By Sri Swami Sivananda
DEEPAVALI or Diwali means "a row of lights". It falls on the last two days of the dark half of Kartik (October-November). For some it is a three-day festival. It commences with the Dhan-Teras, on the 13th day of the dark half of Kartik, followed the next day by the Narak Chaudas, the 14th day, and by Deepavali proper on the 15th day.
Navaratri, the nine-day worship of the Divine Mother, was observed at all Divine Life Society of S.A. Ashrams, commencing on 21 September and culminating with Vijaya Dasami on 30 September.
One hundred and thirty years ago, a divine child was born to Parvatiammal and Vengu Iyer on 8 September 1887 in Pattamadai, South India. From the very beginning, his parents exposed him to wholesome spiritual influences. As the years passed, Kuppuswami, for that was his name, had a distinguished academic career. After studying at the Tanjore Medical Institute, he left the shores of India and served in Malaysia as a doctor. Success and prosperity was his, but when discrimination dawned, Dr Kuppuswami developed an ardent desire to tread the path of the wise and unlock the realms of immortality. He left Malaysia and after an arduous journey, reached the Himalayas where he was initiated into the Holy Order of Sannyas by the venerable saint, Swami Vishwananda. Kuppuswami was dead. Swami Sivananda Saraswati was born. It was 1 June 1924. After merging with the Divine, Swami Sivananda founded the Divine Life Society in India, to serve and assist spiritual seekers.
The Birthday Celebrations held on 8 September at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, continued at the Sivananda International Cultural Centre, La Mercy on Sunday, 10 September. The programme commenced at 6am in Sivananda Prayer Hall with the final chanting of the 41-day Sri Hanuman Chalisa, 11 times from 6 –7am. This was followed by Havan from 7 -8am. Devotees from all parts of the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng turned up in large numbers and we thank them for sharing these wonderful spiritual moments with us. The 41-day Vrata will help strengthen and purify our minds and afford us protection against the forces that confront us daily. Saints and sages tell us that the chanting of the Name of the Lord is the easiest solution to the ills of Kali Yuga.