Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

Established in 1949 by Sri Swami Sivananda

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Divine Life Society of South Africa held the Sivananda Conference on 1 and 2 June 2024, as part of its Centenary Celebrations commemorating Sri Swami Sivananda's 100th Sannyas Anniversary. The Sivananda Conference was held at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills on Saturday 1 June from 1pm to 6pm, and at Sivananda International Cultural Centre (SICC) on Sunday 2 June 2024 from 6am until 3pm.

Divine Life Society of South Africa is hosting its Centenary Celebrations in and 2025, because the Society celebrates three significant events during 2024 and 2025, namely: Swami Sivananda's 100thSannyas Anniversary in 2024, the 100th Birth Anniversary of Sri Swami Sahajananda (1925 – 2007), Spiritual Head of Divine Life Society of South Africa in 2025, and the 75th Anniversary of Divine Life Society of South Africa in 2024.

It is with deep and profound gratitude to Sri Gurudev and Pujya Swami Sahajananda that we report on the Sivananda Conference.

Almost a year of planning and preparations saw the realisation of a cherished dream of ardent devotees, when almost 1 850 devotees, well-wishers, donors, members of the public and patrons of the Society graced the Sivananda Conference over the two days, and paid tributes to one of the foremost saints of the 20th century. The theme of the Conference was, "Our Glorious Hindu Dharma: Swami Sivananda's Life and Legacy".

Hundreds of devotees, well-wishers, donors and members of the public gathered at Sivananda Ghat on Wednesday 1 May 2024 to observe the Special All Souls' Day Satsang and Mahayajna. The programme commenced at 2pm with Ganga Arati, followed by Invocatory Mantras, readings, a message by the guest-speaker, Sri Ish Prahladh, Kirtans, Bhajans and a Mahayajna (Havan). The soulful and divine ambience of the Satsang and Havan, was a fitting tribute to departed souls.

Two inspiring messages were read. The importance of prayer and Kirtan for departed souls was the theme of Sri Swami Sivananda's message. The Master said, "Prayer and Kirtan, good thoughts or good wishes become very helpful to departed souls. They can be of invaluable assistance to the dead. Prayer acts on the principle of a radio station and broadcasts the waves of good thoughts just as the radio station broadcasts waves of sound.

Sixty-eight years ago, on 10 April 1956, a young man named V. Srinivasan was initiated into the holy order of Sannyas by Sri Swami Sivananda. His monastic name is Swami Sahajananda. Pujya Swamiji led Divine Life Society of South Africa for 58 years until his Mahasamadhi on 10 December 2007. As Spiritual Head of the Society, Pujya Swamiji's indomitable will, tenacity and iron courage to spread his Divine Master's, Sri Swami Sivananda's teachings, saw a virtual Hindu renaissance in KwaZulu-Natal; perhaps a rare feat in Hindu spiritual history in this province, for the message of Sri Swami Sivananda, the message of Divine Life, has reached countless homes in the province and beyond, attributed, almost single-handedly, to Pujya Swami Sahajananda.

Divine Life Society of South Africa celebrated Pujya Swami Sahajananda's 68th Sannyas Anniversary at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, on Wednesday 10 April 2024. The morning Sadhana programme at 6am was followed by devotees taking Darshan at Pujya Swamiji's Kutir, his sacred room and the Sivananda-Sahajananda Diamongd Jubilee Centre. In the evening, Ganga Arati began at 5.30pm followed by Satsang. The Satsang programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, a reading on Renunciation (Sannysa) from Bliss Divine by Sri Swami Sivananda, an audio message by Pujya Swami Sahajananda, and Ramayana recital by our Rishikumaris.

The Richards Bay Branch of Divine Life Society of South Africa hosted the Society's Centenary Celebrations' Satsang at Sivanandashram in Brackenham, Richards Bay. The programme comprised a Havan at 8am, Ganga Arati at 9.40am and Satsang from 10am until 12.20pm.

The spiritual ambience of the sacred Havan set the tone of divinity for the day's events. Many devotees, well-wishers, donors and members of the public participated in Ganga Arati, some for the very first time. The Satsang programme consisted of Kirtans, Bhajans, a children's item, "Gurudev Says", and a youth item, "Take a Packet of Grace Home Today", which captured some of Swami Sivananda's salient teachings, namely, Satsang, prayer, meditation, Sadhana, Brahmacharya, the Spiritual Diary and the Law of Karma. A delightful and humorous play, "An Obedient Wife", by Swami Sivananda brought out the importance of harmony in the home, mutual respect and understanding, especially between spouses. The Bharatanatyam Dance to the Bhajan, "Ayodhya Vasi" Ram was well choreographed and professionally executed.

Sri Hanuman Jayanti was celebrated at all Sivanandashrams of Divine Life Society of South Africa on Tuesday 23 April 2024. At Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, the Sri Hanuman Jayanti Satsang was preceded by chanting of the Om Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram Mantra from 4 to 4.30pm and Havan at 4.30pm, being the culmination of the 41-Day Recital of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa. Ganga Arati was at 5.30pm, followed by Satsang. The Satsang programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, the Sri Hanuman Arati and a reading, "Sri Hanuman Meets His Divine Master" from the Shree Ramacharitmanasa, as well as a poem entitled "Sri Hanuman" from "Great Men and Women" by Sri Swami Sivananda.

The Sri Hanuman Arati extolled the virtues of Sri Hanuman. The English translation of the initial Sloka of the Sri Hanuman Arati captures the essence of the Arati, namely, "Sing the Arati of Lord Hanuman, the destroyer of all that is wicked, an exalted hero in Sri Rama's sportive play on earth. His massive power makes even mountains shake. Neither sickness nor impurities can come close to His devotees".

The years, 2024 and 2025 are milestone years in the history of Divine Life Society of South Africa, as the Society's Centenary Celebrations are given prominence amongst its multifarious programmes and activities. One of the Centenary Celebrations' highlights, was the Sivananda Book Festival and Health Workshop held on Sunday 28 April 2024 at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, Durban. The concept of a "Book Festival" and "Health Workshop" has universal appeal, and the spiritual dimension to these two unique events, added colour, aesthetic appeal, decorum and grandeur to the Centenary Celebrations. Sri Swami Sivananda, being a medical doctor, and Pujya Swami Sahajananda, both advocated good health for spiritual growth, and the importance of spiritual literature for moral, emotional and spiritual growth and development.

Despite the cold weather, hundreds of devotees, well-wishers, donors, members of the public and sister organisations attended the function which commenced with registration at 7.30am and Ganga Arati thereafter.

The Day of Descent of Divine Grace was celebrated on Friday 1 March 2024 at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills. Ganga Arati commenced at 5.30pm followed by Satsang, which comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, The Song of Salutations and a reading from "Conversations with Gurudev" from Guidance in Daily Life which was written by Pujya Swamiji and published in 1998.

The following utterance by Pujya Swamiji in November 2007 aptly captures the significance of this occasion, "Since the 1st of March I am enjoying 24 hours unbroken peace of mind. Previously there used to be a sharp pain inside, but now there is nothing".

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Gurudev Centenary 2024

Sri Swami Sivananda

(1887 - 1963)

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