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Report: Centenary Celebrations' Satsang - Estcourt Branch

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DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY OF SOUTH AFRICA'S CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS HOSTED BY ESTCOURT BRANCH AT THE SWAMI SAHAJANANDA COMMUNITY CENTRE, FORDERVILLE, ESTCOURT ON SUNDAY 25 FEBRUARY 2024

Divine Life Society of South Africa, Estcourt Branch, hosted the Society's Centenary Celebrations at the Swami Sahajananda Community Centre on Sunday 25 February 2024. The Celebration was attended by approximately 400 devotees, well-wishers, members of the public, officials of other Hindu organisations, donors, educators and learners of Drakensberg Secondary School, and non-governmental organisations supported by the Estcourt Branch in the Society's poverty alleviation programmes.

EST 2024In celebrating Sri Swami Sivananda's 100 th Sannyas Anniversary and the 75th Anniversary of Divine Life Society of South Africa, Estcourt Branch gave credence to the lofty and sublime teachings and contributions of Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda. The celebration was more significant, because Estcourt is the birthplace and home of Pujya Swami Sahajananda.

The Estcourt Celebrations began with a Havan, after which devotees were treated to a sumptuous breakfast. A most beautiful Ganga Rani was erected in the hall, where Ganga Arati was conducted after breakfast. The colourful and attractive Ganga Rani, with the soothing sound of the water fountain, added to the ambience of the occasion. For some of the visitors, Ganga Arati was a first-time experience. The manner in which all reverentially took Darshan of Ganga Mata, was indeed a sight of great devotion.

The Satsang Programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, the Song of Salutations, a keynote address, the Master's salient teachings encapsulated in the item, Take a Packet of Grace Home Today, a children's item, Gurudev Says, a most beautiful group dance by the Spiritual Darlings of the Branch, an address by a learner of Drakensberg Secondary School, and a soulful Ramayana Recital.

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The exceptionally high standard of items is indicative of the intense practice, attention to detail, as well as the professionalism in all aspects of planning and execution of the programme. The involvement of youth was conspicuous. Their beautifully, well-executed dance dedicated to Lord Rama, the profound messages of Sri Swami Sivananda in the item, Sri Gurudev Says, the salient teachings of the Master in the item, Take a Packet of Grace Home Today, and their rendition of the Song of Salutations, wherein they played the musical instruments themselves and led the singing, are highly commendable and laudable. In addition to our book stall, the Sunlit Path Schools' Committee had a Sunlit Path Stall which distributed free literature on depression, suicidal tendencies, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking and gambling, and offered advice to some youth and parents on how to manage these social ills. A learner of Drakensberg Secondary School paid tribute to Divine Life Society of South Africa for constructing the Sivananda Drakensberg School Hall, a prestigious centre which was officially opened on 10 April 2022. Pujya Swamiji was a learner and teacher at this school, and initiated the hall construction prior to his Mahasamadhi in December 2007. 

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Excerpts from the keynote address gave an insight into the Master's unique spiritual dynamism, burning desire to serve unconditionally, and his contributions and impact on Hinduism and in South Africa per se. The unique spiritual personality that is Sri Swami Sivananda ignited the world through his initiation into the holy order of Sannyas on 1 June 1924, thereby transforming the lives of millions across the world. Sri N. Ananthanarayanan aptly captures the Master's contributions in his book, From Man to Godman. He wrote, "The versatile genius of the Master was burning with pure passion to spread the message of our ancient Hindu Dharma, to sow seeds of peace, harmony and goodwill. His prolific pen captured the essence of all scriptures. He devoted his time to promoting Hinduism, unravelling the mysteries of the mind, and dealt exhaustively on the various Yogas and health and diet." Former President of India, the late Dr Abdul Kalam says "I have read Sivananda's books and they have influenced my attitude to a great extent, especially, his book Thought Power. I am a fan of Sivananda's simple, and uncomplicated style of writing".

EST 2The profound contributions of Sri Swami Sahajananda to the spiritual, educational and socio-cultural South African milieu were also highlighted in the keynote address. This year also marks the 75th Anniversary of Divine Life Society of South Africa, of which Swami Sahajananda is Spiritual Head. The story of Divine Life Society of South Africa is inextricably bound to the life of Sri Swami Sahajananda, affectionately known as Pujya Swamiji, who breathed life into every facet of the Society's work in the 58 years during which he was Spiritual Head. Under his leadership, he expanded the organisation to 7 Ashrams and 18 Branches/Prayer Groups countrywide. Focusing on one of his unique contributions, the keynote address recounted as follows, "In Glory of Guru's Grace, we find the following fitting concluding remarks which appeared in Wisdom Light, 1988 by Divine Life Society, Rishikesh. After paying tribute to DLS of SA for its extensive service activities in South Africa, the article went on to add the following, "In this context it may be appropriately mentioned too, that Swami Sahajanandaji's interest in Jnana Yajna is not of recent vintage. It goes back to Gurudev's time. It has been his mission, one might say, even an obsession, to propagate the teachings of the Divine Master through print. The Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy Press where this magazine, as well as numerous publications of Gurudev, Swami Chidanandaji, Swami Krishnandaji, etc. are all printed, itself owes a never-repayable debt of gratitude to Swami Sahajananda's munificence. But for him, this press would have been hobbling along with some antediluvian machinery. Is there any wonder then that he was conferred the title of "Chota Guru" by Sri Gurudev himself? Apart from this, over 30 titles of books by Gurudev, published in our press and others in India, were financed by Divine Life Society of South Africa, Durban, under the aegis of Swami Sahajanandaji Maharaj. Such is his ardour for Jnana Yajna"!

We congratulate our Estcourt Branch on a befitting offering to our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji through an inspiring and excellent Centenary Celebrations' Programme. The high standard in all aspects of the programme augur well for the Branch and its activities.

May our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda bless all with peace, protection and spiritual growth. 

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Last modified on Monday, 18 March 2024 06:00
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