Divine Life Society in India was founded by Sri Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) in 1936. Swami Sivananda was one of the greatest of all modern saints. His teachings, which are universal, practical, simple and timeless have transformed the lives of countless people who have been searching for peace, happiness, comfort and above all, the Higher Truth. The Society's motto of Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate and Realise encapsulates the principles that we as Divine Life Society of South Africa, try to follow.
Satsang commenced after breakfast at 10am. The first message was presented by the Board of Management. Herewith a few thoughts from this presentation: "As part of the 70th Anniversary Celebrations, Divine Life Society branches are hosting Satsangs which will encourage Hindus to practise Sadhana and conduct prayer on a regular basis. Our branches will take our Master's writings and teachings to all parts of the country so that the lives of readers and participants will be enriched. There have been numerous instances when a phrase or a sentence from the Master's books mysteriously helped readers when they were most in need. We urge all devotees to turn seriously to prayer in this Kali Yuga. In highlighting the power of prayer, Sri Swami Sivananda says, "Prayer cleanses the dross and steadies the mind. It washes off the impurities of the heart with the pure waters of spiritual emotions, corrects the defects and shortcomings, and prepares the mind for the reception of Self-knowledge. In times of danger and calamity, mass prayer works wonders. Prayer for the departed souls bestows peace on them. Prayer is as real as the force of gravity. It can reach a realm where reason is too feeble to enter. It can work miracles. Its magnanimous efficacy is indescribable. Its potency can be hardly comprehended without actual experience".
The sweet innocence of our Spiritual Darlings brought smiles to the faces of listeners as they confidently presented the item on "Swamiji Says". We extracted two thoughts from this presentation for readers to ponder over:
Once you depart from your Guru, you are finished.
Our Divine Master has his eye on everything that we do.
In the reading on "Glory of Hinduism" we heard the following advice from our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda: "Chant the Divine Name in the temple, at home, at your workplace, while driving and at all times. O man, take refuge in the Divine Name. God and His Name are inseparable. Sing the Lord's Name incessantly. Remember the Name of the Lord with every incoming and outgoing breath. In this age, repetition of the Divine Name is the easiest, quickest, safest and surest way to reach God and attain immortality and perennial joy. Glory to the Lord! Glory to His Name! Glory to Hinduism!"
The programme was not lacking in humour. Permit us to quote one verse taken from the book, Swami Sivananda In Pictures, by Sri Swami Sivananda:
MONKEY AND MAN: Half a dozen monkeys sat on a mango tree and discussed certain things. One monkey said, "Now listen to me, people say that man descended from us. This is not at all true. The very idea is a disgrace to us. No monkey ever divorced his wife. No monkey ever starved his children. No monkey ever abandoned his children. No monkey smokes, gambles, drinks and dances in a club. No monkey suffers from syphilis and takes 606 injections. No monkey marries a fourth wife at 80. No monkey takes another monkey's life with a gun or knife or atom bomb. Be quite sure that man did not descend from us. Believe me, friends, Darwin is incorrect in his statement."
A dance, in praise of Lord Rama, was presented by the Phoenix branch and drew an applause from the appreciative audience.
Seven Bhajans and Kirtans were melodiously sung jointly by the Phoenix and Newlands branches. It was indeed pleasing to see that the congregation participated in the singing from the song copies contained in the Souvenir Satsang Brochure.
A thought-provoking article, written by Pujya Swami Sahajananda, made people think about the evils of this age and how they are contributing to it. Pujya Swamiji suggested various methods to counteract these negative forces. Pujya Swamiji wrote, "According to our Hindu Dharma we are now in the Kali Yuga. The Srimad Bhagavata predicted many thousands of years ago that the four evils that will prevail in Kali Yuga are: consuming of liquor, gambling, debauchery, and killing of innocent creatures. Also, all the four evils will be found in money. Money is the greatest power today. We can see how true the predictions are and what havoc they are causing today. If people today understand clearly the operation of the great Law of Karma—the law of cause and effect—they can avoid a lot of problems, calamities, sufferings, etc. None can escape the working of the great Law of Karma. Every action, whether good or bad, will bear its fruit, sooner or later."
In a well-enacted play by the youth of Newlands Branch, the actors successfully drove home the point that reading of spiritual literature has a moulding influence on character development. They said, "Sri Gurudev has himself declared that his writings have been blessed by Mother Saraswati. Pujya Swamiji has also reminded us on numerous occasions that Sri Gurudev had infused all his power into his writings. Therefore, his books carry a mysterious, life-giving and energising force." There is no doubt that the Master's writings and teachings have had a profound impact on spiritual seekers the world over. This being the primary objective of the Society, devotees have dedicated themselves not only to distributing the literature to all parts of the country, but indeed to all parts of the globe as per Pujya Swami Sahajananda's wish.
Whist our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji are no more with us in the physical form, one must bear in mind that great souls never pass away from the world with the demise of their physical sheath. They are always alive, now more than ever. They pervade and permeate the whole Universe and are always available to those who call sincerely.
We conclude with the words of Pujya Swamiji about our Divine Master, "Once you take shelter under the protecting care of his all-consuming love, spiritual progress is inevitable." Generations to come will envy us for having the good fortune of participating in this noble work."