Speaking ex tempore, Pujya Swamiji continued, "There are many who say today that Gurus are not necessary. You can realise God without a Guru. Let them prattle. Only direct experience will tell whether you need a Guru or not. Not any amount of talks or writings or logic will convince you whether you need a Guru or not. If you use a simple logic and just look around: the mother plays the part of the Guru, the manager in the firm plays the part of the Guru, the teacher plays the part of a Guru. So why deny this relationship in the spiritual path? It's just common logic.
"Today we are paying homage to Gurudev and all the great saints and try to remember them and re-dedicating ourselves. "Pujya Swamiji quotes the verses written by Sri Shankaracharya who states that you might be a great Yogi with all sorts of psychic powers, but what is the use of all that if you don't have love for the lotus feet of your Guru; the whole world might be worshipping you; you might be famous in the East and the West, but of what use is all that if you have no love for the lotus feet of your Guru. You might be a master of all scriptures, you might be a genius in lecturing, etc., etc. but what is the use if you don't have love for the lotus feet of your Guru.
Pujya Swamiji continues, "There is no doubt that the Guru is a tremendous Being. A God-realised sage, if he wants, he can give salvation to the whole world. He has all the powers of God. He has become Brahmin. His majesty is really beyond description. We can never understand a true Guru.
"If we get in tune with the Guru then all that he has attained, all that he has gained, we will get. Whatever we are enjoying today, is due to the Tapas of our Master."
A beautiful addition to this programme is to see our Master doing exercises and Yoga Asanas with the well selected Bhajan "Guru-Guru" in the background. Even in his advanced age he could do difficult postures. It is an excellent example to younger devotees. Our Master wrote the following, "Life today is full of stress and strain, of tension and nervous irritability, of passion and hurry. If man puts into practice a few of the elementary principles of Yoga, he would be far better equipped to cope with his complex existence".
We were also privileged to hear the sacred voice of the Master, paying tribute to Pujya Swami Sahajananda on 10 April 1956. We reproduce excerpts from this historic talk, on the day when Pujya Swamiji was initiated into the Holy Order of Sannyas: "He talks little. You have never seen him talking. He thinks much and does much. Such a great spiritual Yogi is he. When a man becomes God, any number of titles are not enough. His devotion to teacher is unique. He has a pure heart. Such a Yogi is now going from here and he will thrill the whole of Africa, and again he will come. He has the spirit of renunciation".
As Ganga Mata was close to the heart of the Master and Pujya Swamiji, the compilers of this cultural programme included scenes of the breath-taking and serene Ganga flowing in all Her majesty. The Master described Ganga Mata as "the giver of life, light and love". There are any number of verses in the Skanda Purana and other scriptures glorifying Mother Ganga. Many would know that as part of his Tapas, the Master stood waist deep in the icy cold Ganga for many hours until sunrise. Till his last days, he had a glimpse of Ganga from his room next to the river.
It is also fitting in this programme to provide viewers with some background knowledge of the life of Sri Swami Sahajananda and, through the Grace of the Master, how he was instrumental in the growth and development of the Society, how he set about building various projects as an offering to the Master to alleviate the poverty-stricken conditions of the disadvantaged communities in this country and how he went about building the various Ashrams with special focus on the Sivananda International Cultural Centre in La Mercy. The role of the Sivananda Ghat, which is a post cremation facility for the dignified disposal of ashes and the efforts of the Sunlit Path Centre to help eradicate drug addiction and other social ills amongst children and youth also featured in this programme, initiated by Pujya Swamiji.
Dissemination of spiritual literature, the work in the Sivananda Printing Press and the high-quality work it turns out was also given place in this programme. The primary objective of Divine Life Society of South Africa is to spread the teachings of the Master to all parts of the globe. Thousands of books were donated to the various schools in the country. Enlightened Education, How to Get Peace of Mind and Divine Life for Junior Children (translated in IsiZulu and Sesotho) were donated in large quantities. About the dissemination of spiritual literature Pujya Swami Sahajananda said that "it is the highest service that one can render".
Comments from viewers on the Cultural Programme (1269 views)
1. Yesterday's cultural programme was a feast. Congratulations to the team.
2. The online Satsang was most inspiring and well-organised. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the sessions and it felt like we were part of a live Satsang. Many thanks to all for compiling and broadcasting all the Satsangs.
