Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

Established in 1949 by Sri Swami Sivananda

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Divine Life Society of South Africa’s Cape Town Prayer Group hosted the Society’s Centenary Celebrations’ Satsang, commemorating Sri Swami Sivananda’s Sannyas Centenary, at the Radha Krishna Mandir in Rylands, Cape Town, on Saturday 11 May 2024 at 3pm. The Satsang was preceded by Ganga Arati, which was a unique and new experience to many. The Satsang programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, a message from the Society, a dance item, a forum discussion by the youth girls on Swami Sivananda’s cardinal teachings, and a video on the performance of Agnihotra. More than 200 devotees, well-wishers, members of sister-organisations and members of the public attended the celebrations.

CPT CTNY24The message from the Society traced the illustrious life and teachings of Swami Sivananda and the contributions of Swami Sahajananda, Spiritual Head of Divine Life Society of South Africa. It also impressed upon all the importance of individual and collective Sadhana for spiritual growth. An excerpt from the message captures the gestalt hereof: “In the midst of the very hectic lives that we lead, we encourage all to choose any one Mantra that you may have an affinity for, and to chant it day and night. A short Mantra like Om Sri Ram or Om Nama Sivaya may be repeated, and children can be taught this Mantra as well. It should be chanted before going to bed, on awakening, and especially when leaving home. We also encourage you to learn and recite the Sri Hanuman Chalisa which has tremendous power and benefits”.  Alluding to the importance of Satsangs and Sunday Schools, the message stated, “We encourage all to take advantage of weekly Satsangs available at this Temple, and encourage all parents and grandparents to send their children to Sunday Schools and Satsangs at Temples and Ashrams, so that they may be equipped to face the challenges of life, and to face criticism and attacks on our Sanathan Dharma. It is up to each of us to ensure that Hinduism is kept alive, and that we  pass on our glorious Hindu Dharma to future generations. We note that there is a positive regeneration of Hinduism around the globe, and we encourage all to become practising Hindus even if you just repeat the Divine Name daily for a few minutes every morning and evening. It can’t get any simpler!” 

Ganga Saptami was celebrated on Wednesday 14 May 2024 at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Ganga Arati commenced at 5.30pm followed by Satsang. The programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, a DVD and readings glorifying Mother Ganga, Her beauty and divine powers.

Both Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda had great love and reverence for Mother Ganga. The Master resided on the banks of the Ganga, and breathed his last on the holy banks of this celestial river. Through his devotion and austerity, Swami Sahajananda brought Mother Ganga to South Africa by erecting Ganga Ranis at the Society's Ashrams and at some other institutions and consecrating their waters with water carried from Ganges River, Swami Sivananda's poem, "O Adorable Mother Ganges!" captures the Master's admiration for Mother Ganga. In excerpts from the poem, the Master says,

"Millions flock to Thee during Kumbha Mela,
Thou art the purest water on earth,
No germs can thrive in Thee,
This is the finding of the scientist in his laboratory,
Thou art sparkling and clear as crystal,
A drop on the tongue at the moment of death gives Moksha,
Yogins and Sadhus do Tapas on Thy banks in cottages,
Thou deliverest them from the rounds of births and deaths,
Who can describe, O Mother, Thy glory and splendour?
Will a day come to me, Beloved Mother,
To sit on a block of stone on Thy bank,
To shed continuous tears of Prem on Thy lap,
And merge in Thee for ever and ever?
O all-powerful Mother of compassion and love,
Bless me with Thy Grace and mercy,
Destroy my darkness and ignorance,
Remove the veil and show Thy true form,
I am thine, O Mother, Thou art mine,
The sense of duality has vanished now,
The bridge that separates us has broken now,
Let me dwell in Thee, Mother, for ever and ever".

Referring to the purity of the Ganges, the Master wrote, "A well-known French physician, Dr D. Herell, made similar investiga¬tions into the mystery of the Ganges. He observed some of the floating corpses of men dead of dysentery and cholera, and was surprised to find 'that only a few feet below the bodies, where one would expect to find millions of these dysentery and cholera germs, there were no germs at all'. He then grew germs from patients having the disease, and to these cultures added water from the Ganges. When he incubated the mixture for a period, much to his surprise, the germs were completely destroyed.

The Master further attests to a British physician, Dr C.E. Nelson's striking fact, that "ships leaving Kolkata for England take their water from the Hooghly River which is one of the mouths of the filthy Ganges, and this Ganges water will remain fresh all the way to England. On the other hand, ships leaving England for India find that the water they take on in London will not stay fresh till they reach Bombay, the nearest Indian port, which is a week closer to England than Calcutta. They must replenish their water supply at Port Said, Suez or at Aden on the Red Sea". Dr Nelson was therefore of the view that Indians were correct in their beliefs that the Ganges is very sacred and possessed of mysterious powers.
In another reading from "Path of Divine Grace, Volume 1", Swami Sahajananda's love for the Ganga and its curative powers, was recounted. He said that Amitabh Mukerjee of India states in the internet that the Ganga has the recursive power, such that ordinary water mixed with the minutest quantity of Ganga water, has curative and healing powers. Pujya Swamiji quoted Lord Krishna's message from the Srimad Bhagavad Gita when He said, "Among streams I am the Ganga".

