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."
Pujya Swami Sahajananda's 93rd Birth Anniversary was celebrated on Tuesday, 10 July at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. ln celebrating Pujya Swami Sahajanandaji's 93rd birthday, we offer our gratitude to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swamiji for laying at our disposal, the fruits of their Tapas and Sadhana by way of the vast spiritual literature, our Ashrams and centres, etc. ln honouring Pujya Swamiji, who was a Maharishi who came to guide and nurture us, we are reminded how, in spite of his greatness, he advised us to give prominence and adoration to the Divine Master. We know from the Master's own words that he worked through Pujya Swamiji and therefore Guru and disciple had become one in spirit. Such was Pujya Swamiji's stature! For this we revere Swamiji as the greatest disciple of the Master. Pujya Swamiji's Guru Bhakti can be compared to that of Sri Hanuman. Like Sri Hanuman who was one with Lord Rama, and stood humbly as a devotee to the Lord, so did our Swamiji hide the spiritual giant that he was and lived only to glorify the Master. The Master's Divine power flowed effortlessly through Pujya Swamiji.
The inauguration of the 41-day, Sri Hanuman Chalisa recital took place on Tuesday, 31 July at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Sri Swami Sivananda wrote: "The world has not yet seen and will not see in future also a mighty hero like Sri Hanuman. During his life he worked wonders and exhibited superhuman feats of strength and valour. He has left behind him a name which, as long as the world lasts, will continue wielding a great influence over the minds of millions of people."
The Anniversary Satsang was celebrated on Tuesday, 5 June at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. The day was also auspicious as it coincided with the 13th Anniversary of Sivananda Ghat.
After reading the book, Jiva Brahma Aikya Vedanta Rahasyam by Swami Satchidananda, Dr Kuppuswami developed an ardent desire to "tread the path of the wise and unlock the realms of immortality". From Malaysia, he journeyed to Rishikesh where he met his Guru, the venerable Swami Vishwananda who initiated him into the Holy Order of Sannyas on 1 June 1924. Dr Kuppuswami was now dead. Swami Sivananda Saraswati was born.
Ganga Dussehra was observed on Thursday, 24 May at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. It was on this day that Ganga, by Her Divine Grace, uplifted all the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara to the highest abode of immortal bliss. Readers would know that the princes were cursed by Sage Kapila because they falsely accused him of stealing the sacrificial horse, dedicated for the Ashvamedha sacrifice by their father, King Sagara.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda wrote the following about the holy Ganga River, "The water of the Ganges is extremely pure and sanctifying. No germs can flourish in this. This has been tested by various scientists in their laboratory. Rich in minerals, this water cures almost all kinds of diseases."
Since 2006, when Sri Swami Sahajananda initiated the Sunlit Path Programme, the Society has reached out to more than 70 schools in KwaZulu-Natal in an attempt to eradicate the scourge of drug addiction, and other social ills, using in the main, a spiritual solution.
On Thursday, 17 May 2018, the Society engaged the attention of 144 learners in a workshop on this same theme. The following secondary schools participated: Earlington, Westham, Phoenix, Northmead and Rydal Park. After completing a three-hour workshop, learners were given the opportunity to peruse and sign a pledge form, to try to take a stand against the scourge of these social ills. We are delighted to report that 112 learners voluntarily resolved to abstain from alcohol, smoking, gambling, drugs and intoxicants. They will also try to avoid viewing undesirable scenes on TV and other social media. Adopting a wholesome diet and a healthy lifestyle is a part of this resolve. Furthermore, they will try to maintain celibacy until marriage and avoid keeping evil company. Maintaining a positive attitude at all times, especially in difficult situations and to conduct daily prayer forms the last part of this pledge. A brave stand indeed! All the topics contained in the pledge form mentioned above were discussed in detail at this workshop. This was the primary purpose of the workshop.
The annual, special All Souls' Day Satsang was successfully held at the Sivananda Ghat in Clare Estate on Tuesday, 1 May, 2018 attracting about 600 devotees of which 350 participated in the Havan.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda stated, "Departed souls remain in a state of unconsciousness or swoon immediately after death. They cannot feel that they are detached from their previous gross material bodies. Prayers, Kirtan and good thoughts from relatives and friends can give real solace to the departed souls. They create a potent vibration and awakening in their stupefied condition of mind and restore their consciousness that has been veiled. They then begin to realise that they are not really in their gross material bodies.