SRI HANUMAN JAYANTI
At the Sri Hanuman Jayanti Satsang, we focussed on the meaning of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa, taken from the Divine Life Society of S.A. Prayer Book. Whilst addressing Sri Hanuman and extoling His divine qualities, Sri Goswami Tulsidas, the author, at the same time beseeches the Lord for His divine protection and guidance. "The Sri Hanuman Chalisa", says Pujya Swami Sahajananda, "is very powerful and very effective for the removal of all mental problems. It brings good health, success and prosperity. It cures diseases, counteracts evil forces and the effects of 'black magic' which are very prevalent today."
OUR DIVINE MASTER'S BIRTHDATE SATSANG
On the 8th of each month, the Birthdate of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, we observe a special Satsang in honour of the Master as we re-dedicate ourselves to the mission and remind ourselves of his lofty teachings.
In the reading from Guru Bhakti Yoga, the Master exhorted us as follows:
"Maintain a spiritual diary daily. Record correctly your successes and failures and send it to your Guru at the end of each month".
"Life is short and time of death is uncertain. Apply yourself seriously to service of the Guru".
"Let service of the Guru and constant remembrance of him keep away worldly thoughts".
Thereafter, we took up a reading on the quality of "Forbearance" taken from the book, Swami Sivananda In Pictures, which was the last book edited by Pujya Swami Sahajananda in 2007. Clearly, this quality must be arduously practised for an entire life-time, if one wishes to make progress in spiritual life. The Master wrote, "Welcome opportunities of practising this most essential and divine virtue. Know that you, too, may have many weaknesses that need the forbearance of others. So, forgive and forget the weaknesses and the wrongs of those who are weak. Cultivate forbearance till your heart reaps a rich crop of it. Forbearance and forgiveness confer upon one good health, peace of mind and freedom from worries and anxieties. They keep the mind buoyant, optimistic and cheerful".
In light of the global suffering related to the COVID-19 infections, this is an opportune time to intensify our Sadhana, both for our own physical and spiritual well-being as well as for that of our planet and all its inhabitants. This is a fitting moment for us to perform Agnihotra, which is a process of purifying the atmosphere through the agency of fire, which in turn brings about a change in the functioning of Prana (life energy). The Vedas describe Agnihotra as a process of fumigation also. If practiced regularly, it yields great healing power to both the atmosphere as well as to the individual. In Guru Bhakti Yoga, Volume 14, Pujya Swami Sahajananda wrote: The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra must be repeated with the Agnihotra. The Sri Hanuman Chalisa can also be done. The pamphlet on "Agnihotra‒The fires of heaven: How to heal yourself and purify your environment" can be freely downloaded from the DLS SA website.
Devotees worldwide had the rare privilege of listening to the holy voice of our Master as he addressed us on the topic of Japa Yoga, taken from the DVD, "Wisdom of Sivananda, Volume 1". He said, "Japa is the repetition of any Mantra or Name of the Lord. In this Iron Age, Japa is an easy way for God-realisation. Sri Krishna says in the Gita, "Among Yajnas, I am Japa Yajna." Japa must become habitual. It must be done with Sattwic or divine Bhava or feeling, purity, Prema or Shraddha. Every Name is filled with countless Shaktis or potencies. Practice of Japa removes the impurities of the mind just as soap cleanses the cloth of its impurities".
PUJYA SWAMI SAHAJANANDA'S SANNYAS ANNIVERSARY
Pujya Swami Sahajananda's 64th Sannyas Anniversary via online audio-stream was observed on Friday, 10 April 2020. It was on this day in 1956 that the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda initiated Pujya Swamiji into the Holy Order of Sannyas. After the Sannyas Ceremony in 1956, the Master said, "Swami Sahajananda is styled as the spiritual king of South Africa, Durban. He is also called the African Chota Guru. He does not want anything. He is a silent worker. He is a man of renunciation, Vairagya and meditation. He is a very good organizer."
Two thought-provoking messages were selected from the book Bliss Divine on Sannyasa and Service of the Guru. The Master wrote, "Sannyasa is Gerua or colouring of the heart and not of the cloth alone. Sannyasa is a mental state only. He is a veritable Sannyasin who is free from passion and egoism, and who possesses all the Sattwic qualities, even though he lives with the family in the world. Chudala was a queen Yogini-Sannyasini though she ruled a kingdom. That Sannyasin who lives in the forest but who is full of passion, is worse than a householder and a worldly-minded fool. Sikhidhwaja was a worldly man though he lived in the forest naked for many years.
