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Report: Pujya Swamiji's 98th Birth Anniversary

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Ninety-eight years ago, on 10 July 1925, a boy, V. Srinivasan was born in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal. Within a few decades, his 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 permeated almost every Hindu home in the province and beyond.

Sri Swami Sahajananda's silent dynamism, magnetic personality and contributions are again evident in Sri Swami Sivananda's words at Pujya Swamiji's farewell after his initiation into the holy order of Sannyas on 10 April 1956. The Master said, "Swami Sahajananda is styled as the spiritual king of South Africa, Durban. He is also called African Chota Guru. He does not want anything. He is a silent worker. He is a man of renunciation, Vairagya (dispassion) and meditation. He is a very good organiser. 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".

Divine Life Society of South Africa celebrated Sri Swami Sahajananda's 98th Birth Anniversary at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills on Monday 10 July 2023. There was a morning Sadhana Programme from 6am until 6.25am, after which devotees circumambulated Sahaja Kutir and then paid obeisance at Pujya Swamiji's sacred Kutir. Thereafter devotees visited the Sivananda Sahajananda Diamond Jubilee Centre. There was Akhanda Chanting from 5am until 4pm. Ganga Arati commenced at 5pm followed by Satsang at 5.30pm. The Satsang programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, Pujya Swamiji's audio message, readings from Priceless Jewels, Volume 2, and two of Pujya Swamiji's songs sung by Pujya Swamiji.

The Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda's profound advice and guidance to Pujya Swamiji are contained in the following excerpts from three letters read at the Satsang:

Referring to Pujya Swamiji's sterling work in KwaZulu-Natal, the Master, in his letter of 24 July 1956, said,
"Durban and Natal are transformed now. It is a spiritual country. The Residents are leading the divine life.
Many Divine Life Society Branches are vigorously functioning. You and your assistants have brought Vaikunta in Natal. I saw the cutting from newspaper. It will be published in the Divine Life. Renunciation is the watchword. Self-realisation is the goal. Dharma is the props.

The bliss of the Divinity is your birthright.
You are the king of the Self-kingdom (Atma Samrat).
Knowledge of Brahman is the only requisite for liberation. Knowledge should become a living experience but not a mere belief.

May Lord bless you all. May you all become sages!

Glory to V. Srinivasan and all Divine Life workers!"

The Master's advice to Pujya Swamiji on renunciation, service and the power of prayer, are again contained in another of his letters, this being on 26 August 1956. The Divine Master said,

"Renounce the hollowness of all earthly ravishes through discrimination and renounce them. A sannyasin regards his body as a corpse, as he has thoroughly destroyed the body-idea.

Serve others with all sincerity which in truth is service to himself in the form of purification of his mind.
There exists no means to satisfy everybody in this world. This world is a mixture of three Gunas.

A sincere prayer gives tremendous strength and removes evil thoughts. Faith in God is the one unfailing antidote for fear. May Lord bless you and all devotees".

In the next letter dated 9 April 1957, the Master wrote, "God's Word and His law shall ever come to stay and prevail upon this earth; all seeming obstacles shall soon pass away, when the Light of Divine descends in all its terrific splendour and gushing forth. Adharma has never lived on; Dharma has ever lived and is eternal.

Invoke always God's Grace and with His Name ever in thy heart engage in the spreading of the Gospel of Divine Life. No difficulty shall ever touch you and your work. With God's Name on thy lips always, carry on the work of the Mission. Dedicate totally unto His work and all these will vanish away and His Light will shine forth.
Have intense faith, living faith in Him and His Law. Have intense faith in His Grace and in the redemption of all mankind unto Divine Life".

Pujya Swami Sahajananda's audio message reverberated with spiritual eloquence and the supreme powers of God and the Guru. Referring to God's and the Master's benevolence, Pujya Swamiji said, "...go home today and see what the Master has given you, and call for his protection. In the last few months, or few weeks, we've been having many stories from our devotees – how Gurudev protects. We've recorded a number of them, so many of you have missed them. They are so marvellous and thrilling. Only God can protect us today, and you must learn to call, call and call. That is a new Yoga – "Calling Yoga". Referring to a friend who was held up at gun-point even though he was armed with a fire-arm, Pujya Swamiji said, "What can man do when God controls the whole universe?" Pujya Swamiji continued, "...and Guru can do what he wants and do whatever he wants". Pujya Swamiji advised that we should have higher aspirations instead of material wants. He said, "...but we should try to get from the Guru the most precious knowledge. Ask for small things, for money and so on, but don't limit yourself to that. I believe that we should ask God for whatever we want and then go up from there and increase our devotion. In the end ask God for something high".

That we have celebrated Pujya Swamiji's 98th Birth Anniversary this year, and that we will be celebrating his 100th Birth Anniversary in 2025, makes one reminisce, and take cognisance of our own spiritual growth, our commitment to the Mission, our Guru Bhakti and our responsibility towards sustaining Pujya Swamiji's legacy beyond his centenary celebrations. We can do these, by increasing our Sadhana, serving the Society unflinchingly, and by living in the image of our Divine Master and Pujya Swamiji.

The following poignant and eloquent words of Pujya Swami Sahajananda, are notable pointers to us all, now, and in the years ahead. In Path of Divine Grace, Volume 1, Pujya Swami Sahajananda said, "Gurudev, grant this prayer of mine. You are an ocean of unreasoning mercy. Your love-laden eyes ever shine with tenderness. Grant me that my surrender to you will always be flawless and perfect, and that however much I may try to free myself from your divine grasp, you will not allow it. You will never release your hold on me. Grant this heartfelt prayer of mine, Gurudev. Kindly do not lay any conditions".

Last modified on Monday, 17 July 2023 15:04
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