Lord Shiva tells His consort Parvati: "This Ram-Nam is equal to the Lord's thousand Names, or repetition of the Mantra a thousand times". Lord Shiva says: "The seat of all good things, the destroyer of all impurities of this age of darkness, purer than purity itself, the food for the journey of aspirants on the path to salvation, their only resting place, the very life-breath of virtuous men, is the Divine Name of Sri Rama".
And so, from the birth of the Lord to the birth of a Sannyasin. We see in Lord Rama and Swami Sahajananda, exemplars of spiritual life and human conduct. Our Divine Master, states in the book, Necessity for Sannyasa, "The real Sannyasi is full of divine virtues. He is all-bliss and peace, and he serves vigorously. He works selflessly. He does everything as worship of the Supreme Lord. He greets every piece of work as service of the Lord. He does every work well. And he offers every work as a flower at the Lotus Feet of the Lord. Sannyasa is a mental state, not merely putting on an orange cloth".
Indeed, we were blessed to have had the Darshan and Grace of the moving form of the Lord in Sri Swami Sahajananda. On this auspicious day, let us remember the exemplary lives of both Lord Rama and Swami Sahajananda, who are our eternal prescripts for both inner and world peace.
Devotees would know that the dates 1 June 2024 and 10 July 2025, mark the centenary of two important events in the calendar of Divine Life Society of South Africa: The Sannyas Anniversary of Sri Swami Sivananda, and the Birth Anniversary of Sri Swami Sahajananda, respectively. The Society will be releasing publications as part of its centenary celebrations.
On this day, we offered at the feet of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swamiji, our sixth picture of our Master. This picture will be for the year 2022. Each subsequent year will have a different picture released. When a devotee posed a question to the Master enquiring why the Master takes so many pictures, he responded as follows, "The force behind the system of visual education, which psychologists today acclaim as being infinitely superior to textbooks, will be apparent if you reflect over a very common phenomenon. Leave on your table in the study a few good books, a few pictorials and a few photographs. Let your children, your friends, come into the study. What do they pick up first? Not the books! They pick up the photographs first, and then the pictorials. It is true that your lustre is transferred to the photograph. Therefore, to a devotee a picture of the Lord, and to a disciple, a picture of his Guru, is a living presence. It is necessary for meditation".
Our reading was taken from the book, Great Men & Women on righteousness by Sri Swami Sivananda in which the Master exhorts us to follow the path of righteousness. The Master states, "The noblest lesson in the Ramayana is the supreme importance of righteousness in the life of every human being. Righteousness is the spiritual spark of life. The glorious incarnation of the supreme Truth, Sri Ramachandra, has exemplified through His own life how to follow the path of righteousness. Let mankind follow in His footsteps and practise the ideals cherished by Him, for it is only thus can there be everlasting peace, prosperity and welfare in this world. No one but the righteous can be truly happy. No one but he who has the correct sense of duty and the will for its implementation can be said to live worthily. One must be imbued with a definite conviction about the supremacy of moral principles, ethical values and spiritual ideals, which should guide one's day-to-day actions and serve as powerful means for the culture of the human personality. That is the purpose of life. That is the way to Self-realisation".
In the pre-recorded audio message, Pujya Swamiji once again reiterates the importance of self-transformation in spiritual life. "In my own case, I only see two groups of people. Those who are Bhaktas of God, who are moving towards Him, and those who are Bhaktas of God and are not moving towards Him. So, we don't see (distinction) when the scales are removed, then our whole angle of vision changes. But, if the scales are not removed, then we see distinction. Similarly, if we try, even if we fail, through repeated trials, we can improve the average. You will notice here one thing, that the people who went and complained to Gurudev, he never called the other party and did any settlement. He wants us to change, the complainant, not the other man. Because, however much we try, the other man is not going to change at all. No one can change anyone else. It's we who have to change. And, Sri Aurobindo and all other saints did the same. They never called the other party and said, 'Why are you doing this?' The person who complained, he is the person who has to be taught. And, Yogananda did the same thing. When two (devotees) went to him with a complaint he said, 'Both of you must reform yourselves.' Sri Aurobindo said to a devotee, 'You must change your nature. You must outgrow and strengthen your nerves. And, not be affected by what the others do'. I've learnt one thing from running this Ashram for so many years, that the only person I can change in this world is myself. At least I have some control of myself. I have given up the hope of changing anyone else. I don't think you can. So let us not worry and let's keep this ideal. Whenever you are confronted, remember, that running away is not going to do you any good whatsoever. All have to go through the mill. Running away from people who are troubling you is only going to postpone, because sooner or later, that part of your nature is going to come out, whether you like it or not. And, you've got to fight it out. So, while conditions are good for you, it is better that you do the Sadhana right now and not leave it for a later stage when you might have a serious downfall as many are having."
The recitation of the Ramayana slokas by our Rishikumaris and youth girls was indeed very soothing, melodious and soul-elevating. It was taken from Bala Kand of the Sri Ramacharitamanas. Our Divine Master encourages us to read a small portion of the holy scripture every day. We will be constantly inspired. We will derive valuable guidance in our day-to-day lives, he said.
Our gratitude to Kumari Keranya Naicker, a student of Kumari Manormani for performing a classical dance in worship of Lord Rama to the sacred "Sri Ramachandra Kripalu" Bhajan. The dance was choreographed by Kumari Manormani and beautifully executed by Kumari Keranya. What is admirable about Kumari Manormani is her adherence to the pure art form, spurning any deviations from the classical, thus preserving a rich tradition. We offer our grateful thanks to her for so spontaneously accepting our invitation to grace our function and offer adorations to Lord Rama on His Birthday.
We proffer final words of wisdom from our Divine Master, which was taken from the article on "Righteousness". "The only way you can make tomorrow a better day is to think and do today that what would be conducive to make a better tomorrow. Have an open heart and mind, but accept only that which is good, proper and worthy of remembrance. Do at least one good action everyday; let this be your motto".