We also paid tribute to our devotees, patrons, donors, well-wishers and inmates, and to all who served tirelessly in the various departments. Our reverential respects to the pioneers of the Society who contributed significantly to the growth and development of the Society, and our gratitude to all the devotees who continue to support and nurture the legacy that Pujya Swamiji has built.
We encouraged all to honour our Master and Pujya Swamiji by intensifying their Sadhana, more especially leading up to the Centenary Celebrations, that is, 100 years of the Master's Sannyas Anniversary in 2024 and Pujya Swamiji's 100th Birth Anniversary in 2025.
The Society continues to build on the rich legacy left by Pujya Swamiji. During the Covid-19 pandemic, by the Grace of our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji, the Society was granted naming rights to three medical facilities we contributed to and that were erected at public hospitals around Durban. These are the Sivananda King Dinuzulu Screening Centre, Sivananda Wentworth Flu and Screening Centre, and Sivananda RK Khan Screening Centre. The Society has also distributed grocery hampers to more than 7 000 needy families via collaboration with Civic bodies, Temples and other Hindu organisations. Our Sivananda Ghat, has been functioning at optimum level and is providing much needed solace and comfort to bereaved families throughout the lockdown. To date, the Society has completed 616 poverty alleviation projects.
We are ever grateful to Pujya Swamiji for the foresight and vision that went into creating Sivananda Ghat. We are also greatly indebted to all who serve at the Ghat. Our "All Souls' Day" Havan and Satsangs have continued throughout the lockdown. We recently commenced with live-streaming of the Havan for the benefit of all. A total of over 33 000 ash disposals and almost 9 000 rituals have been completed at the facility. Sivananda Ghat continues to be a major outlet for our Divine Master's literature.
At this anniversary Satsang, Pujya Swami Sahajananda's pre-recorded audio message was played. It was delivered on 8 June 1976 to a group of boys who stayed at the Ashram as part of the school-building and self-help programme initiated by Pujya Swamiji. In this message, Pujya Swamiji gave the youth an insight into the life and teachings of the great Master and urged them to tread a spiritual path in search of lasting happiness. Here is a summary of this speech:
"A saint is a very holy person, one who according to the Hindu religion, has directly had experience of God, who felt God in the heart, who communed with God, who lived in God. His picture you will see in front of you on the shrine. He has written about 300 books. Those are the books that you will be reading, which we have given to you.
"He used to meditate deeply and study. How to find God, how to find this happiness that everyone is seeking? The only way to get it is to conquer the mind, to calm the mind, to still the mind and to purify the mind. Then we will feel the power of God inside us. The Master used to spend many hours meditating and studying and after about six years of intense meditation, he was able to get the vision of God inside.
"The saints say that if you get the vision of God, it is the most wonderful vision in the universe. Everywhere you will see God's Light blazing. Wherever you turn, in all names and forms, you'll see nothing but God. Your heart will be filled with joy and with love, with bliss. There'll be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more misery at all−it goes away completely. But it requires long and arduous discipline and practice before you can attain that state."
We conclude, reflecting on the guidance of our Pujya Swamiji, and the guiding force of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, who continue to sustain the Society. Although no more in their physical forms, their divine presence is felt in every facet of the Society's activities. Their potent spiritual energy continues to nurture and sustain earnest seekers who yearn for spiritual sustenance and guidance. The rich literary legacy, his awesome Tapas, his indefatigable energy, his compassion and his intense passion to serve mankind, is what Swami Sivananda left behind for us to emulate.