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.
Pujya Swami Sahajananda's 62nd Sannyas Anniversary was observed on Tuesday, 10 April at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Devotees assembled at 6am to pay homage to one of the greatest sons of South Africa.
We are pleased to report that the Hindu Dharma Campaign in Tongaat on 15 April was well received. The event which took place at the Trubel Primary School in Tongaat, commenced at 6am and concluded at 1pm. The following organisations participated: Sathya Sai Organisation of SA; Vedanta Gurukula; Maidstone Youth; Art of Living; Tongaat Hindu Unity Forum; Shree Bhagavada Vedanta Gurukula; Belvedere Sai Centre; Vishwaroop Dharmshala; Chinna Thirupathi Temple and Satya Seva Sancarana. Divine Life Society of S.A. was delighted to share this platform with our sister organisations. Their keen participation is indicative of their deep and abiding love for Hindu Dharma, and the preservation thereof.
Sri Hanuman Jayanti was observed on Saturday, 31 March at all Divine Life Society Ashrams. Sri Hanuman was the embodiment of humility and pure devotion. He was recognised as a great Karma Yogi and the ideal Brahmachari. It was the power of Brahmacharya that gave him enormous strength and courage. Within a second, he could become as big as a mountain or as small as a thumb-nail. In spite of all the super human deeds that Sri Hanuman performed, he remained humble and always replied that everything was accomplished "By the Grace of Lord Rama". During the course of the day, 108 recitals of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa was done at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills and Chatsworth. Various branches participated in the chanting in Reservoir Hills. Pujya Swami Sahajananda wrote the following in the Divine Life Society Prayer Book, “The Sri Hanuman Chalisa is very powerful and very effective for the removal of all mental problems. It brings good health, success and prosperity. It cures diseases, counteracts evil forces and the effect of ‘black magic’, which are so prevalent today”.
Divine Life Society of S.A. celebrated the auspicious event of Ram Naumi on Sunday, 25 March. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda wrote, "Sri Rama was the best of men. He had a sterling character. He was the very image of love, He led the ideal life of a householder to teach the tenets of righteousness to humanity. None but the righteous can be truly happy".
These are a few searching questions raised by learners from the schools in Ladysmith at a special follow-up workshop held on Friday, 9 March at the Agra Crescent Hall. Eighty-one learners from the following schools participated in a workshop to help them overcome drug addiction and other social ills: Ladysmith Secondary, Windsor Secondary and Acaciavale Primary. Our presenters, who are volunteers, are drawn from the medical, social science, academic and business spheres with vast experience. They answered these questions with great sympathy and understanding. Due to time constraints we were not able to answer all the questions.
"In 2018, the world's most religiously and culturally diverse interfaith event will be meeting in the world's most diverse city! More than 10,000 people of faith and conscience will come together in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for the 7th convening of the Parliament of the World's Religions. Together, they will bring the wisdom of more than 80 nations and 200 unique spiritual traditions to share, learn, network, and celebrate. They will explore what "The Promise of Inclusion" and "The Power of Love" means in the pursuit of a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world. The 2018 Parliament will build upon our legacy of initiating dialogue and facilitating positive relationships among people of vast spiritual, ethnic, and national identities, providing a framework for expressing many visions of a just, peaceful and sustainable future. We meet at a time of promise for the world's people to be motivated to tackle the most pressing dangers of our times together. In this moment, the powers of the world are bringing civic and religious spheres into one to make a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world. This is our reason for meeting. Our future generations and planet need us now." (Parliament of the World's Religions 70 E. Lake St., Ste. 205, Chicago)
This auspicious event on the calendar of Divine Life Society of S.A. commemorates the day when a unusual spiritual power descended into Pujya Swami Sahajananda on 1 March 2007. Regarding the significance of this auspicious day we read the following excepts at our Satsang:
"In November 2007, Pujya Swamiji made the following utterance: "Since the 1 March I am enjoying 24 hours unbroken peace of mind. Previously there used to be a sharp pain inside, but now there is nothing."