Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

Established in 1949 by Sri Swami Sivananda

Report: 74th Anniversary Satsang

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Divine Life Society of South Africa celebrates its anniversary on three days. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, sent three letters to Sri V Srinivasan (later Sri Swami Sahajananda) to start a branch in this country. The first letter was sent on 18 October 1949, the second on 11 November 1949, and the third on 5 June 1951. Hence, the 74th Anniversary of Divine Life Society of South Africa was celebrated on Saturday 11 November 2023 at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. The programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, an audio message by Pujya Swami Sahajananda, Spiritual Head of the Society, and the reading of three letters written to Pujya Swamiji by Sri Swami Sivananda, urging him to open a Branch of the Society in South Africa (including the letter dated 11 November 1949).

The Divine Master's letters contained direct instructions to Pujya Swami Sahajananda. These letters were meticulously preserved by Pujya Swamiji and have now been published by Divine Life Society of South Africa in a series entitled Priceless Jewels. One of the three letters read at the Satsang, from Priceless Jewels Volume 1, is reproduced below, and bears Sri Gurudev's instruction to Pujya Swamiji to open a branch of Divine Life Society in South Africa.

"11th November, 1949
Sri V. Srinivasan,
DURBAN

Beloved Atman.

Salutations and adorations. Om Namo Narayana.

Thy kind letter of 13 October.

Lust and pride are the root of all human ills. They are the enemies of peace and are the parents of all the host of evils. Get up in the morning and meditate on the havoc that these 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.
May God bless you!

Thy Own Self,
Sivananda

Handwritten

Kindly open the branch of Divine Life Society at once.
Do some silent work.

Sivananda"

Pujya Swamiji's audio message resonated with the themes of renunciation, dispassion and surrender to the Divine. He said, "...when the Divine Call comes, it will be consistent...reason won't play a very important part, because you will be thoroughly convinced". Pujya Swamiji explained that the mind will place obstacles on one's path, but one has to transcend such obstacles. One has to be decisive on the spiritual path. This is evident in, "...on the spiritual path, if you don't take a plunge, if you don't take a dive, and if you are not brave, very little can be achieved. You got to take the plunge – it's do or die. But how many of us can take that step – do or die? So, when intuition comes, you will know exactly what is to be done, and how it is to be done, and everything will be cleared, and Divine Grace will come and clear, and God will clear everything for you on that particular path". Pujya Swamiji gave us an insight into his own renunciation, which was instant, unconditional, complete, and, as he says, "lock-stock-and barrel". He gave up his studies, sport and other similar activities when he renounced. He said, "when dispassion comes in the mind, wonderful things can happen". He explained that one should renounce when one is able-bodied and has the ability to do Sadhana, rather than when one is old and incapacitated. In Pujya Swamiji's case, he says that Sri Gurudev had total control over his life, and that his spiritual aspirations were "willed by Gurudev".

Divine Life Society of South Africa will celebrate its 75th Anniversary in 2024. The tenacity, resilience, unconditional Guru Bhakti of Pujya Swami Sahajananda, his iron courage and will, his sheer determination to spread the Master's teachings in South Africa, and his vision and foresight, are the pillars of the Mission in this country – the bedrock of which is Sri Swami Sivananda.

It is therefore no wonder, that glowing accolades and tributes have been paid to Pujya Swami Sahajananda and Divine Life Society of South Africa. Professor Dasarath Chetty, Head of the Department of Public Affairs and Corporate Communications at the University of KwaZulu-Natal paid high tribute to Swami Sahajananda in 2008. He said, "Sri Swami Sahajanandaji Maharaj was a rare and unique individual whose selfless work in the cause of social and spiritual upliftment is of historic significance. I had the honour of meeting Swami Sahajananda last year and was struck by his saintliness and humility. It was indeed a humbling experience that I will always cherish. Swami Sahajananda has left a legacy of compassion, humbleness and selflessness that is the historical preserve of very few. The University of KwaZulu-Natal pays tribute to his memory as a man who inspired our country".
On learning of Pujya Swamiji's Mahasamadhi (passing away) on 10 December 2007, former State President of South Africa, President Thabo Mbeki said, 'The Divine Life Society has stood out as one of the beacons of this country. Swami Sahajananda has dedicated his life to serve the poorest of the poor in our country".

May we all aspire to continue Pujya Swamiji's legacies in South Africa and beyond.

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Gurudev Centenary 2023

Sri Swami Sivananda

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