"True renunciation is the renunciation of all passions, desires, egoism and Vasanas. If you have a stainless mind, a mind free from attachment, egoism and passion, you are a Sannyasin, no matter whether you live in a forest or in the bustle of a city, whether you wear white cloth or an orange-coloured robe, whether you shave the head or keep a long tuft of hair.
"Shave the mind. Someone asked Guru Nanak: "O saint, you are a Sannyasin, why have you not shaved your head?" Guru Nanak replied: "My dear friend, I have shaved my mind." In fact, the mind should be cleanly shaved. Shaving it consists in getting rid of all sorts of attachments, passions, egoism, infatuation, lust, greed and anger. External shaving of the head has no meaning so long as there is internal craving.
"Many have not understood what true renunciation is. Renunciation of physical objects is no renunciation at all. True renunciation lies in the abnegation of the mind. It consists in renouncing all desires and egoism, and not merely renouncing the world. Real renunciation consists in the renunciation of egoism. If you can renounce the ego, you have renounced everything else in the world. If the subtle ego is given up, then identification with the body automatically dies".
In the reading entitled "Service of the Guru", the Master stated, "He who serves the Guru serves the whole world. Serve the Guru without selfish ends. Scrutinise your inner motives while doing service to the Guru. Scrutinise your thoughts and inner feelings. Service must be done without expectation of name, fame, power and wealth."
In the pre-recorded audio message, Pujya Swami Sahajananda, speaking ex tempore on 6 September 1987, focussed on the importance of courage. "You will be surprised that in the whole world, I don't think anyone had so much of fear as I had. I had fear of everything under the sun. The day when I took Sannyas, I could suddenly feel that I was courageous. Now when I reflect over it, I feel that Gurudev had showered that Grace upon me. Through spiritual practices you can overcome everything and turn your lives upside down. And, now I realise why Gurudev had given me that Grace, because I will have to talk to you on the same subject. If you try to see God in all names and forms, and surrender to Him, then everything can be overcome. God can do anything He wants, if we surrender to Him. Remember that if you have troubles and if you find that relief is not coming, the answer is not coming, then it means that your surrender is not complete. It is no doubt difficult, but you have to practise it. Again, and again you will have to practise. When the time comes, don't lose the opportunity. An opportunity that is lost, is gone. So, welcome all the problems that we have to face today.
"The message that Gurudev wants us to try and follow‒the message of courage. We have to face our difficulties not try to escape them. If you face the troubles, they will not appear so great and big because infinite strength is locked up in the heart. You don't have to ask anyone, you don't have to run to a psychiatrist, you don't have to run to the doctor, you can get it immediately the moment you want it. But that will not come unless we go on practising. It is not something that will suddenly come, but wonderful things can happen when a problem arises (and you surrender). Let cancer come, let diabetes come, it is only going to harm the body, but if you turn the soul towards God, marvellous things can happen in your life. So, whatever is happening now‒all the calamities that are taking place throughout the world, from the Cosmic point of view, from the Absolute point of view, it is all God's Grace. Because we don't want to turn to Him, He is putting us through suffering and compelling us to turn to Him."
Our next online audio-stream Satang will be broadcasted on Sunday 12 April 2020, commencing at 5.30pm with Ganga Arati.
UPDATED STATISTICS IN RESPECT OF PERSONS WHO TUNED IN TO THE ONLINE SATSANGS ARE:
Ram Naumi: 3182
Sivananda Day Satsang: 2474
Sri Hanuman Chalisa chanting: 1959
Sri Hanuman Jayanti: 1661
Gurudev's birthdate Satsang: 1133
Pujya Swamiji's 64th Sannyas Anniversary (morning session: 442; evening Satsang: 802)
Our deep gratitude to our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji and all those who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this initiative. The DLS singing team must be commended for the melodious and harmonious manner in which they sang. We owe a debt of gratitude to Pujya Swami Sahajananda who initiated and trained our singers in the art of chorus singing. His Shakti is inherent in the Bhajans and Kirtans and had its desired impact. We conclude with the words of one participant, "The Satsang was a sustenance for the soul".