In celebration of 70 years of existence in this country, Satsangs have been organised throughout the year, hosted mostly by branches of the Society. The third Satsang in the series of celebrations was held on Wednesday, 5 June at headquarters, Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. This day coincided with one of the three days when the Master wrote letters to Pujya Swamiji instructing him to start a branch of the Society in South Africa. At the Satsang on 5 June, four letters were read. These were written by our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda to Pujya Swamiji and contains precious advice to all seekers on the spiritual path.
The 95th Sannyas Anniversary of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda was held on Saturday, 1 June 2019 at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Devotees paid homage to the Master at a short Satsang commencing at 6am.
After reading the book, Jiva-Brahma Aikya Vedanta Rahasyam, our Master developed an ardent desire to tread the path of spirituality. He longed desperately for absolute bliss, for unmixed happiness and for perpetual peace. He resigned from his job as a doctor in Malaya and left for India. On arrival at his home in Pattamadai, the Master went missing as his goods were being offloaded. What happened was that he set out immediately to the railway station to commence his journey to Varanasi, the abode of Lord Siva. The Master had one burning desire and that was to realise God now. To his dismay, the Master discovered that Varanasi was a big crowded city and he was advised by a kind-hearted stranger to go to Pandharpur. The Master visited several holy places. The wandering life helped our Master to develop equal vision, forbearance and serenity of outlook in pleasure and pain. He eventually reached Rishikesh where he met Swami Vishwananda who gave him Sannyas. It was on this day, the 1st of June 1924, 95 years ago, that Swami Sivananda Saraswati was born.
This year marks the 70th Anniversary, the Platinum Jubilee of Divine Life Society of South Africa. Pujya Swami Sahajananda, Spiritual Head of the Society, as well as devotees of the Society affirm that the achievements and milestones of the Society are due only to the Grace of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. We are beholden to Pujya Swami Sahajananda for carrying out the explicit instructions of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, to start the Divine Life Society in South Africa.
With the celebrations now taken to branch levels, in terms of its outreach programme, Divine Life Society of South Africa has created further awareness in resuscitating any dormancy that may exist amongst the community. On Sunday, 26 May 2019, there was a combined hosting of this milestone event at Sivanandashram, Chatsworth, 2 Ambassador Road, Unit 1, Havenside, by three branches of the DLS SA, namely, Chatsworth, Kharwastan and Shallcross. An intensive planning exercise, together with two radio presentations and an overview in the community newspaper, held a great advantage in creating awareness to the public. As a result of this, the function unfolded with a promise of being a resounding success. Such awareness taken to the community, added much flavour to furthering the aim of the Society, in disseminating our Master's vast reservoir of Spiritual Literature. We observed with joy that about 450 people responded to our invitation.
The Sunlit Path follow-up programme in Phoenix on Thursday, 25 April 2019 took on a different note when Mrs R. Bechoo, Principal of Westham Secondary, in her welcome address, prayed initially for the victims of the recent flood disaster in Durban and other disasters throughout the world. She invited learners to send thoughts of love, protection and goodwill to them. In doing so, the attention of learners was shifted from praying for themselves to cope with their personal challenges to sending prayerful thoughts to those in need. It develops compassion for others.
A special All Souls' Day Satsang was held at Sivananda Ghat on Wednesday, 1 May 2019, attracting more than 500 devotees, with about 350 participating in the Havan. Being a public holiday, the organisers were able to commence at 2.30pm with invocation, followed by a Havan ceremony for the peace of all departed souls. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda wrote the following about these prayers, "The departed souls are in great grief. They naturally look to us to help them. We must do this." And so, on the instruction of our Divine Master, these prayers are conducted on the first of every month.
This auspicious event was observed on Wednesday, 10 April 2019 at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, commencing with a morning programme from 6 to 6.45am. The programme comprised Ganga Arati, short invocation, visit to Sahaja Kutir, to Pujya Swamiji's sacred room and to Sahajananda Diamond Jubilee Centre.
