On this occasion, the Society acknowledges devotees, patrons, donors, well-wishers and renunciants, and all who served tirelessly in the various departments. Our reverence for 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 deserve special mention.
We encourage all to honour our Master and Pujya Swamiji by intensifying their Sadhana, using the Centenary Celebrations (100 years of the Master's Sannyas Anniversary in 2024, and Pujya Swamiji's 100th Birth Anniversary in 2025) as their inspiration.
At the Satsang, we read out three letters from the book, Priceless Jewels. They contain letters written by our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, to our Pujya Swami Sahajananda during the period 1948 – 1963. This invaluable collection contains direct instructions to Pujya Swamiji on topics ranging from the administration of the Ashram to detailed guidance on his spiritual instructions. These letters are priceless to sincere seekers, providing inspiring glimpses into the Master's Divine personality and the deep spiritual bond between Guru and disciple.
In the letter dated, 11 November 1949, the Master wrote, "Lust and pride are the root of all human ills. They are the enemies of peace and are the parents of a host of evils. Get up in the morning and meditate on the havoc that these two bring about in man's life. These two alone cause man's subjections to the wheel of Samsara. If you bring yourself up to feeling that they drain out your vitality ─physical and mental─ and that for your own good, you should eradicate them, then conquest of these two foes will be an easy affair. Resort to His Lotus Feet. He will help you". Certainly, an instruction for all seekers!
Again, the letter dated, 2 December 1958, is also relevant to devotees. This is what the Master wrote to Pujya Swamiji, "You should not neglect your health. Evidently you have overstrained yourself. Overwork has depleted your energy. Take proper medicine and nourishing diet. Take abundant rest. This is very, very important.
"Yoga is a way of life. It starts with ethical discipline and ends in Samadhi".
On 26 March, 1960 the Master stated, "For a sincere worker, name and fame will come by itself. It cannot be avoided. But, do not mind it. Treat it as straw. Be humble and always serve. This will not affect you".
In the pre-recorded audio message, Pujya Swamiji exhorted us to have no fear about the future as the Master is always at our side. He cited his own experiences in India. He said, "After we had started the Ashram and built it, I went to Rishikesh after Gurudev's Mahasamadhi, I think it was in October ─ with the express desire not to come back. I wanted to walk along the Ganges River and spend my time in solitary meditation. But I spent one month only at Rishikesh, and every day I was depressed. Depression is something unknown to me. I was feeling extremely depressed and I didn't know how to shake it off. I could feel something telling me, 'Go back, go back!' It lasted for about 30 days. And I got so tired, so I went to Gurudev's bed. I used to go to his room every day. I put my head on Gurudev's bed and said 'Alright, since you want me to go back, I will go back.' And immediately the depression went away.
"So, no one can resist his will. What Gurudev wants to do he is going to do. So, if he has placed you in this country here, and if he has placed you in a certain situation, then you'll have to go through it. But he also gives you the strength and energy.
"So that is why I have no fear at all what is going to happen tomorrow. People are all living in a state of fear but I don't think we in the Divine Life Society and are disciples of Gurudev should live in a state of fear or insecurity, because we have God by our side and we have our Master by our side and we can turn to him whenever we want to. That is the job of the Master. If we surrender to him, it is his duty to protect us, otherwise, there is no purpose in having a Guru. If the Guru cannot do something unusual, then he is no Guru at all. It is because the Guru is a superhuman being, that is why we have that devotion to him. And as I said, a million lives would not be enough to dedicate to such a saint. So, with that wealth and treasure in your hands, you must make the best use of it."
On this anniversary day, we must reflect on the guidance of our Pujya Swamiji, and the guiding force of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. Although no more in their physical forms, their divine presence is felt in every facet of the Society's activities. Their spiritual energy continues to nurture and sustain earnest seekers who yearn for spiritual sustenance and guidance.
It must be reiterated, wrote Pujya Swami Sahajananda, that the growth and development of the Society is due entirely to the Grace of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. We are deeply indebted to our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji for their much-needed guidance these past 73 years.
We conclude with the words from our Divine Master. In his handwritten letters to Pujya Swamiji, the Divine Master gave this assurance about the work of Divine Life Society of South Africa:
God will look after the divine work.
Lord will look after everything.