A critical exposé of Sri Swami Sivananda’s contributions to the world, and especially in South Africa, sees him as a voice of conscience, a votary of spiritual, moral and ethical upliftment, through prayer, Sadhana and service activities, notably via the Divine Life Society of South Africa. His contribution in South Africa, namely, in promoting Hinduism and service to the poor, depressed, forlorn, helpless and fallen, especially South Africa’s indigenous community and the South African Hindu community, are exemplary. Indeed, civilisation is beholden to this apostle of peace, love, human values, Hindu morals and religion.
Accolades to the Master are many. The Honourable Consul General of India in Durban, Sri Anish Rajan, described Sri Swami Sivananda as “A Beacon of Light in the 20th Century” in his message on the occasion of Sri Swami Sivananda’s 133rd Birth Anniversary on 8 September 2020. In the Honourable Consul General’s words: “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 is thus accepted and exalted. Such a one is Swami Sivananda who lives first and then only teaches”.
Sri Swami Krishnananda, a seniordisciple and former general secretary of the Society wrote about the Master, “The coming of Sri Gurudev on this planet, this Earth—the entry of this divine soul into this world—may sometimes be compared to a shooting star which shines its light on all the dark corners of the planet and illumines every side of it, every aspect of it and every phase of it, as if life enters a lifeless body”.
Paramhansa Yogananda said, “The life of the great Rishi, Swami Sivananda, serves as a perfect example of selfless activity. He blesses India and the world by his presence”.
Our reading for the evening was entitled “The Last Days” which was taken from the book, From Man to God-Man by Sri N. Ananthanarayanan. This is what he had to say about the Master, “The story of Swami Sivananda is the story of God in man. It is the story of spiritual unfoldment. It is the story of the onward march of the human soul. The Master was just another man and lived as such ─ but he was a man who lived to serve his fellow men. He was a man who, with every passing breath, loved his fellow men intensely. He was a man to whom service was his breath, and love, his life. Service and love elevated him to the status of a God-man”.
In the DVD entitled “Swami Sivananda’s Message” the Master gave us practical spiritual instructions:
Thou art Divine. Live up to it.
Feel & realise thy divine nature.
Do not murmur when you get difficulties, troubles, tribulations and diseases.
Every difficulty is an opportunity for you to develop your will and power of endurance and to grow strong.
Conquer the difficulties, one by one. This is the beginning of a new life and a life of expansion, glory and divine splendour.
On this most auspicious occasion, we acknowledge with deep gratitude, our Divine Master’s extensive contribution to the world, through his profound writings, Ashrams, service activities, and his spiritual, moral and aesthetic guidance on Hinduism, Yoga and allied topics. The Master’s ideal direct disciple, Sri Swami Sahajananda, led the Divine Life Society of South Africa with rare dedication, outstanding leadership and total Guru Bhakti. Today, in the 73 years of its existence, Divine Life Society of South Africa is rendering yeoman service to the masses in the fields of Hinduism, poverty alleviation projects, education, health care, youth development and education. The Sivananda Ghat continues to act as a beacon of Divine Life Society of South Africa and the teachings of the Master. We salute our Divine Master and our Spiritual Head, Sri Swami Sahajananda, without whom we may have been in a spiritual abyss and, spiritually bankrupt.
Under the silent, invisible, but potent and dynamic guidance of our Pujya Swamiji, the great light and guiding force of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, continues to sustain Divine Life Society of South Africa. His omnipotence, omnipresence and invisible spirit, manifest in every facet of Divine Life Society of South Africa and its activities. His spiritual energy continues to nurture and sustain earnest seekers who yearn for spiritual sustenance and guidance. His precious writings, awesome Tapas, indefatigable energy, compassion and intense passion to serve is Sri Swami Sivananda’s legacy to the Society and all of mankind.