The sacred Guru Purnima was celebrated online on Friday, 23 July 2021. The morning session ran from 6.00am to 6.25am and the evening programme from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.
On this day, the beloved Guru is worshipped by spiritual aspirants all over the world. This day is also sacred to the memory of Sage Bhagawan Vyasa, who wrote the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata, one of the greatest spiritual teachers of mankind.
We pay respectful obeisance and gratitude to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, and Pujya Swami Sahajananda. We pay respectful obeisance and gratitude, too, to Sri Shankaracharya, from whose divine lineage our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda descended. Furthermore, we acknowledge with deep gratitude, the immeasurable contributions of all Brahma Vidya Gurus, as well as all saints and sages.
The sacred Mahasamadhi Anniversary of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda began via our online Satsang programme at 6am on 14 July 2021. Devotees paid homage to our Divine Master, in the comfort of their homes! The short morning session, with Ganga Arati & invocation concluded at 6.26am. In the evening, after Ganga Arati at 5.30pm, we had Satsang.
During the evening Satsang, the Board of Management of Divine Life Society of S.A. presented the following message, (adapted for the purpose of this report): "On 14 July 2021, we observed the 58th Mahasamadhi Anniversary of beloved Sri Gurudev, Sri Swami Sivananda, who left his mortal coil on 14 July 1963. He was born on 8 September 1887 and influenced the entire world with his deep and profound thoughts, including his 250 books. On this most auspicious occasion, we acknowledge with deep gratitude, our Divine Master's immeasurable legacy to the world, through his profound writings; Ashrams throughout the world; service activities and spiritual, moral and aesthetic guidance on Hinduism, Yoga and allied topics. Sri Gurudev's direct, godlike disciple, Sri Swami Sahajananda, led Divine Life Society of South Africa with rare dedication, outstanding leadership and total Guru Bhakti for 58 glorious years. Today, Divine Life Society of South Africa is 72 years in existence, and it is rendering yeoman service through poverty alleviation projects, education, health care, youth development and education. Sivananda Ghat continues to act as a beacon light of Divine Life Society of South Africa, especially during this coronavirus pandemic, when families of the deceased find comfort and solace in disposing of the mortal remains of their beloved ones, in a dignified and ceremonious manner at the Sivananda Ghat. We salute our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda for his vision and our Spiritual Head, Sri Swami Sahajananda, without whom we would have been in a spiritual abyss.
This auspicious event was celebrated on Saturday, 10 July 2021 via our online Satsang Programme. The morning programme from 6.00-6.25am began with Ganga Arati and concluded with a short invocation. In the evening, Ganga Arati commenced at 5.30pm followed by Satsang.
On this sacred Birth Anniversary of Pujya Swami Sahajananda, from the Board of Management is as follows," We paid reverence and homage to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, for the most precious gift bestowed on South Africa: Pujya Swami Sahajananda. We thank Pujya Swamiji for his inestimable contributions to this country as Spiritual Head of the Society. Pujya Swamiji's contributions to Hinduism and humanitarian initiatives in South Africa are unparalleled in South African history. Pujya Swamiji set the foundation and commenced magnanimous and sterling work in the promotion of our glorious Hindu Dharma, based on the writings of Sri Swami Sivananda. Swamiji devoted himself to printing and distributing the Master's teachings with silent eloquence, building schools, crèches, a hospital, projects for poverty alleviation, poor feeding and assistance to Hindu temples.
The launch of the 41-day Sri Hanuman Chalisa will take place on Friday, 30 July 2021 via online audio stream. Beloved Pujya Swami Sahajananda encouraged all to recite the Sri Hanuman Chalisa for protection, safety, peace and the welfare of the world. In this critical period, collective recital of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa will assist in counteracting the scourges of our times.
A verse in the Sri Hanuman Chalisa tells us of the power of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa in assisting the world, Naashai Roga Harai Saba Peera Japata Nirantara Hanumata Beera, which translated means, "All diseases are destroyed and pain and sorrow vanish when your great and powerful Name is repeated incessantly".
This 41-day Sadhana is an offering to Sri Hanuman and our Divine Master and will culminate on Wednesday, 08 September 2021, which is the auspicious 134th Birth Anniversary of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda.
Ganga Dussehra was celebrated on Sunday, 20 June 2021 via our online Home Satsang programme. Messages from our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swamiji were read at this Satsang. We reproduce excerpts of their messages below.
