Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, founder of the Divine Life Society worldwide movement, sent three letters to Sri V Srinivasan (Sri Swami Sahajananda) to start a branch in this country. The first letter was sent on 5 June 1949, the second on 18 October, and the third on 11 November. Divine Life Society of South Africa thus celebrates its anniversary on 3 days. These letters were methodically and carefully preserved by Pujya Swami Sahajananda and have now been published by Divine Life Society of South Africa, in a book entitled Priceless Jewels. Four such volumes have been published.
On 5 June 1951 our Divine Master, wrote the following advice to Pujya Swamiji, "Keep the divine flame within you growing strong daily. An interesting feature in the spiritual path is that the world looks frightening to an aspirant at the outset, but when once he takes to chanting His Name and does total surrender unto Him, everything appears as His Lila".
On 26 March 1960, the Master wrote, "Through the Grace of the Lord you will be endowed with all divine virtues. For a sincere worker name and fame will come by itself. It cannot be avoided. But do not mind it. Treat it as a straw. Be humble always and serve. This will not affect you".
In the third letter we chose, dated 2 December 1958, our Divine Master emphasised. "Purity of life is the essential condition for attaining God-realisation. Meditation is the key to the realisation of God Almighty. The four means viz. discrimination, dispassion etc. are the steps or the golden stairs to the Temple of Moksha or the abode of Bliss Immortal".
Whilst the advice proffered above will benefit all aspirants, the letter written on 22 February 1952, is of great importance to all beginners on the path, "Take everything as it comes, instead of complaining. By these means one seizes every opportunity. One develops easily a great deal of mental strength and evenness of mind. Irritability vanishes. Power of endurance and patience will develop".
In the audio message, Pujya Swamiji said it took Sri Gurudev 5 years before he gave him permission to resign from this teaching post. "Because he knew that I was trying to escape from my responsibilities. The Guru knows what is good. It was only many years later when I understood that Gurudev wants us to attain peace of mind in the midst of difficulties that my goal changed. I found that it is far better to have problems and troubles and difficulties around you and then try to attain the highest peace. In 1956, I understood that everything is held in the hands of the Guru. The key is in his hands. Even then, one has to do an enormous amount of preparation, an enormous amount of purification to get the vision of God."
We express our deepest gratitude to Pujya Swamiji for guiding devotees of Divine Life Society of South Africa for 58 glorious years and for shaping their lives. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Pujya Swamiji for providing the various facilities for our spiritual growth. As it is the 13th Anniversary of Sivananda Ghat, a facility provided by Pujya Swamiji after much struggle, we gratefully acknowledge that this much-needed facility is serving thousands of bereaved families and taking them closer to God.