Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

Established in 1949 by Sri Swami Sivananda

Report: Centenary Celebrations' Satsang - Kharwastan Branch

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Divine Life Society of South Africa hosted its 8th major celebration this year, as part of its Centenary Celebrations in 2024 and 2025. Approximately 550 devotees, well-wishers, donors and members of the public attended the Society’s Centenary Celebrations hosted by our Kharwastan Branch on Sunday, 30 June 2024 at the Kharwastan Temple Hall. The day’s programme comprised a Havan at 8am, Ganga Arati at 9.30am and Satsang from 10am until 12.15pm. Coincidentally, the Branch also celebrated its 70th Anniversary since its inception.

The soulful chants of Vedic Mantras during the Havan created a deeply spiritual ambience, befitting such a sacred occasion. Our senior Rishikumars participated in the Havan, which was conducted by three of the Ashram’s Pundits. Ganga Arati, a unique and novel experience for many in Kharwastan, brought the glory of Mother Ganga to this part of South Africa – perhaps for the first time! 

The Satsang programme comprised a Ramayana Recital, Kirtans, Bhajans, a message from the Society, two dance items, children’s, youth and adult items based on Sri Swami Sivananda’s teachings, and two short plays.

The message from the Society outlined the reasons for the Centenary Celebrations, namely, the 100th Anniversary of Sri Swami Sivananda’s Sannyas on 1st June 2024. His Holiness Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati was ordained as a monk and a Sannyasin on 1 June 1924. His spiritual aura spread across India and the world. The 75th Anniversary of the Society, which was established in 1949, is also celebrated. The South African chapter of Divine Life Society of South Africa was formed by Sri Swami Sivananda with Swami Sahajananda as the Secretary. Pujya Swami Sahajananda led the Society to glorious heights, making Divine Life Society of South Africa a major Hindu organisation in South Africa, with 8 Ashrams and 18 Branches and Prayer Groups in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Western Cape. We also celebrate Pujya Swami Sahajananda’s 100th Birth Anniversary in 2025. This trilogy of events marks the Society’s Centenary Celebrations.

The message further highlighted the greatness and contributions of Sri Swami Sivananda, evident in the following, “Sri Swami Sivananda is an enlightened sage and Jagat Guru, revered amongst the great modern saints in Hinduism. The most salient feature of his life is that he authored in excess of 250 books on all aspects of Hinduism, bringing the teachings of the Vedas and Upanishads to the world in the English medium, so that even a child could read and imbibe them”. 

The message also focused on the importance of Satsang and prayer. “We encourage all to take advantage of weekly Satsangs at this Branch, and encourage all parents and grandparents to send their children to Sunday Schools and Satsangs at temples and Ashrams in their vicinity so that children may be equipped to face the challenges of life. It is up to each and every one of us to ensure that Hinduism is kept alive, and that we have our glorious Hindu Dharma to pass onto the next generation. We note that there is a positive regeneration of Hinduism around the globe and we encourage all to become practising Hindus, even if you just repeat the Divine Name daily for a few minutes every morning and evening. It can’t get any simpler! In the midst of the very hectic lives that we lead, we encourage all to choose any one Mantra that one may have an affinity for, and to chant it day and night. A short Mantra like Om Sri Ram or Om Namah Shivaya may be repeated. Children can be taught this Mantra as well. It should be chanted before going to bed, on awakening, and especially when leaving home. We also encourage you to learn and recite the Sri Hanuman Chalisa which has tremendous power and benefits”.