Sri Swami Sivananda's intense Tapas, his passion in serving the poor and the sick and in relieving human suffering, his deep and profound love for truth, Dharma and Hinduism and the desire to lead a pure, austere and divine life, saw the establishment of Divine Life Society in Rishikesh in 1936. Rabindranath Tagore wrote, "We are made for friendship, not for hate; My hand to you, and with it all my heart, My brother!" Similarly, SriSwami Sivananda cemented a firm bond with his disciples, with all Sadhus in Rishikesh and with the entire world through service, exemplary love for mankind and a thirsting desire to uplift the plight of mankind. This is how Divine Life Society began in India in 1936, a rare epoch in the annals of Indian history, if not the world.
Rabindranath Tagore continues, "The teachers of mankind are few. A thousand years may pass by without the advent of such a one; but when the true teacher does appear, the distinguishing feature by which he is known is his life. His conduct is different from other men and his teaching is never derived from any man or book, but from his own life. The teacher first lives and then teaches others how they may likewise live. The proof of his teaching is in himself, his life. Out of a million preachers, only one is ultimately accepted by mankind as a true teacher and that one who is thus accepted and exalted, is he who lives. Such a one is Swami Sivananda who lives first and then only teaches".
It is no coincidence, therefore, that branches of Divine Life Society have been established in several parts of the world, including in the southern-most tip of Africa, in South Africa in 1949.As we celebrate the 72ndAnniversary of the Society, we again express our deep appreciation and gratitude to all devotees, donors and well-wishers for their Guru Bhakti, support, participation in our online Satsangs and programmes, financial contributions, and deep and unconditional support and loyalty to our Master's and Pujya Swamiji's mission, despite difficult and challenging times. Pujya Swami Sahajananda reminded us constantly of the Master's invisible, guiding spirit in the Society's work, when he said, "The success of the Divine Life Society is due entirely to the Grace of the Divine Master. Our scriptures and saints never tire of singing the glory of a God-realised Guru, and emphatically declare that his Grace can achieve miracles".
The Consul General of India in Durban, the Honourable Anish Rajan, on the occasion of Sri Gurudev's 133rd Birth Anniversary said, "I wish Divine Life Society of South Africa every success, and applaud the exemplary work done by the Society in the arenas of Hinduism, education, health care, poverty alleviation and other fields. Let us find comfort, hope and direction in Swami Sivananda's creed, which states: 'To be a cosmic friend and cosmic benefactor, to be a friend of the poor, forlorn, helpless and the fallen, is my creed. It is my sacred creed to serve the sick persons, to nurse them with care, sympathy and love, to cheer the depressed, to infuse power and joy in all, to feel oneness with each and every creature, and to treat with equal vision'".
The accolades bestowed upon Divine Life Society of South Africa for its sterling work over the past 72 years, by statesmen, politicians, community and religious leaders, laymen and children are testimony to Sri Swami Sahajananda's vision, diligence, one-pointed loyalty to the Master and meticulous attention to detail to every facet of the Society's work. Pujya Swamiji never received any accolades for himself, attributing all accomplishments to the Divine Grace of our Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. Can we ever tire at listening to the praises heaped upon Pujya Swamiji? Nay!......The Master heaped the highest praise on Pujya Swamiji also, as is evident at Pujya Swamiji's farewell in Rishikesh after the Master initiated Pujya Swamiji into the Holy Order of Sannyas on 10 April 1956. At his farewell function, Sri Gurudev said: "Swami Sahajananda is styled as the spiritual king of South Africa, Durban. He is also called the African Chota Guru. He does not want anything. He is a silent worker. He is a very good organiser. He is a man of renunciation, Vairagya (dispassion) and meditation. He talks little. You have never seen him talking. He thinks much and does much. Such a spiritual Yogi is he! His devotion to his teacher is unique. He has a pure heart. So let us pray for the health of this small Yogi, full of strength. One who can transform the materialistic intellect of the whole of South Africa ─ what tremendous purity, what tremendous Yogic power, what tremendous meditation, spiritual aura and selfless aura!" Indeed, prophetic words that resonate, even on the 72nd Anniversary of Divine Life Society of South Africa.
In the audio message, Pujya Swamiji reinforced the inestimable value of chanting the Divine Name constantly for our peace, protection and spiritual illumination. Herewith salient parts of this inspiring speech, "The Name creates a marvellous vibration and this vibration spreads throughout the cells of body, to the mind and the whole being is gradually possessed by the Divine Name as it goes on vibrating automatically. A fortress is formed around the body, an aura, a spiritual aura is formed and it is difficult for others to penetrate that aura. Even if we don't see the immediate results, the results are there. I have given you an analogy of a rock. You hammer at it for 99 times or 100 times. At the 101st blow, the rock splits, because the split was going on inside.
So, the purification goes on taking place. You must remember that we evolved from the savage to the present state. During all these processes, the Samskaras(impressions) are deeply embedded in the mind. So, thousands of times we have to repeat God's Name. Thousands of times we have to meditate to uproot those Samskaras. The Samskaras or impressions are formed in the mind when any action or thought takes place. It is like a cart moving and making a rut in the road. As the cart moves again and again, to the same spot, to the same road, the impressions get deeper and deeper. So, the Samskaras get deeper and deeper. So, the Samskaras force us to do the action we do today. We repeatedly do the wrong actions. The same actions give us trouble again and again, because the Samskaras of those actions are in the mind. But gradually the repetition of the Name thins down these Samskaras."
We conclude this message with the eloquent words of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, which are sure to cement the spiritual foundation of all spiritual seekers. In the bookBliss Divine, the Master gives profound advice on Sadhana ─ the need of this hour. He says, "Sadhana is a lifelong process. Every day, every hour, every minute, is an onward march. Obstacles are innumerable in this great voyage. But, so long as you hold God as thy guide, there is nothing to worry about. You are sure to reach the other shore.You must start vigorous spiritual practices when you are young, whatever your conditions, circumstances and environments may be. Then only you will reap a rich spiritual harvest when you become old. You will enjoy the everlasting peace of the Eternal".
Yes, dear readers, let us heed this precious advice, which has repeatedly been reinforced by Pujya Swamiji, and intensify our Sadhana, as Sadhana is surely our hope and refuge. Pujya Swamiji has said that the only thing we will take with us to our next birth is our Sadhana.We wish all peace, happiness, and our Master's and Pujya Swamiji's protection, Grace and blessings at all times.