This day also marks the Birth Anniversary of the great Sage Vyasa. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda states, "Sri Vyasa rendered unforgettable service to humanity for all times by editing the four Vedas and writing the eighteen Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. We can repay the deep debt of gratitude we owe him, only by constant study of his works and practise of his teachings." The same can be said of our Divine Master, who gave the truths of our ancient heritage in the most simple and easy to understand manner through hundreds of books written in English. We also pay our obeisance to all the Brahma Vidya Gurus, who have continued to carry the flame of our Glorious Hindu Dharma and guided millions of devotees on the pathway to God by Guru Parampara which is the uninterrupted succession of Gurus.
In Hindu Fasts and Festivals, our Divine Master wrote, "This day of worship of one's preceptor 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. 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."
This glorious Guru Purnima evening would not be complete without paying tribute to each and every dedicated devotee of our Divine Master, all our Donors and well-wishers who contribute and participate in our service activities.
We are pleased to report that by the Grace of Gurudev, all the Society's activities including our Centenary and 70th Anniversary Celebrations are progressing well. The highlight of our 70th Anniversary celebrations will take place at our grand Sivananda Conference on 7 and 8 September 2019 at Sivananda International Cultural Centre. The theme of the conference is "Swami Sivananda's contributions to South Africa and the world".
On this auspicious occasion and in the name of our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji, let us re-dedicate our lives to practising our Gurudev's teachings and serving and promoting his mission.
Our Master's message was taken from the book Bliss Divine, entitled "Surrender and Grace". Herewith, a few excerpts: "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."
The Platinum Anniversary Brochure was released as our Guru Purnima offering to our beloved Master. The brochure highlights the service activities of the Society for the past 70 years. We are grateful to the many devotees who worked tirelessly to compile and edit this book. This Guru Purnima offering will furnish readers with new material that was put together in an innovative and creative manner. The brochure, along with its attractive pictures also contains numerous profound thoughts on spirituality and the importance of the Guru. It pays homage to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, Pujya Swami Sahajananda, Swami Atmananda and also honours the contributions made by the pioneers of the Society. "In the space allocated to expressing our appreciation, we cannot do justice to all the stalwarts of Divine Life Society of S.A. who made tremendous sacrifices, enduring many hardships as they silently and sincerely promoted the Mission of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda here in South Africa. On this auspicious 70th Anniversary of the Society, we offer our deep gratitude to them for the supportive role they have all played in the growth of the Society. They have done their share, now it is up to us to walk in their noble footsteps". Along with the historic and contemporary photographs, most readers will welcome the beautiful pictures of our Divine Master, many of which haven't featured before in our Society's publications.
In the audio message, Pujya Swamiji spent time on the importance of developing a concentrated mind to accomplish success in spiritual life. He said, "We can never say what the saints give us. We might think we are empty-handed but what is wanted is not these marvellous experiences of seeing visions and lights and hearing things and getting emotional. What is wanted is the inner power, the strength, the power to do our Sadhana properly. Everything must be done thoroughly and not in a slipshod manner if we want to realise God. So today, we don't seem to have that strength. We do things in a haphazard manner. Even to clean a table or a room, it is virtually impossible to teach anyone because the mind is not concentrated." Pujya Swamiji stated that this is the "basic reason why there is lack of spiritual progress". He urged us not to imitate anyone in our Sadhana. Be natural and simple, he said.
Devotees of our Verulam branch presented a beautifully choreographed dance as an offering to the Guru and in praise of Ganga Mata.
We in Divine Life Society of South Africa are extremely blessed that our Divine Master has given us Guru-Bhakti Yoga as the Yoga for us to follow. Pujya Swami Sahajananda was a perfect example of how Guru Bhakti should be practiced and proved throughout his life the efficacy of faith, devotion, surrender and loyalty to Gurudev. Gurudev says, "A true disciple is one who serves his Guru till the end of his life. If the disciple survives after the Guru gives up his mortal coil, he should lead the remaining portion of his life strictly in accordance with his Guru's instructions and live to preach them to others by practising them himself. The best form of worship of the Guru is to follow his teachings, to shine as the very embodiment of his teachings, and to propagate his glory and message."