This sacred event was celebrated online on Tuesday, 8 September 2020, commencing with Ganga Arati at 5.30pm. The morning session, which commenced at 5am with the final chanting of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa, 11 times, saw the culmination of the 41-day recital. This was followed by Havan which was live-streamed from Sivanandashram, Chatsworth. More than 500 devotees signed the pledge form to undertake the 41-Day chanting of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa. 1881 devotees viewed the Havan ceremony and participated online.
In respect of the birthday of a saint, the Master said: "Few events are more auspicious than the celebration of birth anniversaries of saints." Regarding the celebration of his birthday, the Master explained: "The devotees take delight in celebrating the birthday and are uplifted and benefited. A spiritual wave is created year after year when the birthday is celebrated, and more and more people get a chance of knowing the existence of Divine Life Society and my teachings. The pious, receptive attitude prevalent on such an occasion draws forth the Grace of the Guru and God upon the devotees. The thoughts of peace, devotion, love, etc., sent out by the innumerable devotees that assemble to celebrate the birthday, go a long way to promote peace, harmony and spiritual well-being in the country."
On 6 September, a special cultural programme, dedicated to the Master, was screened, depicting his life and teachings. There were 550 views. It featured the day-to-day activities of the Master, with a voice over by Pujya Swami Sahajananda. Our children from grades 4 – 7 also participated in various readings.
Sri Ganesha Chaturthi, the birthday of Lord Ganesha, is one of the most popular of Hindu Festivals. Divine Life Society of South Africa celebrated this auspicious event online on Saturday, 22 August 2020. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda wrote, "Lord Ganesha is worshipped first in any kind of prayer. His Names are repeated first before an auspicious work is begun, before any kind of worship is begun. Without the blessings and Grace of Lord Ganesha, nothing whatsoever can be achieved. No action can be undertaken without His support. Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of wisdom and bliss. He is the Lord of Brahmacharins. He is foremost amongst the celibates".
Through the grace of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda, the Society has contributed towards the establishment of the Sivananda RK Khan Hospital Screening Centre (images below), to assist in the control and eradication of the coronavirus pandemic. This initiative was in partnership with the Divine Health Forum, an NGO doing humanitarian work.
The Society has also contributed towards the establishment of the Sivananda King Dinuzulu Hospital Screening Centre and the Sivananda Wentworth Hospital Flu Clinic, to assist in the control and eradication of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sri Krishna Janmashtami, the sacred Birthday of Lord Krishna, was celebrated on Wednesday, 12 August 2020 via an online Satsang. There were 1671 views. The programme commenced at 5.30pm with Ganga Arati and concluded at midnight with the celebration of the Birth of the Lord. Bhagavan Sri Krishna was the Ishta Devata of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda who wrote the following in Lord Krishna and His Lilas: "Lord Krishna was the highest incarnation of the great Lord Vishnu. He was the unique and crowning incarnation of all. He was the world teacher. He was the one Lord of love. His Divine form holds the heart of India captive in chains, even today. The Bhagavata, the Mahabharata, the Vishnu Purana—all proclaim with one voice that there was none to match Sri Krishna in beauty and elegance of form in all three worlds".
Divine Life Society of S. A. observed this auspicious event online, via audio stream. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda explains beautifully, the significance of this Vrata, which is taken from the book, Hindu Fasts & Festivals.
"Lord Siva describes the glory of this Vrata in the Skanda Purana. It is performed by a woman whose husband is still living. Maha Lakshmi is the abode of auspiciousness, prosperity and wealth.This worship of Her is done to obtain good progeny, and for the health and long life of the husband.
"The Vrata is observed on the Friday immediately preceding the full moon day of the month of Sravan (August-September). After a purificatory bath, the lady should put on clean, fresh clothes and make a mandala with the drawing of a lotus upon it. A kalasha filled with rice and topped with fresh mango leaves, and a coconut and cloth are placed in the mandala. Mother Lakshmi is now invoked therein. Fresh grains are used in the worship as they convey the idea of growth and prosperity.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, shed his mortal coil on 14 July, 1963 and merged with the Supreme. Today, 57 years after this solemn event, we observed this important day via online audio Satsang on 14 July 2020. There was a morning online Sadhana Programme from 6-6.20am. Ganga Arati in the evening commenced at 5.30pm.
On this auspicious occasion, we acknowledge with deep gratitude, our Divine Master's immeasurable contributions to the world, through his profound writings, Ashrams throughout the world, service activities, spiritual, moral and aesthetic guidance on Hinduism, Yoga and allied topics.
Sri N. Ananthanarayanan states in his book, From Man to God-man, "Sri Gurudev blasted old superstitions about God and religion. In equal measure he exploded modern fairy tales about Yoga and Yogis. By teaching and by personal example, he made it plain that there was no easy way to Moksha or liberation, no short-cut to God. The laborious, orthodox way was the only way. It was the way of service and love, of abstraction and meditation, of dispassion and discrimination".
Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya!
The launch of the 41-day Sri Hanuman Chalisa took place on Thursday, 30 July via online audio stream. Beloved Pujya Swami Sahajananda encouraged all to recite the Sri Hanuman Chalisa for protection, safety, peace and the welfare of the world. In this critical period, collective recital of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa will assist in counteracting the scourges of our times. A verse in the Sri Hanuman Chalisa tells us of the power of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa in assisting the world, Naashai Roga Harai Saba Peera Japata Nirantara Hanumata Beera, which translated means, "All diseases are destroyed and pain and sorrow vanish when your great and powerful Name is repeated incessantly".
We are most grateful to the more than 460 devotees who have pledged to participate in the 41-day recital, and encourage others to join in. Several participants are from across the globe. This 41-day Sadhana is an offering to Sri Hanuman and our Divine Master and will culminate on Tuesday, 8 September, which is the 133rd Birth Anniversary of beloved Gurudev, Sri Swami Sivananda.
“If you find humility, that is a sign of a Yogi, and he must be compassionate. His heart should melt like butter when he sees the sufferings of others. If he finds a starving man, and if he has got a tumbler of milk, he will run to him and give it to him. Of all the qualities that are enumerated in the Gita, humility and compassion are the most important. He who possesses these qualities is a Yogi of the first order. These are the test of a Jivanmukta. So, we all pray for his health, long life, peace and prosperity. Such a person is a rare jewel on this earth. He who is not free from selfishness is a burden on earth, but when he becomes selfless and works for relieving the human suffering, when he has dedicated his life for the service of humanity, he is a divine being on earth.” Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda was paying tribute to Pujya Swami Sahajananda on 10 April 1956, on the auspicious occasion of Pujya Swamiji’s initiation into the holy order of Sannyas. This message will go down as one of the keynote messages in the history of the Society.
And now, 64 years later, on 10 July 2020, as we celebrate Pujya Swamiji’s 95th Birth Anniversary via online audio Satsang, we reflect upon these qualities that the Master had enumerated and pray that we too, will one day imbibe these divine qualities. Pujya Swamiji was an exceptional Being. The great faith and devotion that he had in the Divine Master, was second to none. He did not question the Master but carried out his instructions implicitly. It is this faith, devotion and obedience that contributed to the growth and development of the Society. It is this faith, devotion and obedience that we should all aspire for.