“It is through the medium and Grace of the spiritual preceptor that the individual can raise himself to Cosmic Consciousness. The Guru is verily a link between the individual and the Immortal. He is a being who has raised himself from this to That, and thus has a free and unhampered access to both realms. He stands, as it were, upon the threshold of immortality and, bending down, raises the struggling aspirants with his one hand, and with the other, lifts them up into the kingdom of everlasting happiness and infinite Truth-Consciousness.
“It is therefore not without reason that India, year after year, age after age, commemorates anew this ancient concept of the holy Guru, adores it and pays homage to it again and again, and thereby re-affirms its belief and allegiance to it. For the true Indian knows that the Guru is the only real guarantee for the individual to transcend the bondage of sorrow and death, of pain and misery, and experience the bliss and peace of the Reality. The Guru is the standing witness to the all-pervading Self. He is the representation of the Lord on earth, and through worship of him one attains the Supreme Self.” These are the inspiring words of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda about the role of the Guru in the life of a disciple.
Guru Purnima is the day of worship of one's preceptor. It is a day of pure joy to the sincere spiritual aspirant. Thrilled by the expectation of offering their reverent homage to the beloved Guru, aspirants await this occasion with eagerness and devotion. It is the Guru alone who breaks the binding cords of attachment and releases the aspirant from the trammels of earthly existence.
Devotees of Swami Sivananda in South Africa came from various parts of the country on 19 July to observe this sacred day at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills and at Sivananda International Cultural Centre in La Mercy. The day began in Reservoir Hills at 6am where devotees paid homage to our Divine Master and Pujya Swami Sahajananda. The Programme at SICC commenced with Ganga Arati at 4pm and Satsang at 5.30pm.
On this day, we paid homage to the great sage, Bhagavan Sri Vyasa and all Brahma Vidya Gurus. Sannyasins settle at some place to study and discourse on the thrice-blessed Brahma Sutras composed by Maharishi Vyasa, and engage themselves in Vedantic philosophical study and investigation. Sri Vyasa has rendered unforgettable service to humanity for all times by editing the four Vedas and writing the eighteen Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. In honour of this divine personage, spiritual aspirants perform Vyasa Puja on this day. Saints, monks and men of God are honoured and entertained by acts of charity by the householders with deep faith and sincerity.
In the welcome message, a progress report was presented outlining the various projects undertaken. Currently, the Society is working on 35 projects, bringing the total to 551 since 1974. We express our deep gratitude to our donors, patrons and well-wishers for their kind support, in spite of the challenging economic climate. Without their support, the Society would not be able to undertake these projects.
In an audio message given in September 1975, Pujya Swamiji exhorted disciples to “think big”. “If we think big and do difficult tasks, without ambition, then we will be able to grow and the will-power will also grow. We find today, not only in the spiritual field but in other fields also, people do not have a strong will-power. They give up after a little effort. They don’t make a sturdy effort. So, that is why when a problem arises, when a moral crisis arises, when a spiritual crisis arises, when some problem arises, we find that we’re completed defeated by the mind.”
Continuing on the same theme later in the message, Pujya Swamiji says, “If everything is going smoothly then know that something is wrong. Either, as Yogananda says, you are like a Cadillac stuck in the mud or you are perhaps running backwards. So let us welcome all difficulties and problems. Gurudev says that we should even create a few problems. He said, ‘I like to stay among people who abuse me, who are difficult, who show disrespect. It would be good for my spiritual progress.’ But all that is very difficult unless you are a real Sadhaka and unless you have tremendous faith and you have complete trust in the Grace of God.”
After three melodious Bhajans in praise of the Master, Sivananda Dance Academy offered a well choreographed dance to the classical rendition of the Bhajan, “Sri Ramachandra Kripalu”.
In closing the programme, our Programme Director made bold to say that even though the Master and Pujya Swamiji are no longer in body, they are “watching us”. He quoted from an incident that took place in Rishikesh to substantiate this point. A lady once had a dream where the Master said to her that the Ashram was no longer offering curd for him at the special shrine at the Master’s kutir. When he was in body he was very fond of curd. When she arrived at Rishikesh, she informed one of the Swamis of her dream and he assured her that curd is being offered. They decided to go to the Kutir and sure enough, there was curd at the Shrine, but the attendant Swami was not taking off the lid that covered the curd. Hence, the Master was not able to partake of this Prasad. Her dream was thus perfectly correct. The Master is surely keeping a vigilant eye on everything. We should therefore, at all times, be on our guard and live our lives in accordance with the teachings of the Guru.