The beautiful DVD in praise of Mother Ganga's beauty, prowess and celestial grandeur, added colour to this wonderful celebration of Ganga Saptami.

The lesson of celebration of Ganga Saptami and its esoteric meaning are summed up by Sri Swami Sivananda, when he says, "The Ganges starts from Gangotri in the Himalayas. She encounters many obstacles on Her way, but She finally reaches the goal-the ocean. Similarly, the spiritual aspirant should never give up his struggle, however insurmountable the obstacles in the path may appear to be. All difficulties and obstacles will be removed through the Grace of the Lord and, if he is sincere in his Yogic practices, he will reach the goal".

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Hundreds of devotees, well-wishers, donors and members of the public gathered at Sivananda Ghat on Wednesday 1 May 2024 to observe the Special All Souls' Day Satsang and Mahayajna. The programme commenced at 2pm with Ganga Arati, followed by Invocatory Mantras, readings, a message by the guest-speaker, Sri Ish Prahladh, Kirtans, Bhajans and a Mahayajna (Havan). The soulful and divine ambience of the Satsang and Havan, was a fitting tribute to departed souls.

Two inspiring messages were read. The importance of prayer and Kirtan for departed souls was the theme of Sri Swami Sivananda's message. The Master said, "Prayer and Kirtan, good thoughts or good wishes become very helpful to departed souls. They can be of invaluable assistance to the dead. Prayer acts on the principle of a radio station and broadcasts the waves of good thoughts just as the radio station broadcasts waves of sound.

Sixty-eight years ago, on 10 April 1956, a young man named V. Srinivasan was initiated into the holy order of Sannyas by Sri Swami Sivananda. His monastic name is Swami Sahajananda. Pujya Swamiji led Divine Life Society of South Africa for 58 years until his Mahasamadhi on 10 December 2007. As Spiritual Head of the Society, Pujya Swamiji's indomitable will, tenacity and iron courage to spread his Divine Master's, Sri Swami Sivananda's teachings, saw a virtual Hindu renaissance in KwaZulu-Natal; perhaps a rare feat in Hindu spiritual history in this province, for the message of Sri Swami Sivananda, the message of Divine Life, has reached countless homes in the province and beyond, attributed, almost single-handedly, to Pujya Swami Sahajananda.

Divine Life Society of South Africa celebrated Pujya Swami Sahajananda's 68th Sannyas Anniversary at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, on Wednesday 10 April 2024. The morning Sadhana programme at 6am was followed by devotees taking Darshan at Pujya Swamiji's Kutir, his sacred room and the Sivananda-Sahajananda Diamongd Jubilee Centre. In the evening, Ganga Arati began at 5.30pm followed by Satsang. The Satsang programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, a reading on Renunciation (Sannysa) from Bliss Divine by Sri Swami Sivananda, an audio message by Pujya Swami Sahajananda, and Ramayana recital by our Rishikumaris.

The Richards Bay Branch of Divine Life Society of South Africa hosted the Society's Centenary Celebrations' Satsang at Sivanandashram in Brackenham, Richards Bay. The programme comprised a Havan at 8am, Ganga Arati at 9.40am and Satsang from 10am until 12.20pm.

The spiritual ambience of the sacred Havan set the tone of divinity for the day's events. Many devotees, well-wishers, donors and members of the public participated in Ganga Arati, some for the very first time. The Satsang programme consisted of Kirtans, Bhajans, a children's item, "Gurudev Says", and a youth item, "Take a Packet of Grace Home Today", which captured some of Swami Sivananda's salient teachings, namely, Satsang, prayer, meditation, Sadhana, Brahmacharya, the Spiritual Diary and the Law of Karma. A delightful and humorous play, "An Obedient Wife", by Swami Sivananda brought out the importance of harmony in the home, mutual respect and understanding, especially between spouses. The Bharatanatyam Dance to the Bhajan, "Ayodhya Vasi" Ram was well choreographed and professionally executed.

Sri Hanuman Jayanti was celebrated at all Sivanandashrams of Divine Life Society of South Africa on Tuesday 23 April 2024. At Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, the Sri Hanuman Jayanti Satsang was preceded by chanting of the Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram Mantra from 4 to 4.30pm and Havan at 4.30pm, being the culmination of the 41-Day Recital of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa. Ganga Arati was at 5.30pm, followed by Satsang. The Satsang programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, the Sri Hanuman Arati and a reading, "Sri Hanuman Meets His Divine Master" from the Shree Ramacharitmanasa, as well as a poem entitled "Sri Hanuman" from "Great Men and Women" by Sri Swami Sivananda.

The Sri Hanuman Arati extolled the virtues of Sri Hanuman. The English translation of the initial Sloka of the Sri Hanuman Arati captures the essence of the Arati, namely, "Sing the Arati of Lord Hanuman, the destroyer of all that is wicked, an exalted hero in Sri Rama's sportive play on earth. His massive power makes even mountains shake. Neither sickness nor impurities can come close to His devotees".

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Gurudev Centenary 2024

Sri Swami Sivananda

(1887 - 1963)

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