3. Thank you for a beautiful Cultural Programme. It portrayed in great detail, the work of DLS in South Africa with the love and devotion that Pujya Swamiji had for Sri Gurudev. My thanks and gratitude go to all who put this together. It was an emotional journey.
4. Thank you very much for giving us such a beautiful morning program. Thank you also to the Board of Management.
5. The Guru Purnima Cultural programme was a very moving experience. It brought back memories of the early days, as we fondly recall our association with beloved Pujya Swamiji. I feel that, after editing, this programme should be captured on DVD and made available to all. It is really a souvenir Guru Purnima DVD.
6. I shed a few tears. Too emotional. Well done to the team.
7. Rombo First Class! A deeply inspiring and moving program with a lot of Shakti.
8. Thank you to all for the exemplary cultural programme. So inspiringly beautiful.
9. An excellent compilation of the Master and Pujya Swamiji.
10. This programme is stunning. Thank you so much. It's beautiful.
The third and fourth parts of our Programme commenced with Satsang at 10am, preceded by Ganga Arati, and at 5.30pm with Ganga Arati & Satsang respectively. At 10am there were 1286 views and in the evening 433 devotees participated.
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."
Today, we pay homage to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, who gave the truths of our ancient heritage in the most simple and easy to understand books written in English, and for his lofty teachings, moral and spiritual education. We pay tribute to Pujya Swami Sahajananda for his bountiful contributions to South Africa, the world and his unlimited compassion towards all of us. We also pay our obeisance to all the Brahma Vidya Gurus, who have continued the flame of our glorious Hindu Dharma and guided millions of devotees on the pathway to God by the Guru Parampara lineage, which is the uninterrupted succession of Gurus.
As the world faces the onslaught of Covid 19, other risks, uncertainties and calamities, we in Divine Life Society of South Africa offer our deep gratitude to beloved Gurudev and Pujya Swamiji for their magnanimous gifts bestowed upon all devotees and for their protection in times of danger. We also offer our gratitude to all devotees, inmates, donors and patrons of the Society who support the various service activities of the Society. Whilst all of us long for Dharshan at our Ashrams, it is the first time that we are forced to celebrate a major auspicious occasion such as our sacred Guru Purnima, under lock down conditions.
Pujya Swamiji had stated many times that we should try and make contact with Sri Gurudev within. We are heartened by the fact that many devotees have embarked on regular and extended Sadhana periods from the start of the lockdown. We feel that this is exactly what Pujya Swamiji would have expected of us under these conditions. During this pandemic, we are ever reminded to call upon Sri Gurudev and try our best to surrender to our Divine Master within.
We pray that during this most auspicious Guru Purnima period, by the Grace of Sri Gurudev, the faith and self-surrender of all devotees will grow from strength to strength. May we be proud ambassadors of Guru Bhakti, faith, hope and positivity to those around us.
In the message from our Divine Master, we heard about the importance of surrender and Grace taken from the chapter entitled "Disciple" from the book Bliss Divine. The Master said, "If you want to drink water from the tap you 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 have to be an embodiment of humility and meekness. The lower nature must be thoroughly regenerated. One's individual ego, preconceived notions, pet ideas, selfish interests and prejudices should be given up. All this stand in the way of carrying out the teachings and instructions of one's Guru".
In the pre-recorded audio message, as many did not meet with the Master personally, Pujya Swami Sahajananda said he would "take us on an adventure" of the day-to-day anecdotes of Sri Swami Sivananda and many of the great Rishis of the world. Compassion was the fundamental nature of the Master. Pujya Swamiji said, "Gurudev ran out with his plate of food when he heard the cry of a beggar. Gurudev writes in his books, 'If you see a hungry man, will you give him a cup of milk?' He had actually done everything. That is why there is such a great power in what he has written. So, this desire to serve was born in him. In a poem Gurudev wrote,
I am a born conqueror
I am a born Siddha
I am a born sage.
Very seldom that he gives himself away like that and tells us something about himself. A Siddha means that when you realised God you are completely free. You can be either reborn or you can merge in God. Those who are reborn are Siddhas, that means they already had the experience in the past birth. So, in response to the disciples' devotion, they are reborn."
