In the Book, What Becomes of the Soul After Death, our Master states, "The weeping and uncontrolled grief of relatives gives departed souls pain and drags them down from their astral planes. This may seriously retard them on their way to the heaven world. This produces serious injury to them. While they are sinking peacefully, and when they are ready to have a glorious awakening in heaven, they are aroused into vivid remembrance of the mundane life by the weeping and wailing of their friends and relatives. The latter's thoughts produce similar vibrations in their minds and produce acute pain and discomfort. Therefore, relatives and friends should do Kirtan and prayers for the peace of the departed souls. Then only can they really help and comfort them. Collective prayer and Kirtan exercise a tremendous influence."
At the Official Opening of Sivananda Ghat on 5 June 2005, Pujya Swami Sahajananda prepared the following message, "Besides enabling bereaved families to deposit the ashes of the deceased in the Umgeni River, Sivananda Ghat is a highly educational and spiritual centre. Often only when some calamity or death takes place does one ask questions like: 'Who am I? What is the purpose of life? Where have I come from? Where am I going to? Why am I suffering? How to overcome my suffering?'
"According to Hinduism, in reality we are one with the Eternal Being, and the goal of life is to attain union with the Eternal Being through meditation and prayer. We are all looking for peace and happiness, but the peace and happiness we enjoy in this world is not lasting. To attain everlasting peace and happiness we have to pay the full price, because the bliss we enjoy when in union with God is so marvellous and stupendous that it is indescribable. Therefore, to attain this bliss we have to pay the full price by engaging in arduous meditation and prayer for many years. All the saints had to practise daily meditation for many hours to realise God.
"The inspiring sayings in Sivananda Ghat will definitely make many individuals to begin seeking God. Many are going to change their lifestyle. The sayings will also bring peace and solace to bereaved families. Today, sudden calamities shatter the minds of people. Sivananda Ghat will definitely help such individuals."
Guest of Honour & patron of the Society, Sri Narendra Pattundeen, of long-standing association with Pujya Swami Sahajananda, spoke about the invaluable contribution of Pujya Swamiji and the role that Sivananda Ghat is playing in the community, "Pujya Swamiji, in his life time contributed so many things for the community, but the most useful and valuable was the construction of the Ghat. Apart from the functionality of the facility, he has taught us to respect the ashes which must be disposed of in a very respectable manner.
"The community shall always be grateful for this facility, but equally important is the devotion of the devotees that are always present at the Ghat to perform a very dignified prayer in the process of disposing of the ashes. The silence hall, with appropriate sayings that Swamiji researched during his lifetime lends itself to bringing peace and harmony to the bereaved families.
"When a person dies only his gross body is left but the subtle body i.e. the mind, intellect, ego and all the desires and impressions continue to exist, these are the personality traits that remain with the soul and returns at the right time.
"When you dispose of the ashes at the Ghat, you know it is over. A deep acceptance of death happens for the living – and it is also for the dead. The whole procedure of disposing is done so lovingly by the dedicated devotees, and this adds peace and closure to the bereaved family. Today we see people from all walks of life and all religions using the Ghat to dispose of the ashes."
Death is commonly considered a sad and unpleasant occasion due to our love and attachment to the departed soul. It is important for us to educate our children about the reality of death. We must all learn to accept it with the understanding that "Death is not the end of life. Death becomes the starting point of a new and better life. It merely opens the door to a higher form of life. Death is only a gateway to a fuller life." (Swami Sivananda)
In closing this report, we express our thanks to all donors, well-wishers and patrons for their kind support and assistance. In particular, we thank donors who come regularly to Sivananda Ghat to service the pumps and ensure that there is no blockage at the point where the ashes are deposited in the Umgeni River. The public is loving reminded that the service offered at Sivananda Ghat is free of charge.