One hundred and thirty-one years ago, on 8th September 1887, a baby boy was born to saintly parents, Sri Vengu Iyer and Srimati Parvati Ammal, at Pattamadai in the Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu, South India. This child, a direct descendant of the great 16th century Saint Appayar Dikshitar, was named Kuppuswami. It was Kuppuswami who later became Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati. With the pen as his sword, and every letter and word blessed by Mother Saraswati, Swami Sivananda began the great mission of Divine Life Society, of spreading the much-needed divine knowledge far and wide through books and pamphlets. Such was his greatness that he moulded and guided scores of disciples to become great spiritual leaders in many parts of the world, all of whom are doing sterling work. One of the most illustrious amongst these disciples is Sri Swami Sahajananda, Spiritual Head of Divine Life Society of S. A. All that we see around us here in South Africa, is a manifestation of Pujya Swami Sahajananda's vision, arising out of his dedication, intense Guru Bhakti and Sadhana, being inspired by our Divine Master.
On Thursday, 16 August 2018, the Sivananda Sunlit Path team in association with the Tongaat Hindu Unity Forum, travelled to Tongaat to assist learners to cope with the scourge of drug addiction and the many social ills that plague learners today. The team was privileged to serve the following five secondary schools in the area: Belverton, Fairbreeze, Nkosibomvu, Seatides Combined and Tongaat. One hundred and forty-two learners participated in a programme designed to guide, shape and mould them, taking them away from the negative forces that pollute their minds and trying to lead them onto the path of goodness and virtue. In his welcome address, Mr R.H. Singh, Principal of Tongaat Secondary, who hosted this event, stated that he was happy that this programme will help to develop leaders amongst the learners present at this workshop.
Guru Purnima, the most auspicious day in the calendar of spiritual seekers, is celebrated the world over to worship and thank spiritual preceptors for their guidance, spiritual wisdom and enlightenment. It is the day when seekers take stock of themselves and make fresh resolves in pursuit of their spiritual goals. It also marks the Birth Anniversary of Sage Vyasa. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda states, "Sri Vyasa rendered unforgettable service to humanity for all times by editing the four Vedas and writing the eighteen Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata. We can repay the deep debt of gratitude we owe him, only by constant study of his works and practise of his teachings."
Our Master's 55th Mahasamadhi Anniversary was observed on Saturday, 14 July at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Sri N. Ananthanarayan (author of From Man to Godman) narrates the following:
On July 14,1963 Colonel Puri came to examine the Master. As he tapped with his rod to test the reflexes, the Master said; "Doctors are very cruel."
"Yes, Swamiji, what can be done? It is our duty," said the doctor, and added, "Swamiji, you will be all right shortly."
"Yes, I must," said the Master, "I have many things to do."
"You will do, Swamiji, but with a handicap."
Pujya Swami Sahajananda's 93rd Birth Anniversary was celebrated on Tuesday, 10 July at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. ln celebrating Pujya Swami Sahajanandaji's 93rd birthday, we offer our gratitude to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and Pujya Swamiji for laying at our disposal, the fruits of their Tapas and Sadhana by way of the vast spiritual literature, our Ashrams and centres, etc. ln honouring Pujya Swamiji, who was a Maharishi who came to guide and nurture us, we are reminded how, in spite of his greatness, he advised us to give prominence and adoration to the Divine Master. We know from the Master's own words that he worked through Pujya Swamiji and therefore Guru and disciple had become one in spirit. Such was Pujya Swamiji's stature! For this we revere Swamiji as the greatest disciple of the Master. Pujya Swamiji's Guru Bhakti can be compared to that of Sri Hanuman. Like Sri Hanuman who was one with Lord Rama, and stood humbly as a devotee to the Lord, so did our Swamiji hide the spiritual giant that he was and lived only to glorify the Master. The Master's Divine power flowed effortlessly through Pujya Swamiji.
The inauguration of the 41-day, Sri Hanuman Chalisa recital took place on Tuesday, 31 July at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Sri Swami Sivananda wrote: "The world has not yet seen and will not see in future also a mighty hero like Sri Hanuman. During his life he worked wonders and exhibited superhuman feats of strength and valour. He has left behind him a name which, as long as the world lasts, will continue wielding a great influence over the minds of millions of people."
The Anniversary Satsang was celebrated on Tuesday, 5 June at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. The day was also auspicious as it coincided with the 13th Anniversary of Sivananda Ghat.
After reading the book, Jiva Brahma Aikya Vedanta Rahasyam by Swami Satchidananda, Dr Kuppuswami developed an ardent desire to "tread the path of the wise and unlock the realms of immortality". From Malaysia, he journeyed to Rishikesh where he met his Guru, the venerable Swami Vishwananda who initiated him into the Holy Order of Sannyas on 1 June 1924. Dr Kuppuswami was now dead. Swami Sivananda Saraswati was born.
Ganga Dussehra was observed on Thursday, 24 May at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. It was on this day that Ganga, by Her Divine Grace, uplifted all the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara to the highest abode of immortal bliss. Readers would know that the princes were cursed by Sage Kapila because they falsely accused him of stealing the sacrificial horse, dedicated for the Ashvamedha sacrifice by their father, King Sagara.
Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda wrote the following about the holy Ganga River, "The water of the Ganges is extremely pure and sanctifying. No germs can flourish in this. This has been tested by various scientists in their laboratory. Rich in minerals, this water cures almost all kinds of diseases."