Sivananda Ghat is a post-cremation public facility situated in Durban alongside the Umgeni River, and is fulfilling its primary function of providing a safe and dignified facility for the disposal of the cremated ash of all race groups since 2005. The monthly All Souls' Day Satsang and Havan is held at Sivananda Ghat on the 1st day of each month. Since inception of Sivananda Ghat in June 2005, a Special All Souls' Day Satsang and Mahayajna is held on 1 May of each year. However, during the lockdown, the Special All Souls' Day Satsang and Mahayajna was suspended for three years – the last such function being held in 2019. Against this background, the All Souls' Day Special Satsang and Mahayajna held on Monday 1 May 2023 at Sivananda Ghat was a welcome opportunity for those who lost loved and dear ones during the lockdown through the Covid-19 pandemic, to find some degree of closure. Approximately 500 persons attended this function.
The programme on 1 May 2023 commenced with Ganga Arati at 2pm, followed by Satsang. The Satsang programme comprised of Kirtans, Bhajans, messages by our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda, chanting of the Om Namah Sivaya Mantra, and an address by the guest-of-honour, Mr Thegraj Kassie, an official of the Clare Estate Umgeni Hindu Crematorium.
In the article, Ganga, Sri Swami Sivananda says, "The Ganga is the most sacred river of India. The origin of the Ganga is ascribed to celestial glory. Lord Krishna says in the Gita: 'I am the Ganga among rivers'".
The Master continues in the aforementioned article, "For a Hindu, the word Ganga has its own sacred association. Every Hindu thirsts for a dip in the Ganga, and for a drop of its water at the time of his death. Aspirants and mendicants build their huts on the banks of the Ganga for practising penance and meditation. Bhishma spoke very highly of the glory of the Ganga in his parting instructions to the Pandavas from his bed of arrows.
"In the Satya Yuga, all places were sacred. In the Treta Yuga, Pushkara was considered the most holy place. In the Dvapara Yuga, Kurukshetra was regarded as the most sacred place. In Kali Yuga, the Ganga has that glory. Devi Bhagavata says: 'He who utters the name of Ganga even from hundreds of miles afar is freed from sins and attains the abode of Lord Hari'".
On 10th April 2023, the 67th Anniversary of Sri Swami Sahajananda's Sannyas was observed by devotees, donors and well-wishers of Divine Life Society of South Africa. At Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, devotees gathered for a short morning Sadhana programme from 6am until 6.25am, and thereafter imbibed the sacred vibrations of Pujya Swamiji's sacred Kutir, followed by a visit to Sahaja Kutir and the Sivananda Sahajananda Diamond Jubilee Hall. Akhanda Chanting continued from 5.00am to 4.00pm in the sacred and serene surroundings of Ganga Rani, with circumambulation of the Ganga Rani pool, and the soothing sound of flowing water in the background.
The evening Satsang commenced with Ganga Aarti at 4.00pm. The programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, a reading from Bliss Divine written by our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, and an inspiring audio message by Pujya Swami Sahajananda. Devotees had the opportunity to visit Pujya Swamiji's Kutir and the Diamond Jubilee Hall after the evening Satsang as well.
Divine life Society of South Africa launched the 41-day recital of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa on Friday 24 February 2023. The recital concluded on the most auspicious Sri Hanuman Jayanti on 5 April 2023. Many devotees undertook the 41- day recital, reciting the Sri Hanuman Chalisa 11 times daily at their homes over the 41-day period. This auspicious Vrat concluded with a Havan which was live-streamed from Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills at 4.30pm on Wednesday 5 April 2023, being the sacred Sri Hanuman Jayanti.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda extolled the qualities of Sri Hanuman, and encouraged devotees to recite the Sri Hanuman Chalisa, which is very powerful and effective for the removal of all mental problems. It brings good health, success and prosperity. It cures diseases, counteracts evil forces and the effects of "black magic", which are so prevalent today. It was recommended to Pujya Swami Sahajananda by Pujya Mata Krishnabai of Anandashram, one of the greatest saints. Our Divine Master also wrote, "See how humble Hanuman was! How deep was his devotion to Sri Rama! He never said, "I am the brave Hanuman. I can do anything and everything".
Divine Life Society of South Africa celebrated the auspicious Sri Ram Navami at its Ashrams and some branches on Thursday 30 March 2023. Preceding Sri Ram Navami was the week-long Ramayan Week, from Wednesday 22 March until Wednesday 29 March 2023, during which daily Satsangs were held at the Society's Ashrams, glorifying Lord Rama. At Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, Ganga Arati commenced at 5.30pm followed by Satsang on Sri Ram Navami. The programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, a Ramayan Recital and a message from our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda.
Both our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda had great love and reverence for Lord Rama, and glorified Him at every opportunity. The Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram Mantra holds a special place for devotees of the Society. The Master's reverence for Lord Rama is evident in the following excerpt from his book, Essence of the Ramayana. The Master wrote, "Sri Rama's life was a life of holy obedience, of stainless purity, of matchless simplicity, laudable contentment, commendable self-sacrifice and remarkable renunciation. He paid equal respect to his mother and his stepmothers and revered his Guru".