letter of 6 March 1961, “Very shortly there will be another duplicate of the headquarters in every respect. The will of the Lord is working through you to work out a grand plan in the near future”. 

Sri Gurudev’s advice on Sadhana is inspiring. He said, “In spite of the hardships now and then in your personal Sadhana you are able to balance yourself. It is Divine Grace and Kripa. Never shall anyone engaged in good work ever have a fall. The Lord protects his devotees like the mother who protects her new born babe”. In the letter dated 10 March 1962, the Master again paid glowing tributes to Pujya Swamiji’s Sadhana and spiritual merits. He said, “It delights me beyond measure to go through your critical and analytical study of your mind, Sadhana and personality. It is the fruit of your un-grudging self-surrender, hard selfless work, sincere and steady application of Sadhana that has enabled you to reach this state of Sadhana and evolution….Very few Sadhaks have attained the state of calmness, steadfastness and fixity as you have done”. 

No doubt, the Master’s glowing tributes to Pujya Swamiji are inspiring to ardent devotees. The Master’s prediction that “Very shortly there will be another duplicate of the headquarters in every respect”, was prophetic, considering the enormous work done by Pujya Swamiji in South Africa, and the thousands, if not millions of lives that Divine Life Society of South Africa has touched, influenced and improved. 

In Pujya Swamiji’s audio message, he said that in “spiritual life we have to get a grasp of certain basic spiritual truths”, these being the Law of Karma, Samskaras, self-surrender, effort and acceptance of one’s conditions for spiritual growth. He said that without accepting these truths we will “always get puzzled when difficult situations arise”. Our present situations and conditions are due to our Samskaras, and we should therefore not blame others or circumstances for our present conditions. If we do, then we will be “postponing transformation”. We should not rebel if conditions are difficult, for we are placed in whatever conditions, as per our Samskaras, and we should “patiently work out our Samskaras”.  We should surrender and accept our new circumstances and conditions, and use every opportunity to go towards God. “If we have a strong desire for God, then everything works itself out”, and for this we require God’s Grace, for “God can give us the inspiration to realise Him”.

The inspiring letters by Sri Gurudev and Pujya Swamiji’s potent advice, are the hallmarks of spiritual life, and act as strong foundations for our spiritual growth and Sadhana. That we will be celebrating Pujya Swamiji’s birth centenary in 2025, is indeed reason to rejoice, celebrate and be inspired. Amidst the celebrations, it is, more importantly, an ideal opportunity for us to transform our lives, rather than waiting for ideal conditions and “postponing transformation”, as Pujya Swamiji said. 


The Aryan Hall in Raisthorpe, Pietermaritzburg, was the venue for the Society’s Centenary Celebrations hosted by the Pietermaritzburg Branch on Saturday, 6 July 2024. Approximately 550 devotees, well-wishers, donors and members of the public graced the function, that began at 7am and concluded at around 3pm.

There were three sessions. Session one was from 7 to 9am, and comprised chanting, Pranayama, meditation and Havan. The second session, comprising Ganga Arati and Satsang, was from 9.30am to 12.40pm. The third session, a cultural programme, commenced at 1pm and concluded around 3pm.

The soulful chants of sacred Mantras and Ganga Arati were a beautiful prelude to the Satsang programme. The concept of Ganga Arati, was perhaps new to many, and afforded them the opportunity to pay obeisance to Mother Ganga.

The Satsang programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, a message from the Society, a play, “People versus Sivananda”, and a children’s item, “Gurudev Says”. 

The message from the Society focused on the reasons for the Centenary Celebrations, Sri Swami Sivananda’s teachings and legacies, and the enormous work of Divine Life Society of South Africa under the leadership of its Spiritual Head, Sri Swami Sahajananda. The message also gave pertinent advice on Mantra chanting, the importance of attendance at Satsangs and the benefits of prayer. The children’s item, “Gurudev Says”, done to the accompaniment of nursery rhymes, brought to the fore the Master’s lofty teachings in a simple and entertaining manner.

One of the highlights of the Satsang programme was a court-room drama, “People versus Sivananda”. A court had to be convened because some of the critics of Sri Swami Sivananda leveled accusations, namely, breaking traditional rules, mass education on the sacred scriptures and kidnapping. Swami Sivananda was tried in abstentia. One of the complainants was a pundit who complained that Swami Sivananda had made sacred texts available to all castes, the masses, and even in English. He complained further that Swami Sivananda told people that they could chant Mantras and know God, that sacred Mantras can also be written, that he is a strong proponent of Karma Yoga. He tells people that an ounce of practice equals a ton of theory. People don’t want to do any more rituals. They give their money to the Swami. Shopkeepers are complaining because the Swami has opened an alms house. The pundit’s income has also dropped drastically. A doctor testified that the Swami has recently started eye camps and her company has seen a serious reduction in profits. A father testified that the Swami kidnapped his son who had joined Swami Sivananda’s Ashram.