The honour of unveiling the 2019 Centenary Picture of the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, which took place at the first Sivananda Day Satsang for 2019 at SICC on Sunday, 5 January, was accorded to Sri Rabichand Deonarain, a senior devotee who was associated with Pujya Swamiji since 1950. We reproduce herewith the speech delivered by Sri Deonarain before the unveiling:
“The dates 1 June 2024 and 10 July 2025, mark the centenary of two important events in the calendar of Divine Life Society of South Africa: the Sannyas Anniversary of Sri Swami Sivananda and the Birth Anniversary of Sri Swami Sahajananda, respectively. The Society will be releasing a number of publications as part of the centenary celebrations.
Pujya Swamiji's 11th Mahasamadhi Anniversary was observed on 8 December (according to the Sanskrit Calendar) and on 10 December (according to the English Calendar). Pujya Swamiji, who was the torch-bearer of the Divine Master's teachings in the country and also abroad, withdrew from his physical body on 10 December 2007. At the time of his passing, scores of tributes were paid to this godlike disciple of the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, but perhaps none more significant than the one paid by the Divine Master himself on 10 April 1956, when Pujya Swami was initiated into the Holy Order of Sannyas. The Master said: "So we rejoice today heartily, because we have amidst us a noble personality, a spiritual personality, a Bala Yogi, a Bala Swami, Sri Swami Sahajananda. Whenever a noble function takes place, the Devas are pleased. So, we had a very good shower today, and now we have a cool atmosphere. So, we are able to celebrate the function joyously. You may ask, "Why there is no rain of flowers?" That also there is. The Devas rain flowers. 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".
The Parliament of the World's Religions which took place in Toronto, Canada, from 1-7 November, was represented by 220 faiths and about 8 000 delegates. The delegation from Divine Life Society of S.A. presented a successful workshop entitled, "Eradicating the Universal Scourge of Drug Addiction and other Social Ills: A Spiritual Solution". The workshop was well attended with one attendee making detailed notes while the workshop was in progress. Another individual, who also attended our practice session, said that the workshop had its desired impact on him. He asked for a copy of the pledge form and the checklist, used in our Sunlit Path Programme.
NAVARATRI OR DURGA PUJA- SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
During Navaratri (literally meaning "nine nights") Earnest spiritual aspirants of Durga observe a fast or take milk and fruit only on all the nine days, or at least once in each of the three-day periods. Brahmins are fed and prayers are offered for the protection of health and property. Durga Puja is the greatest Hindu Festival in which God is adored as Mother. Hinduism is the only religion in the world which has emphasised to such an extent the motherhood of God. One's relationship with one's mother is the dearest and the sweetest of all human relations, Hence, it is proper to look upon God as mother.
Sri Krishna Janmashtami, the sacred Birthday of Lord Krishna, was celebrated at all Divine Life Society of S.A. Ashrams on Monday, 3 September. Bhagavan Sri Krishna was the Ishta Devata of our Divine Master, who wrote the following in Lord Krishna & His Lilas: "Lord Krishna was the highest incarnation of the great Vishnu. He was the unique and crowning incarnation of all. He was the world teacher. He was the one Lord of love. His divine form holds the heart of India captive in chains, even today. The Bhagavata, the Mahabharata, the Vishnu Purana—all proclaim with one voice that there was none to match Sri Krishna in beauty and elegance of form in all three worlds."
One hundred and thirty-one years ago, on 8th September 1887, a baby boy was born to saintly parents, Sri Vengu Iyer and Srimati Parvati Ammal, at Pattamadai in the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu, South India. This child, a direct descendant of the great 16th century Saint Appayar Dikshitar, was named Kuppuswami. It was Kuppuswami who later became Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati. With the pen as his sword, and every letter and word blessed by Mother Saraswati, Swami Sivananda began the great mission of Divine Life Society, of spreading the much-needed divine knowledge far and wide through books and pamphlets. Such was his greatness that he moulded and guided scores of disciples to become great spiritual leaders in many parts of the world, all of whom are doing sterling work. One of the most illustrious amongst these disciples is Sri Swami Sahajananda, Spiritual Head of Divine Life Society of S. A. All that we see around us here in South Africa, is a manifestation of Pujya Swami Sahajananda's vision, arising out of his dedication, intense Guru Bhakti and Sadhana, being inspired by our Divine Master.
On Thursday, 16 August 2018, the Sivananda Sunlit Path team in association with the Tongaat Hindu Unity Forum, travelled to Tongaat to assist learners to cope with the scourge of drug addiction and the many social ills that plague learners today. The team was privileged to serve the following five secondary schools in the area: Belverton, Fairbreeze, Nkosibomvu, Seatides Combined and Tongaat. One hundred and forty-two learners participated in a programme designed to guide, shape and mould them, taking them away from the negative forces that pollute their minds and trying to lead them onto the path of goodness and virtue. In his welcome address, Mr R.H. Singh, Principal of Tongaat Secondary, who hosted this event, stated that he was happy that this programme will help to develop leaders amongst the learners present at this workshop.
Guru Purnima, the most auspicious day in the calendar of spiritual seekers, is celebrated the world over to worship and thank spiritual preceptors for their guidance, spiritual wisdom and enlightenment. It is the day when seekers take stock of themselves and make fresh resolves in pursuit of their spiritual goals. It also marks the Birth Anniversary of Sage Vyasa. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda states, "Sri Vyasa rendered unforgettable service to humanity for all times by editing the four Vedas and writing the eighteen Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. We can repay the deep debt of gratitude we owe him, only by constant study of his works and practise of his teachings."
Our Master's 55th Mahasamadhi Anniversary was observed on Saturday, 14 July at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Sri N. Ananthanarayan (author of From Man to Godman) narrates the following:
On July 14,1963 Colonel Puri came to examine the Master. As he tapped with his rod to test the reflexes, the Master said; "Doctors are very cruel."
"Yes, Swamiji, what can be done? It is our duty," said the doctor, and added, "Swamiji, you will be all right shortly."
"Yes, I must," said the Master, "I have many things to do."
"You will do, Swamiji, but with a handicap."