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Report: Pujya Swami Sahajananda's 97th Birth Anniversary

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On this most auspicious day of 10 July 2022, we celebrated the 97th Birth Anniversary of one of the foremost Bhaktas and direct disciples of Sri Swami Sivananda, Pujya Swami Sahajananda. Satsangs were held at DLS Ashrams and branches. This report focuses on the online Satsang which began at 5.30pm.

As a young teacher, Sri Srinivasan's soul memory began to stir. He began awakening to his soul mission for this human birth and was drawn to seeking spiritual knowledge. He also began intensifying his spiritual practices. His spiritual journey was catapulted when destiny drew him to a Vedic bookshop in Durban and he was drawn to a book written by Swami Sivananda, whom he had never heard of. This book, Practice of Karma Yoga, teaches the importance of selfless service. Young Srinivasan had the inner realisation that Swami Sivananda was his Guru. When Pujya Swamiji learnt that there was a state of God-realisation, all his academic studies were renounced immediately for a higher life. Swami Sivananda's first injunction was to 'serve'. Thus began the young aspirant's journey to Sannyas and selfless service. It was also a life of spiritual success, rooted in Karma Yoga, and Guru-Bhakti Yoga.

Swami Sahajananda lived to serve ─ not just the poor and disadvantaged in SA, but all those in SA who were an ocean away from their spiritual motherland and who were starved of spiritual guidance and teachings. He lived to propagate the divine path that we as humans were born to lead. Pujya Swamiji worked tirelessly for 8 - 16 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 50 years so that we could all awaken to our spiritual mission as he did, and like him, live a life of divine service and true success. He set an awe-inspiring example for us to emulate.

Pujya Swamiji lived a life of total self-surrender and Guru-Bhakti Yoga. All credit for achievements and undertakings were attributed to beloved Gurudev's Grace. Pujya Swamiji never took any credit for anything. Sri Gurudev worked directly through Pujya Swamiji and Gurudev mentioned this to visitors at Rishikesh. We are indeed blessed to have Satsang in such a great Mahatma's Ashram where his Chit Shakti has been installed due to decades of Sadhana.

Qualities highly extolled by Swamiji were the qualities of obedience and loyalty. Pujya Swamiji told us that obedience is higher than reverence. So, while we all revere and have deep emotions of love and gratitude to Pujya Swamiji, we must remember that he emphasised obedience and loyalty more than anything else. Let us ponder over how we can be obedient and loyal to Swamiji as an offering during this sacred Guru Purnima period and on the occasion of Pujya Swamiji's Birth Anniversary.

In his last birthday message in his mortal frame in 2007, Pujya Swamiji assured us "Even today we experience the mysterious guidance of our Master. If one has faith and devotion to the Master, one can easily note his Grace working".

In the audio message, featured in the programme, Pujya Swamiji speaks about the wonders of Divine Grace, "I can only talk on that aspect where Gurudev has given some little experience, although the experience has not been fully experienced. But it is better to talk on something we have experienced in our lives, rather than reading from books and giving out that type of knowledge. I told you that if I ever write a book, it would be the book on Divine Grace. And, this method, I feel, is the most effective one of realising God, of making progress and going towards Him. There are innumerable approaches, but what Gurudev has revealed to me is that the path of Divine Grace is the safest path. It is the quickest path for those who have courage, who have a great deal of strength and a great deal of trust in God. The path of Divine Grace works very rapidly.

"The other day, I was reading in a magazine where a question was put to Mother Theresa, 'What is the meaning of love?' She gave a very beautiful answer. She said, 'It is very difficult to explain what love is. But it is very easy to practise it'. Similarly, it is very difficult to explain how Divine Grace works and what it is. In my own case, from the very beginning I saw Its action. It is very easy to experience It and see Its power working. So, you will have to try to experience It yourself. Then you will know how It works. In my life and in the work of the Divine Life Society, Gurudev has given a little bit of experience. I did not know anything about initiation. And Gurudev gave it himself. We did not want an Ashram. I was always opposing it and was strongly determined that we should never have an Ashram and yet it came. I didn't want Sannyas. And yet Gurudev gave it. So, all came from God. It came spontaneously. Whatever you see here, is all the work of Divine Grace. The full experience of Divine Grace does not come in a flood. We get it in glimpses so that we can understand and see how God's Will operates. So, when you see it operating and doing things in such a marvellous manner, you cannot but accept that it is Divine Grace that is working. And Divine Grace can do wonderful things ─ a most marvellous power! Sri Aurobindo says

'Will is a great power, sincerity is greater than that but the highest and greatest is the power of Grace'.

"The very first condition is that faith is necessary on the path. The aim of Divine Grace is to take you closer to God."

Our reading for the evening, entitled "Hear from Within" and "Work is Worship" was taken from the book, Sivananda's Gospel of Divine Life. The Master taught, "Service itself is meditation. Work itself will lead to knowledge. When the time comes, one will attain Self-realisation".

Our gratitude to Shri Manesh Maharaj, Artistic Director of Kala Darshan Institute of Classical Music and Dancing for adding splendour to our birthday celebration. The video clip, which we were privileged to see, was video-graphed at the Durban Botanical Gardens. It is entitled "Muralidhara", and portrayed Manesh, the dancer & devotee who yearned for the Darshan of Lord Krishna, played by Hemani Maharaj.

On the same day, our Sandton Branch had the sod turning ceremony for the upcoming Ashram in Buccleuch. The programme included a Havan Ceremony and Satsang, invoking the blessings of our Master and Pujya Swami Sahajananda for success in this undertaking. The function was well-attended, with melodious Bhajans and Kirtans, including a soul-stirring rendition by the Spiritual Darlings of "Om Tat Sat Om". Our sincere gratitude to the Shivoham Dance Academy for their beautiful rendition of two well-choreographed dance items.

On this most auspicious occasion of the 97th Birth Anniversary of our beloved Pujya Swamiji, let us earn his Grace by renewing our efforts to continue his legacy of Karma Yoga and Guru-Bhakti. What better offering to Pujya Swamiji than to celebrate our own spiritual awakening and rebirth! What will you gift our beloved Pujya Swamiji on his 97th Birth Anniversary?

Last modified on Tuesday, 12 July 2022 18:36
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