Navaratri will be celebrated from Sunday, 15 October 2023 until Monday, 23 October 2023. Daily Satsang will take place at some of our branches and Ashrams. Daily Satsang at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills commences at 5:30pm with Ganga Arati. All are lovingly invited to attend this sacred period of devotion to the Divine Mother.
In respect of Sri Ganesha Chaturthi and the Ganesha Vrata, the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda says in Hindu Gods and Goddesses, "Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the most popular of Hindu festivals. This is the birthday of Ganesha. It is the day most sacred to Lord Ganesha. It is observed on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada throughout India. Clay figures of the Deity are made, and after being worshipped for two days, or in some cases ten days, are thrown into water.
"The yearly Ganesh Chaturthi Puja that is thus observed throughout India is the festival version of the Ganesh Vrata that has become enjoined as a compulsory observance, as a matter of tradition. Apart from this annual Puja, the Ganesh Vrata–also known by the name of Siddhi-Vinayaka Vratam – is done as a special Vrata for the attainment of some particular end in view, usually for clearing oneself of false and unjust accusations and charges, recovering lost objects, regaining lost status, and removal of obstacles in an enterprise. It is to be performed on the fourth day of the dark fortnight. It consists of elaborate worship of Lord Ganesha with Shodashopachara (a 16- step worship) and various offerings, after appropriate Sankalpa (desire).
Divine Life Society of South Africa has been participating in the Parliament of the World's Religions since 1999. Pujya Swami Sahajananda advised that Divine Life Society of South Africa be represented at all Parliaments to inform the world of the divine personality of Sri Swami Sivananda, his contributions to South Africa and the world at large, and to promote and disseminate his spiritual literature. In 2023, the Parliament of World's Religions was held in Chicago at the McCormick Place Convention Centre from 14 to 18 August 2023. The theme of the Parliament was "A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom & Human Rights". Gurudev's books were sold at the Divine Life of Society of S.A. Exhibition Booth in conformance with Pujya Swamiji's directive to take Sri Gurudev's literature across the world.
The Society made 3 presentations, namely 2 workshops and one panel discussion. The Society also printed a 42-page brochure containing the life and works of Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swami Sahajananda, the Society's initiatives and work, our Ashrams, a book catalogue and a Donation Pledge Form. Three hundred brochures were distributed at the Parliament, namely at the bookstore, at our presentations, and to visitors who showed an interest in the Society's work. This ensured the awareness of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, his work in South Africa, Pujya Swami Sahajananda's contributions to the religious, spiritual, social, cultural and moral regeneration of South Africa.
Divine Life Society of South Africa observed the auspicious Varalakshmi Vratam on Friday, 25 August 2023 at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Ganga Arati commenced at 5.30pm, followed by Satsang. The programme comprised Kirtans and Bhajans in praise of the Divine Mother and a reading on Mother Lakshmi from Yoga Lessons for Children (Volume 1) by Sri Swami Sivananda.
The Divine Master says, "The Vedas describe Mother Lakshmi as the Goddess of riches. God now manifests in the form of wealth. There is material wealth as well as spiritual wealth. Mother Lakshmi provides us with both, but many people think of Her as a symbol of material wealth only; and it is true that She will grant us this if we so desire. But on the spiritual path, we pray to the Divine Mother for something lasting, something more precious – it is the divine spiritual wealth of God.