After breakfast, the programme commenced at the Stadium at 9.15am with a March Past. This is a "Lap of Honour", expressing gratitude to the Master for the bountiful gifts he has bestowed upon this country. About three hundred devotees from the branches participated, bearing banners and accompanied by mascots. Each branch vocalized their own spiritual slogans.
At 9.45 the main Satsang commenced. The readings commenced with an article entitled, "What Life has taught me" written by Sri Swami Sivananda. The Master said, "I hold that real religion is the religion of the heart. The heart must be purified first. Truth, love and purity are the basis of real religion. Control over the baser nature, conquest of the mind, cultivation of virtues, service of humanity, goodwill, fellowship and amity constitute the fundamentals of true religion. These ideals are included in the principles of the Divine Life Society. And I try to teach them mostly by example which I consider to be weightier than all precepts."
Ten years ago, Pujya Swami Sahajananda presented a message at this very venue, highlighting the importance of obedience to the Guru. We single out a paragraph from this message, "Divine Life Society devotees are all familiar with the most important quality necessary on the spiritual path. This is the quality of obedience. The quality of obedience to the Guru goes hand in hand with the spirit of self-surrender to him. No spiritual progress can be made without having this fundamental quality of absolute obedience to the Guru. Obedience at home will bring peace, harmony and happiness. So, all have to remember the importance of this cardinal quality of obedience. Obedience goes hand in hand with the quality of communication. When there is no effective communication then arguments and self-justification take place. Effective communication is very important also in the place where one works."
Our Chief Guest of Honour, The Honorable, Dr Shashank Vikram (Consul General of India in Durban), delivered an inspiring address. We reproduce excerpts of this message: "The contributions of Divine Life Society of South Africa, through the implementation of the teachings of Sri Swami Sivananda, to the people of South Africa is quite unique. The work of your organisation has helped in strengthening relations between all people of this country." "We are thankful for the wonderful relationship that exists between the Consulate and the Society, and appreciate your work for the people of South Africa. You have given meaning to the concept of Ubuntu in a practical and tangible manner."
The Sivananda Drill Programmes once again stole the hearts of devotees. Even though many have seen it over the years, they were in awe of the breath-taking movements. The precision and timing and the many creative movements also touched the hearts of the appreciative audience. Learners from Sivananda High School in KwaMashu presented a vibrant dance as an offering to the Master.
The spiritual festivities concluded with a cultural programme of Bhajans & Kirtans, a Musical programme, Plays and Drill movements. All these items were offered at the feet of the Master, as a birthday offering. Some of the melodious Bhajans transported devotees to "another world".
We gratefully acknowledge the support and presence of the following dignitaries: The Honorable, Dr Shashank Vikram (Consul General of India in Durban), Revered Pravrajika Ishtaprana Mataji (Sri Sarada Devi Ashram); Sri Swami Lokasangrahananda (Vedanta Institute, Sea Tides) Advocate Kessie Naidu, Trustee, Ramakrishna Centre of SA, Phoenix and Mrs Shameen Thakur Rajbansi, Leader of the Minority Front.
We conclude with the words of our Master, "The beauty in 'Divine Life' is its simplicity and applicability to the everyday affairs of the ordinary man. It is immaterial whether one goes to the church or the mosque or the temple for offering his prayers, for all prayers are heard by the One".