In describing the various stages and the experiences in the spiritual life of many sages in our modern times, Pujya Swamiji showed a very clear understanding, knowledge and experience of what takes place, "Even when you have experience in Samadhi, that is, when you get a glimpse of God, it takes many many years to make it continuous. First, we get a glimpse of God. Then we get into the state of Samadhi where the mind is continually merged in God and you forget everything externally. You don't see outside. You are only merged in Satchidananda Brahmin. But you have to come to the waking state and enjoy that realisation in your waking state. That means it must become Sahaja Avastha Nirvikalpa Samadhi. A natural state of enjoying the bliss of God in the waking state. And that takes time!
ANNOUNCEMENTS: GURU PURNIMA AND SIVANANDA DAY SATSANG: 05 JULY 2020.
1. On behalf of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda, we thank all renunciants, devotees, donors, well-wishers and patrons for their tireless support and contributions towards the Society's work.
2. To date, the Society has completed 592 projects. New projects have again commenced in accordance with the present regulations.
3. In view of the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, the status quo in respect of our online Satsangs remains. We invite devotees and the public to join the following online Home Satsangs via the links on our website:
- Tuesdays: Ganga Arati at 5.30pm followed by Ramayan Satsang
- Thursdays: Ganga Arati at 5.30pm followed by Sri Hanuman Chalisa recital
- Sundays: Ganga Arati at 5.30pm followed by Satsang.
Wednesday 8 July 2020: Sri Gurudev's birthdate Satsang. Online Ganga Arati is at 5.30pm followed by Satsang.
Friday 10 July 2020: Pujya Swami Sahajananda's 95th Birth Anniversary Satsang. There will be a morning online Sadhana session from 6 to 6.25am. The evening online Ganga Arati is at 5.30pm followed by Satsang. There will be chanting from 4am to 4pm. Devotees are encouraged to participate in chanting during the day.
Tuesday 14th July 2020: Sri Gurudev's 57th Mahasamadhi Day Satsang. There will be a morning online Sadhana session from 6 to 6.25am. The evening online Ganga Arati is at 5.30pm followed by Satsang. There will be chanting from 4am to 4pm. Devotees are encouraged to participate in chanting during the day.
Daily online Satsangs from 8 to 14 July 2020. Ganga Arati is at 5.30pm followed by Satsang. Devotees are encouraged to participate in the daily Satsangs during this special Anusthan period (which is a systematic performance of religious practices undertaken usually for some definite period), which providesa powerful opportunity for spiritual progress.
4. We encourage all to participate in the following Sadhana programmes at home daily, for the protection and welfare of all:
- Chanting of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra.
- Recital of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa.
- Daily Agnihotra and home Satsang.
- Likhit Japa and Meditation
5. Our Coronavirus pandemic humanitarian initiatives include:
- Distribution of 3750 grocery hampers by the auspicious 57th Mahasamadhi Anniversary of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. These hampers are distributed to indigent families via our branches, welfare organisations, temples and Hindu organisations.
- Donations to 10 recognized institutions doing relief work during the pandemic.
- Two hospital projects: The establishment of the "Sivananda Wentworth Hospital Flu Clinic", a dedicated flu and upper respiratory tract infection clinic to reduce transmission of covid-19 within the hospital. And, the already established Sivananda King Dinuzulu Hospital Screening Centre.
Devotees are welcome to contribute towards our coronavirus pandemic relief programmes and other initiatives via EFT or by contacting our fundraisers.
6. Devotees and visitors are respectfully requested to obey the lockdown rules in place, and are informed that no one is allowed entry into our Ashrams and branches during the lockdown period, except if authorised by the Board of Management. As the lockdown rules are relaxed by government, the responsibility lies with each of us to prevent and reduce the risks of infection. We remind all devotees to follow the rules for lockdown and to take extra care of the elderly and the very young, and to keep safe.
7. We offer special prayers for all those who are ill, the departed, our frontline workers and for world peace.
Prayer works wonders and moves mountains. Even when the Medical Board pronounces a case to be hopeless, prayer comes to the rescue and the patient is miraculously cured. Prayer is an infallible remedy in all situations. Many a time I have experience its marvellous potency. ‒Sri Swami Sivananda