In the evening Ganga Arati commenced at 5.30pm, followed by Satsang which commemorated Pujya Swamiji's 63rd Sannyas Anniversary. We celebrate this day each year in order to highlight perhaps the most valued Sannyas initiation event related to our lives in South Africa. Although, Pujya Swami Sahajananda was the recipient of the Master's Grace in 1956, the past, present and future generations of devotees here in South Africa may also be regarded as recipients of his 1956 Grace as well, for the simple fact that all of our lives have been touched, perhaps shaped, by the Grace of Sri Swami Sahajananda, by his presence and work here in South Africa. Our Beloved Pujya Swamiji is often referred to as the greatest Saint that Africa has produced, who worked for about 6 decades, creating for us the best spiritual facilities in the world.
The Sunlit Path team travelled to Newcastle on Monday, 15 April 2019, in response to appeals from local educators to assist with the escalating rate of drug addiction and other social ills in Newcastle and surrounding regions. Eighty-seven learners from the following four schools were selected to participate: Newcastle High, Panorama Combined School, Lincoln Heights Secondary and Hope High School.
In the welcome address, Mr M. Govender, Principal of Newcastle High School, urged learners to engage with each other in this workshop, to open up their minds and to identify the true purpose of their existence on earth. He said that he hoped that their presence at this workshop will add impetus in the classroom. Mr Govender took pains to elaborate on the motto of Divine Life Society of South Africa: SERVE, LOVE, GIVE, PURIFY, MEDITATE & REALISE. There is so much potential in each word in the motto that if they practice it, they will become true servants of God, he said. He expressed concern about the current decline in values amongst learners and hoped that it will not spiral out of control. Divine Life Society of S.A could be the agents of change to inspire and motivate participants at this workshop. In his closing statement, Mr Govender said that this workshop should impact on the classroom in the home and in the community.
WAY TO RAMA RAJYA by Sri Swami Sivananda
Blessed Immortal Selves!
Out of the fullness of my heart and love for you all, I send a Message Divine to inspire you, to instantly elevate and to transform your life. It will transport you from weakness to tremendous strength, from failure to flaming success, from sorrow to blessedness and joy.
The most sacred Ramayana abounds with innumerable life-redeeming lessons. But in receiving a message, the receiver eagerly looks for something therein which will throw light upon and guide him in the most pressing problems of the day. He seeks solutions for the crying questions of the moment. And at the present period, the one matter that is terribly agitating all minds and hearts is the widespread of Adharma—falsehood and passion, that is rampant everywhere in the world. To know the cause of it and the direct way to quickly remove it, is the thing needed now. And to this end, out of the countless lessons teeming in the Ramayana, I wish to awaken you all to the most important and timely ones for humanity now. All the main ills of the modern world will be removed if these two lessons from the ideal life of Sri Rama are adopted in our lives individually as well as nationally. They are the ideals of Truth and Purity. Let these twin flames of Truth and Purity burn bright upon your broad bosom.
The first of the many 70th anniversary celebrations of Divine Life Society of South Africa scheduled for this year, was hosted by the Westham, Newlands, Stonebridge and Rydalvale Branches of the Society. This well-organised and inspiring event took place on Sunday, 31 March at the A.M. Moolla Spes Nova School Hall in Phoenix. The Society is encouraged by the large attendance at 8am, with the commencement of the Havan. The Mantras that were so articulately recited by our pundits during Havan signified the following: "O resplendent glory, light of the universe, we light this fire to remove darkness from our midst. Thou dwelleth within our hearts, may we burn out all our sins and vices. Bless us O Lord, with kindness and generosity, knowledge and strength, food and wealth, good children and useful animals. O Almighty Lord, in Thy Name we offer all these ingredients into this sacred fire. O Lord, whatever we have received from Thee—food and wealth, happiness and prestige, are not ours—they are thine. Let not our education, strength and wealth, make us arrogant and conceited, for they are all thine." The 108 sacred Names of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda were recited thereafter. The powerful vibrations that radiated from this ceremony impacted on the large congregation that witnessed this Yagna
The Day of Descent of Divine Grace was celebrated on Friday, 1 March 2009 at Sivanandashram Reservoir Hills. About this auspicious day, Pujya Swamiji wrote: "I myself had the Grace of our Divine Master when an unusual power of his descended in me. It happened on 1st March this year. When the power descended there was a little disturbance in the beginning but within a few days it settled down. Now there is no change in the descent of the power. I could not believe that the Master would grant me such Divine Grace, a Grace that I do not deserve. If devotees saw my attitude some five years ago and my attitude now, they would be quite surprised that such a tremendous change could take place."