In the book, Mother Ganga, our Master wrote, "Taking Her course into the interior of the Himalayas, Ganga was about to wash away Rishi Jahnu's Ashram. Sage Jahnu responded by simply sipping up her water. Bhagiratha was much disappointed. He did severe penance to please Rishi Jahnu. At last, the sage let Ganga through his ears. Flowing from this outlet, Ganga flowed with entire modesty and all-embracing filial love and motherly affection. By Her Divine Grace, She uplifted all the sixty thousand princes to the highest abode of immortal bliss. This day is celebrated as the most sanctifying Ganga Dussehra".
The 21st of June was declared as The International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. Since 2015, this day has been marked with spiritual practices worldwide. Due to the Corona virus pandemic, this prestigious event was hosted online this year by several institutions.
At the Divine Life Society of S.A. Yoga Camp on Sunday, 20 June 2021, a special message on this important day was delivered by our youth. A few excerpts from this message are included below:
Sri Swami Sivananda was a unique visionary who was able to cater for modern society's spiritual and secular needs. Seeing the potential of Yoga to alleviate the imbalance and distress of life in modern society, he took Yoga from the secret realms of mysticism into practice for daily life, giving it to one and all, be it spiritual seeker, student, westerner, postman, milkman, traveller, beggar, businessman, housewife or thief. His simple yet potent practices are intended for the cultivation of virtues, the betterment of character and the development of personality and self. Sri Swami Sivananda taught a synthesis of practical Vedanta and integrated Yoga, as a means to obtain excellence in life. The Divine Master gave the world "Integral Yoga" or "the Yoga of Synthesis".
Divine Life Society of South Africa celebrated "Youth Day" via its online Home Satsang Programme on Wednesday, 16 June 2021. It proved highly successful as our youth were given the opportunity to air their views and explore various topics close to their hearts. They chose to focus on the following topics: Meditation on the Peace Series, Overcoming Fear, Social Media Effects and Management, and finally COVID and spirituality (a panel discussion). The programme included a recorded message by Sri Swami Sahajananda and the customary Bhajans & Kirtans which were melodiously sung by them.
On the momentous occasion of the 72nd Anniversary of Divine Life Society of South Africa, which was celebrated via our online Satsang programme on Saturday, 5 June 2021, we paid special tribute to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, who founded the Society in 1949. We also offered special tribute to Pujya Swami Sahajananda who implemented the Master's instructions to the letter and showered us with love, disciplined us and guided us on the spiritual, moral and ethical aspects of life. The Society's phenomenal success in all its endeavours, is attributed to the boundless Grace of our Master, and Pujya Swamiji's steadfast loyalty and obedience to our Master.
It was on this day also that Sivananda Ghat was officially opened. We offered our deep gratitude to our Master and Pujya Swamiji on this 16th Anniversary of the official opening of our Sivananda Ghat. To date, we have completed more than 33 000 ash disposals. Pujya Swamiji has stated that Sivananda Ghat is one of the most important projects of Divine Life Society of South Africa, and we see evidence of this on a daily basis when many visit the Ghat and find solace there in their darkest hours of need.
On Tuesday, 1 June 2021, Divine Life Society of S.A. observed via the online Satsang, our Divine Master's 97th Sannyas Anniversary. We offer gratitude to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda for the immense Tapas that he did. Through his tremendous Tapas he was able to get all his knowledge. He passed on the benefit of his Tapas to us, said Pujya Swami Sahajananda. It also paved the way for the redemption and blossoming of countless seekers the world over.
The day commenced at 6am when devotees gathered in the comfort on their homes to pay homage to our Divine Master via the online morning programme. Akhanda Chanting commenced at 5am and continued until 5pm. Devotees were urged to join in the chanting in one or more of the hourly sessions. Our All-Souls' Day Havan was also live-streamed at 4.30pm followed by Ganga Arati & Satsang at 5.30pm.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda arrived at Rishikesh, in northern India, in 1924. One day, as he was sitting on the banks of the holy Ganges after being refused food at a local alms-house, a venerable saint, Sri Swami Vishwananda, happened to cast a glance at him. Attracted by the young man's unusual spiritual aura, the saint was prompted to initiate him into the Holy Order of Sannyas then and there. The Master entered the Holy Order on June 1, 1924, as Swami Sivananda Saraswati, and settled at Swarg Ashram.