We are delighted to celebrate this day every year because in the Guru Purnima Message of 29 July 2007, Pujya Swamiji said, "I myself had the Grace of our Divine Master when an unusual power of his descended in me. It happened on 1st March this year. When the power descended there was a little disturbance in the beginning but within a few days it settled down. Now there is no change in the descent of the power. I could not believe that the Master would grant me such Divine Grace, a Grace that I do not deserve. If devotees saw my attitude some five years ago and my attitude now, they would be quite surprised that such a tremendous change could take place. It might still take about three or four months for it to get stabilized. Maybe in November I will talk about it more elaborately."
A very appropriate reading was taken from the section on "Conversations with Gurudev", from the book, Guidance in Daily Life. In this chapter Pujya Swamiji raises many pertinent questions with the Divine Master and at the same time, reveals his own spiritual experiences. Permit us to quote an excerpt from this reading:
Swamiji: Gurudev, when we ask for material things you fulfil our wishes quickly, even without thinking, like Lord Siva. But when we ask for spiritual transformation, you are very hard on us, Gurudev. Again, like Lord Siva sitting with His eyes closed on the Himalayas, you seem to ignore us.
Gurudev: This is because spiritual treasures are valuable and more lasting. They are not like things that perish.
Swamiji: Gurudev, you remarked to one of our devotees who came to you from South Africa, "I know when to give and what to give." Your Divine Grace works in mysterious ways, Gurudev. It is unpredictable, especially when it comes to spiritual transformation.
Gurudev: Yes, the mystery of Divine Grace can only be understood through Divine Grace.
Pujya Swamiji then revealed the secret to his spiritual success.
Swamiji: When I gave up every effort and felt helpless, your Divine Grace manifested. Gurudev, I woke up one morning with the distinct feeling that I was a changed being, that some great power of yours had descended upon me and was effecting the transformation. Gurudev, when I realised what was happening, tears of gratitude began pouring for several weeks, as I felt I was not worthy to receive such Grace. I marveled to note with what precision and perfection your power was working. The higher knowledge seemed to be descending in me."
Clearly the path of faith and self-surrender cannot be over-emphasised.Pujya Swamiji's audio message reinforced the above reading. We reproduce parts of this inspiring message: "So, if I place before you whatever I want to say, it is the path of Divine Grace. It means that if you do your duty properly, whether it is your family duty or your duty in the Ashram, you don't have to ask God for anything. It will come by itself. For example, a Guru is like a father to us, he is more than a father. You don't have to ask him for anything. But, we have to make ourselves worthy of that Grace and that Grace can work marvels. All that you have to do is to do your duty faithfully, then marvellous things can come to us.
"If I have not experienced Divine Grace then I will have no right to talk to you about it. It is better to speak from your own experience than to quote from the books. That there is such a thing as Divine Grace, we know. Now I am not referring to our external success, like the many schools we have built. Anyone can do that! And, it is not difficult to get money. It is not difficult to build an Ashram. It is not difficult to print books. But it is very difficult to change your nature. What is important in our life is the transformation.
"I can remember that it took 23 years for the first light to dawn—23 years when the band around my chest loosened a little bit and I could breathe a little bit freely. Another 6 years went by when the breathing became freer; another three years when I felt that I was fairly free. And all came without my asking! Nothing changed externally. No situation changed. In fact, it became worse. But, what Gurudev gave two months ago surpasses all that he had given previously.
"When I first found Gurudev and he rescued me from that life, to a life of Sadhana, I made one resolution and I said that in this birth, I will try to serve him with all my heart and soul in repayment. I felt that I should express my gratitude to him. And that is what I am trying to do. Gurudev does not expect us to do spectacular things. We have not done anything spectacular at all. I asked Gurudev how and why he gave me this knowledge. Am I worthy of it? What have I done? And I found that there is nothing spectacular that I have done. Nothing that could be called great! But I felt that whatever I did, I did with all my heart and soul. I thought of the books and I said, 'Gurudev, this is all that I have given you.' I didn't even print 50 or 100 books. All that was printed was about thirty books. But in those 30 books went every drop of my blood, every fibre of my being. My concentration went into that. So perhaps, that is what made Gurudev grant me.
"So, like that, I have no fear of what is going to happen in the future. When the Master solves a problem, he makes a thorough job of it. He solves it once and for all."
We in Divine Life Society of S.A. should also consider ourselves to be spiritually fortunate to be associated with this rare Divine Grace. Consequently, our lives have been touched by the Grace of Sri Swami Sahajananda here in South Africa. Our beloved Pujya Swamiji was the greatest Saint that Africa has produced, who attained God-realisation while living here at this Ashram in Reservoir Hills. There is nothing that Pujya Swamiji did that was a mistake or can it be considered as incorrect because, God does not make mistakes. We are witnessing the realisation of many things that Pujya Swamiji had previously predicted. This is evidence that Pujya Swamiji knew the past, the present and the future. Our Programme Director said, "Tonight, let us remember and celebrate this rare Divine Grace bestowed upon us! Our Master and Pujya Swamiji performed great Tapas from which we are benefitting. In celebrating this auspicious day tangibly, let us re-dedicate ourselves; let us reaffirm our loyalty to our beloved Gurudev, Pujya Swamiji and his mission here on African soil!"
We conclude this report with the words of The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, "Yoga is done precisely to change the nature; otherwise it has no meaning."