The 71st Anniversary of Divine Life Society of S.A. and the 15th Anniversary of Sivananda Ghat was celebrated via our online Satsang programmes on Friday, 5 June 2020. It must be reiterated, wrote Pujya Swami Sahajananda, that the growth and development of the Society is due entirely to the Grace of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. We are deeply indebted to our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji for their much-needed guidance these past 71 years.
A very appropriate article (Blessings in Disguise) was selected from the booklet, Solving the Problems of Kali Yuga, which was edited and adapted by Sri Swami Sahajananda. It goes as follows, "Adversities, trials, difficulties, calamities, diseases, afflictions, pains and sufferings are all blessings in disguise. They strengthen the will and increase the power of endurance. They turn the mind more and more towards God. They instil in us discrimination and dispassion. They draw out our latent faculties. They force us to perform even beyond our ability. They develop all the talents and capacities lying dormant within us.
On Monday, 1 June 2020. these two auspicious events were observed via online Satsang, being our Divine Master's 96th Sannyas Anniversary and Ganga Dussehra. Today we offer gratitude to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda for the immense Tapas that he did. Through his tremendous Tapas he was able to get all his knowledge and he passed it on to us, says Pujya Swami Sahajananda. It also paved the way for the redemption of and blossoming of countless seekers the world over.
In his pre-recorded audio message Pujya Swamiji said, "One of the tasks that was set forth by Gurudev for the Divine Life Society was the publication of literature. It could not have been an accident because that was the task that was set by him and from the very beginning of the inauguration of Divine Life Society, printing became the most important item of its work. Gurudev has said in the Gospel that the most important thing for him is the dissemination of knowledge by means of literature. You can do it by touring and you can do it by literature also. But Gurudev felt that the literature was more important because the written word was always left behind. He would say 'If I visited people's homes and went on tours, they would say 'Aye Maharaj, Aye Maharaj' and give me a cup of tea. But if I remain in my Kutir and do some writing, then that written word would go to the homes and remain there.'
Click on the link below to read our Divine Life Magazine No.123, released on the auspicious occasion of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda's 96th Sannyas Anniversary.
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.