We are happy to report on our COVID-19 initiatives. Many tearfully expressed their feelings of gratitude for our assistance in providing nutritious grocery hampers during this period of deprivation. In all, 2500 grocery hampers and scores of fresh produce hampers were distributed to needy families. Through the Grace of our Master, and your kind support, the various organisations that we supported were able to continue with their service activities. The Sivananda King Dinuzulu Hospital Screening Centre in Sydenham, Durban, continues to render much-needed support to the community. More than 2000 cloth face masks were distributed via our grocery hamper distribution programme and to members of the public using the Sivananda Ghat during the pandemic. This is an ongoing project and masks are now being manufactured at our Sewing Centres for the public. These masks will also be distributed to schools. Our gratitude to all those who provided assistance to this programme.
As the world and South Africa try to contain and eradicate the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, Divine Life Society of South Africa undertook the following humanitarian initiatives and made contributions to selected institutions doing sterling work during the pandemic:
1. KING DINUZULU HOSPITAL which erected the Sivananda King Dinuzulu Screening Centre for patients attending the hospital. Divine Life Society of South Africa partnered with Divine Health Forum on this initiative.
2. DISTRIBUTION OF 2500 GROCERY HAMPERS, each valued at approximately R300 to deserving families, temples, civic and Hindu organisations.
3. DOLPHIN COAST HOSPICE ASSOCIATION that provides free palliative and home- based care to terminally ill patients in the Illembe District. Food hampers were distributed by the Hospice to families.
4. ARYAN BENEVOLENT HOME (ABH) that takes care of approximately 700 indigent persons, the aged and destitute.
5. GIFT OF THE GIVERS which set up Covid - 19 testing stations across South Africa
Last night (Wednesday, 29 April 2020), we invited devotees from across the globe to participate in our online audio-stream Satsang. Six hundred and eight devotees (608) and possibly their immediate families responded to our call. It was Ganga Saptami, also known as Ganga Jayanti. It is considered one of the most auspicious days for Hindus and is celebrated on the 'Saptami', the 7th day of the bright moon period during the first Hindu month Vaishakha.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda wrote the following in the book, Mother Ganga, "Bhagirathi did rigorous penance for a full hundred years. It is needless to say that Lord Siva, the protector of all His devotees, was immensely please with the king and readily accepted to check and control Ganga through His matted locks. With surge, fury and foam, Ganga began to descend from the celestial regions. Flashes of lightening, thunders from clouds, and the uncontrollable flow seemed as if a deluge was about the devour the whole world. But Lord Siva coolly received Her in His matted locks and let Her drip over Him. This day is called Ganga Saptami Day".
The Society once again offered to thirsting devotees, the facility to participate in the online live-stream Satsangs for Sri Hanuman Jayanti on 7 April 2020, the Birthdate Satsang of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda on 8 April 2020 and Pujya Swami Sahajananda's 64th Sannyas Anniversary Day on 10 April 2020. It was gratifying to note that listeners appreciated this opportunity to be part of the programme.
We present two messages from listeners who expressed their appreciation:
1. Thanks. The service was absolutely fantastic. Streaming was good. No problems.
2. We thank you graciously for the Satsang links. We would be at a loss without our Master's words and songs. We are eternally grateful to you and the DLS team for giving us this precious gift during trying times. Thank you very much.
We were indeed delighted to receive such an overwhelming response to our call for online mass prayer on Thursday, 2 April, being the most auspicious Sri Ram Naumi Day. As all are restricted to the confines of their homes due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the Board of Management felt that devotees would be thirsting to attend Satsang and so designed this programme to satisfy this need. We had 2960 views. Participants also tuned in from USA, UK, Australia, Germany and Canada.
The primary objective of these programmes is to encourage the community to participate in collective Sadhana, to pray for the speedy recovery of those afflicted by COVD-19, for the peace of those who have passed away, to pray for a vaccine to be found soon, for peace and wellness in the world and for a successful lock down period. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda says that collective Sadhana such as meditation, common prayer, common Sankirtan, Likhit Japa and Akhanda Kirtan in groups are more potent and effective than individual Sadhana, and that when people join together, we get the combined or massive effect produced by the simultaneous efforts of all those who take part in the common spiritual Sadhana. We encourage all to commit to spend some time in daily prayer on a regular basis.
Divine Life Society of South Africa will be broadcasting their Satsangs online until further notice. The Society makes a sincere and earnest appeal to all devotees to participate in the Satsangs whilst in the comfort of their homes, so as to imbibe the rich and sacred benefits of Satsang.
There are 2 options to receive the online Satsang links. One is to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and the other is to join our WhatsApp group, where a programme and a link to the pre-recorded audio stream Satsang will be sent out just before Satsang time.
The Sunlit Path follow-up programme for schools in Newcastle was held on Thursday, 20 February 2020 at the Lincoln Heights Secondary School. Twenty-six learners from the following schools participated: Lincoln Heights Secondary, Panorama Combined School and Hope High School.
In the welcome address, Principal of Lincoln Heights Secondary School, Mr R. Naicker, thanked the Sunlit Path team for their guidance and support in coming together to help learners who are affected by various social ills. He intimated that educators are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of problems experienced by learners. "It is absolutely essential that social partners like yourselves come aboard to assist us in helping our young learners who experience difficulty," he said.
The motivational address drew the learners' attention to the two videos presentation they viewed at the initial workshop in 2019, the importance of the diary and the pledge forms as well as the harmful effects of consuming alcohol, the impact of depression in their lives and the consequences of suicide. The address also focussed on the acronym PASTED, the power of prayer, celibacy, and health & diet. Learners were amazed to learn that 10% of Grade 12 girls fall pregnant in their matric year.
We also painstakingly revisited the importance of the diary/checklist. As part of our coping skills programme, four videos on positive thinking were presented. During the breakaway session, learners responded to questions based on this presentation. It was gratifying to note that two learners mentioned the changes they experienced after adopting methods advocated in the Sunlit Path programme.
We sincerely trust that learners will implement the lessons learnt in their daily lives and we pray that God will grant them the strength to maintain the resolves they made at the Sunlit Path Workshop.