Divine Life Society of South Africa held a Special Thanksgiving Satsang at Sivananda International Cultural Centre (SICC) on Sunday 11 December 2022 at 10am. A morning Yoga Camp Sadhana programme comprising Invocation, Chanting, Meditation on the Peace Series and a Havan was held from 6am until 8am. A motivational talk, outlining Pujya Swami Sahajananda's guidance on our Yoga Camps which Pujya Swamiji launched almost 30 years ago, was also presented during the Yoga Camp Programme.
Over 530 devotees, well-wishers, donors and special guests attended the Thanksgiving Satsang. Amongst the guests were, Dr Anasuya Boligarla, Director of the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre based at the Consul General of India, Durban, our Ashram builders and representatives of a few schools, some of whom have accommodated our Branches for Satsangs for approximately 4 decades.
On 10th December 2022, the fifteenth anniversary of Sri Swami Sahajananda's Mahasamadhi was observed by devotees, donors and well-wishers of Divine Life Society of S.A. All Ashrams of the Society organised Satsangs to mark this solemn occasion. At Sivanandashram in Reservoir Hills, devotees gathered for a short morning Sadhana session from 6am to 6.25am, and thereafter went to Sahaja Kutir. Sahaja Kutir was circum-ambulated whilst chanting the sacred Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram Om Mantra. Devotees then proceeded to Pujya Swamiji's sacred Kutir whilst chanting, followed by a visit to the Sivananda Sahajananda Diamond Jubilee Hall to silently convey their devotion to the Master and Pujya Swamiji. Akhanda Chanting continued from 5 am to 4 pm.
The evening Satsang commenced with Ganga Aarti at 4pm. A fairly large congregation gathered to participate in the proceedings of this Mahasamadhi programme. Devotees chanted invocation prayers, Mantras, specially chosen Bhajans, heard readings and an inspiring audio message by Pujya Swamiji. Two little Spiritual Darlings (little children) joined the singers and musicians to chant the Song of Salutations. Supper Prasad was served at the end of the Satsang programme. Devotees had the opportunity to visit Pujya Swamiji's Kutir and the Sivananda Sahajananda Diamond Jubilee Hall after the evening Satsang.
The most auspicious Hindu festival of Deepavali or Diwali was celebrated on Monday 24 October 2022 at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Ganga Arati was performed around the sparkling Ganga Rani pool at 4.00pm and was followed by Satsang. Sri Gurudev and the Deities on the main shrine were surrounded with dozens of clay lamps, a scintillating display of light.
On the occasion of the 73rd Anniversary of Divine Life Society of South Africa, on Tuesday, 18 October 2022, devotees paid tribute to the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, who founded the Society in 1949. Special tribute was paid to Pujya Swami Sahajananda for implementing the Master's instructions to the letter and for his love, and spiritual, moral and ethical training of devotees. The Society's phenomenal success in all its endeavours, must be attributed to the boundless Grace of our Master, and Pujya Swamiji's steadfast loyalty and obedience to our Master.
Divine Life Society of S.A. celebrated Navaratri from Monday, 26 September 2022, and concluded with Vijaya Dasami on Wednesday, 5 October. The programme over the 10 days consisted of melodious Bhajans and Kirtans in adoration and worship of the Divine Mother, readings and poems.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda states in the book, Hindu Fasts & Festivals, "Outwardly, the nine-day worship of the Mother is a celebration of triumph. This celebration of nine days is offered to the Mother for Her successful struggle with the formidable demons led by Mahishasura. But to the sincere spiritual aspirant, the particular division of Navaratri into sets of three days, in order to adore different aspects of the Supreme Goddess, has a very sublime, yet thoroughly practical truth to reveal. In its cosmic aspect, it epitomises the stages of the evolution of man into God, from Jivahood (the state of individual life) to Sivahood (the state of union with God). In its individual import, it shows the course that his spiritual practice should take.
DIVINE MASTER'S 135TH BIRTH ANNIVERSARY (08 SEPTEMBER 2022)
8 September is a significant date for the Divine Life Society as it marks the Birth Anniversary of the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. This year (2022) marks his 135th Birth Anniversary. Our programme commenced at 5am, with the chanting of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa 11 times, as this marked the culmination of the 41-day Vrata launched on Saturday, 30 July 2022. In the afternoon, a special Havan Ceremony saw the closure of this important Sadhana.
On Wednesday, 31 August, 2022, Divine Life Society of S.A. celebrated online and at our Ashrams, one of the most popular Hindu Festivals, Sri Ganesha Chaturthi, being the Birthday of the Lord.
Hindus strongly affirm that Sri Ganesha is the Power that removes obstacles by the force of Knowledge. Sri Ganesha, among other things, is the Devata of spiritual Knowledge. Sages say that because Lord Ganesha removes all the obstacles on the path of the spiritual aspirant, and bestows upon him worldly as well as spiritual success, He is called Vigna Vinayaka. Referring to Lord Ganesha, the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram told one of the disciples, "Turn to Him and He will give you the right inspiration!"
The most auspicious Gita Week was observed at the Ashrams and a few branches of Divine Life Society of S.A. from 12 - 18 August 2022. Ganga Arati online and at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills commenced at 5:30pm daily, followed by Satsang. The daily Gita Week programme included melodious Bhajans & Kirtans in worship & adoration of Lord Krishna, Slokas from the Bhagavad Gita, readings from the Book Hindu Gods & Goddesses by Sri Swami Sivananda and poems from the book, Swami Sivananda In Pictures. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda states, "The Gita is a source of power and wisdom. It strengthens you when you are weak and inspires you when you feel dejected and feeble. It teaches you how to resist unrighteousness and to follow the path of virtue and righteousness. The Gita is not merely a book or just a scripture. It is a living voice, carrying an eternally indispensable and vital message to mankind".
Sri Krishna Janmashtami was celebrated on Friday, 19 August 2022. The Janmashtami programme at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills commenced at 5:30pm and concluded at midnight. Our Divine Master describes his Ishta Devata in Lord Krishna & His Lilas as follows, "Lord Krishna was the highest incarnation of the great Vishnu. He was the unique and crowning incarnation of all. He was the world teacher. He was the one Lord of love. His divine form holds the heart of India captive in chains, even today. The Bhagavata, the Mahabharata, the Vishnu Purana—all proclaim with one voice that there was none to match Sri Krishna in beauty and elegance of form in all three worlds".