Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

Established in 1949 by Sri Swami Sivananda

18th Anniversary of Sivananda Ghat & 74th Anniversary of Divine Life Society of S.A.

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Divine Life Society of South Africa celebrated the 18th Anniversary of Sivananda Ghat (a safe and dignified facility for the disposal of cremated ashes of all race groups, and facilities for the performance of Shraddha and Tarpana rituals), and the 74th Anniversary of the Society.

Sri Swami Sivananda, founder of the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, India, sent three letters to Sri V Srinivasan (later Sri Swami Sahajananda) to start a branch in this country. The first letter was sent on 18 October 1949, the second on 11 November 1949, and the third on 5 June 1951. Divine Life Society of South Africa thus celebrates its anniversary on 3 days. These letters contained direct instructions to Pujya Swamiji, as the Master had written them himself. These letters were methodically and carefully preserved by Pujya Swamiji and have now been published by Divine Life Society of South Africa, in a book titled Priceless Jewels. Below are excerpts from the letter dated 5 June 1949, as well as other letters from the Master.

5 June 1951: "Words cannot adequately describe the sincerity of your devotion and your ardent zeal and enthusiasm to disseminate spiritual knowledge. Keep the divine flame within you growing strong daily. May it guide the rest toward Eternal Bliss.

An interesting feature in the spiritual path is that the world looks frightening to the aspirant at the outset; but, once he takes to chanting His Name and does total surrender unto Him, everything appears as His Lila. Having installed Him firmly in your heart, what is there to worry you? March boldly with majestic steps towards Him. There He stands to give you a warm welcome and to bless you with Peace, Joy and Immortality.

Kindly send full particulars regarding your branch activities every month so that I can have it published in the 'Divine Life'.
"May God bless you with all Aiswaryas! May He bless you all!

With cordial greetings of Peace, Joy and Kaivalya.

With Regards, Prem and OM,
Thy Own Self,

Handwritten: "Kindly open a branch of DLS and do some silent work. The pamphlet is simply thrilling".

26th March 1960: "Kindly clear the debts as soon as possible. Debt is a great hindrance in your work.... Through the Grace of the Lord, you will be endowed with all divine virtues. For a sincere worker, name and fame will come by itself. It cannot be avoided. But do not mind it. Treat it as a straw. Be humble always and serve. This will not affect you.... When politicians come to you, turn the subject into spirituality.... He who knows does not speak. He who speaks does not know. Death is birth to a life beyond".

2nd December1958: "You should not neglect your health. Evidently you have overstrained yourself. Overwork has depleted your energy. Take proper medicine, nourishing diet. Take abundant rest. This is very, very important. Attend to the knees. Iodex, hot formentation, red light will give you a cure. Do Japa, Namasmaran, Mrityunjaya Japa...Purity of life is the essential condition for attaining God-realisation. Meditation is the key to the realisation of God almighty. The four means viz. discrimination, dispassion, etc. are the steps or the golden stairs to the Temple of Moksha or the abode of Bliss Immortal. Heart is the fulcrum of our being. Yoga is a way of life. It starts with ethical discipline and ends in Samadhi".

22 February 1952: "Take everything as it comes, instead of complaining. By these means one seizes every opportunity. One develops easily a great deal of mental strength and evenness of mind. Irritability vanishes. Power of endurance and patience will develop.... Do not brood over your faults and failures. Only look at them to see the reason why you failed and then try again. So doing, you will starve out the tendencies which lead you into them; whereas thinking about them only gives them new strength. Do not make too much fuss about little failures".

Handwritten: "You are doing wonderful work. You have stirred thousands".

Pujya Swami Sahajananda's audio message contained profound advice to aspirants and devotees on the nature of freedom and how we should manage external and material conditions. He says, "...freedom is a freedom that we should seek inside. If we have external freedom, it is not going to free us internally... God gave us this earth but he expects us to lead a clean life. We should have respect for everyone..." Referring to present day conditions, Pujya Swamiji says, "... even with all our good conditions, see how mentally we are suffering. We have nervous breakdowns and our heart diseases are very, very high amongst Indians in South Africa. So, all this external freedom, they are good, they are necessary; economic freedom is necessary, political freedom is also necessary, but it is not the most important thing. What is wanted is freedom inwardly." Pujya Swamiji says that conditions are the same across the world. Further, we should exercise self-culture and self-restraint. Pujya Swamiji quoted Sri Ram Tirtha, who said, "A slave is a slave because he is free".

Explaining its meaning, Pujya Swamiji says, "... it means that if you are a slave of God, then you are freed inside... You are not bound at all. You don't have anger, lust, greed, pride or anything. So only when you become God's slave, you are really free. Other than that, you are bound. See, we are all in chains. Only the slave of God is really free." Pujya Swamiji says that we should enjoy the material conditions, but we should not be immersed in such conditions and hold ourselves in restraint. He says, "...and then have the will and the power to say that is enough."

In celebrating the 18th Anniversary of Sivananda Ghat, it is of note that as at 1 June 2023, there were 38 050 ash disposals and 9 944 rituals. By the Grace of Sri Gurudev and Pujya Swamiji, Sivananda Ghat continues to provide a much-needed service to the community. Appreciation and gratitude were paid to our volunteers who are doing yeoman service at the Ghat. This facility is also the biggest outlet for Sri Gurudev's literature. Pujya Swamiji once referred to the Sivananda Ghat as one of the Society's most prestigious projects. This has definitely been proven in the 18-year history of the Sivananda Ghat.

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Sri Swami Sivananda

(1887 - 1963)

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