It is no coincidence also that this year, the longest blood moon eclipse in this century took place on July 27, the day when we celebrated Guru Purnima. A total Lunar Eclipse occurred as the Earth came between the Sun and the Moon. Due do this alignment, the Moon appeared red in colour.
The day at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, commenced at 6am as devotees paid homage and reverence to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda. The invigorating morning session was followed by Akanda chanting until 12pm. Our Centre of worship moved in the afternoon to the Sivananda International Cultural Centre with Havan commencing at 3pm, Ganga Arati at 4pm and Satsang at 5pm.
Our Master's message was extracted from the Book, Bliss Divine from the chapter entitled, "Surrender and Grace". We reproduce a few lofty thoughts from this reading: "If you want to drink water at the tap, you will have to bend yourself. Even so, if you want to drink the spiritual nectar of immortality which flows from the holy lips of the Guru, you will have to be an embodiment of humility and meekness. The lower nature of the mind must be thoroughly regenerated. The aspirant says to his preceptor: 'I want to practise Yoga. I want to enter into the super conscious state. I want to sit at your feet. I have given myself to you.' But he does not want to change his lower nature and habits, old character, behaviour and conduct. One's individual ego, preconceived notions, pet ideas and prejudices, and selfish interests should be given up. All these, stand in the way of carrying out the teachings and instructions of one's Guru. Lay bare to your Guru the secrets of your heart. The more you do so, the greater the Guru's sympathy, which means an accession of strength to you in the struggle against sin and temptation. The aspirant, before he desires the Grace of the Master, should deserve it. The supply of divine Grace comes only when there is a real thirst in the aspirant, and when he is fit to receive it."
Pujya Swamiji's message which was recorded on 8 September 1982, complemented the above message. The organisers chose a very relevant message on the importance of discipline in spiritual life. Pujya Swamiji speaking forcefully, fearlessly and frankly reinforced this basic requirement of spiritual life. Here are a few excepts from this divine message: "In every institution there are basic rules to be followed. You cannot have any compromise on the basic rules. Some to whom I pointed out their faults, readily agreed, but others stood there and contested. Having broken the rule, they stood there and contested. Now those are dangerous elements. When you break a rule and contest it, then you are supporting the wrong force. Self-justification, Sri Aurobindo says, is the worst enemy on the spiritual path.
"Already I see parties being formed, one supporting the wrong action of another. If the people here are not careful, we are going to have two parties after my passing, and they are going to confront each other. Let's hope that such a thing doesn't happen. It happened in many institutions.
"I have to warn these people who are indulging in this controversy always, whenever their faults are pointed out. You must obey the rules, otherwise it is going to bring detriment to yourself and later on you will not hesitate to ruin your own Master's institution. The nett result is that several births will go by to reap the effects of that evil Karma. It is not a small thing to contest and fight. We must be able to look into ourselves. We want to command others. We want to control others. We feel we must do what we think is right because we are not sensitive enough. If you are sensitive enough, then you'll easily find out your inner nature, and the Divine power will guide you and tell you if you are going on the wrong path.
"I am not mentioning any names, but whoever the cap fits, let the person wear it and let the person beware. So, today is not a day of rejoicing but a day in which we should honestly look within ourselves, each and every individual.
"I know also that the devotees here are marvellous in their work. In very few Ashrams in the world, you'll find the amount of work people put in, like they put in here. If you tell them to work seven days in a week, up to twelve o'clock (midnight), they will have the energy to do it, and they'll do it enthusiastically. So, the Grace is there but most of it is being spilled by gossiping, back-biting, scandal mongering, always looking for faults to see how we can pull the other person down; and burning with jealousy."
Our gratitude to Kumari Kemintha for her beautifully executed Bharatanatyam offering.
After the melodious Bhajans & Kirtans in adoration of the Guru, we were privileged to view a DVD entitled, "Wisdom of Sivananda, Volume 1" The subject of the Master's talk was Self-Analysis, in keeping with the spiritual activities on Guru Purnima Day. Some precious thoughts below:
"Daily Self-analysis or self-examination is an indispensable requisite. Then alone can you remove your defects and grow rapidly in spirituality. A gardener watches the young plants very carefully. He removes the weeds daily. He puts a strong fence around. He waters them at the proper time. Then alone can they grow beautifully and yield fruits quickly. Even so, you should find out your defects through daily introspection and self-analysis and then eradicate them through suitable methods. If one method fails, you must adopt a combined effort. If prayer fails, you should take recourse to Satsang or association with the wise, Pranayama, meditation, dietic regulation and enquiry. You should destroy not only big waves of pride, hypocrisy, lust, anger that manifest on the surface of the conscious mind but also the subtle impressions which lurk in the corners of the subconscious mind. Then only are you perfectly safe. These subtle impressions are very dangerous. They lurk like thieves and attack you when you are napping, when you are not vigilant."
Our readers will be pleased to read that Jnana Yagna or the dissemination or spiritual literature occupied a special place in both the hearts of our Divine Master and Pujya Swami Sahajananda. As an offering on this auspicious day of Guru Purnima, we launched a special "Gift A Book to a Child" Project. In commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of Divine Life Society of S.A., which will be celebrated in 2019, this project aims to ensure that more than 100 000 South African primary school children will each be presented with a delightful copy of Divine Life for Junior Children that is printed in-house at our Sivananda Press. This simple book has the power to transform the lives of many children, the future leaders of our country.
The disciple's self-surrender to the Guru and the Guru's Grace are interrelated.
Surrender draws down the Guru's Grace, and the Grace of the Guru makes the surrender complete.
—Sri Swami Sivananda