"The Master allowed Swamiji to select his Sannyas name himself. Reading a publication of the Swami Narayan movement while at the Ashram, Swamiji came across the name ''Sahajananda" and thought that if ever he took Sannyas, he would prefer that name. So, the Master, knowing what had already transpired, allowed him to choose a name himself. Many years later when Swami Venkatesananda was in Durban, at a special ceremony, he performed the Vraja Homa ceremony (formal rites pertaining to the Sannyas Order)".
It was on this day, the 10 April 1956, 65 years ago, that Srinivasan Naidoo became Swami Sahajananda.
"Many have not understood what true renunciation is", says our Master in Bliss Divine. "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".
Whilst we are in the midst of a pandemic, we know that it is Gurudev who directs and decides the events of our lives. Sadly, many may have lost family, friends or colleagues. It is heart-warming to note the courage and strength shown by our Gurudev's devotees during this challenging period. When Gurudev is near, we need not fear. We also take this opportunity to applaud all those devotees and well-wishers who continue to serve in so many different facets of our work and take our Master's mission forward during this pandemic. This pandemic can also be looked upon as a blessing as it gives us the opportunity to reflect and develop dispassion and discrimination and to enquire what is really important in our lives and what is not.
In a pre-recorded audio message delivered ex extempore on 1 June 1981, Pujya Swamiji spoke about true renunciation, "Whatever God has allocated for us, that is going to happen. I've read stories where the people who have run away from the wedding Pandal and become Sannyasins. On the other hand, people who have been living in the forest for many, many years, they left and suddenly got married. We will not ask the why and wherefore. Whatever is your destiny, that will be fulfilled. Destiny is also perhaps a little flexible. Those who are not married want to get married. Those who are married want to get out of it. Isn't that wonderful. That is the play of God. But we needn't worry which life is better. The life of a householder is as good as that of a Sannyasin. Whatever God has destined for you, that is going to happen.
"In my own case, I never cared whether I was a Sannyasin or a householder. I said whatever Gurudev wills, that is going to happen to me. I was busy with Gurudev's work. But Gurudev said in my past birth, I was a Swami. I had an inkling when I was about 9 years old, not that I won't get married, I thought that I will always be free. I didn't know that I will enter the Order of Sannyasa. Perhaps it was some past Samskaras.
"People today want to renounce; they want to join an Ashram and they want to give up everything. But first we have to renounce all that belongs to the world. When we have mastered the world and when we have stayed in the world and conquered ourselves, then to come to an Ashram and lead the path of renunciation becomes quite easy. Most people renounce because they cannot put up with the difficulties in the world; so, they don't make a success in spiritual life either.
"If we are running away from our troubles, then we can be sure that it is not real renunciation. We should do our duty and complete all our worldly duties. Renunciation should be the outcome of dispassion and discrimination and not just running away from our difficulties. The fact is that neither the life of a Sannyasin nor the life of a householder is better. The thing we have to do is to see that we follow the Dharma that pertains to our station in life. If we do that faithfully, that is what our scriptures call Swadharma. It means to do your duty in the best possible manner. It is by discharging our duties satisfactorily that the mind gets purified. Try to do a little bit of Tapas. Try to lead a hard life. A little bit of fasting, a little bit of mortification is quite necessary."
Pujya Swamiji concluded this inspiring message with the following words, "The moment we let go of the Guru's hand, we're in danger. But the saint never lets us go; it is we who wrench ourselves away; he doesn't let us go. Gurudev is taking care of you and knows everything that's going on. We needn't get agitated that we are not getting this and not getting that. Do whatever has to be done. Do your work with all love, and don't worry what you get. That is what you call love, the love that the Gopis had for Lord Krishna."
We reiterate that we in Divine Life Society of South Africa should consider ourselves to be spiritually fortunate to be associated with Pujya Swami Sahajananda. Consequently, our lives have been touched by the Grace of Sri Swami Sahajananda here in South Africa. Our beloved Pujya Swamiji was the greatest saint that walked the South African soil. Indeed, he is the greatest saint that Africa has produced‒a man amongst men and a jewel amongst saints. Pujya Swamiji's contributions are unparalleled in South African spiritual history. The over 600 poverty alleviation projects (schools, creches, old age homes, community halls, etc.) the schools' feeding programmes, free clinics, Satsangs, Yoga Camps, Sunlit Path Programmes, workshops, grocery distribution programmes, inter-faith initiatives, assistance to temples, establishment of sewing schools, the unique Sivananda Ghat and numerous other programmes and initiatives, all stand as beacons and shine like diamonds amongst grains of sand during these troubled times. Pujya Swamiji wanted us to record as many of our songs as possible, this foresight provided us with sufficient material for our online Satsang programmes during the scourge of Coronavirus pandemic, nourishing us during this critical period. Readers will be pleased to note that 144 000 devotees participated in our online Satsangs during the past year and thus increased the spiritual current in the world. Let us remember and celebrate this glorious life of Pujya Swami Sahajananda. Let us re-dedicate ourselves with gratitude; let us reaffirm our loyalty to our beloved Sri Gurudev and Pujya Swamiji and intensify our Sadhana to earn spiritual merit that will result in transformation of our human personality and spiritual illumination in this very birth or perhaps in the births to come.