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Established in 1949 by Sri Swami Sivananda

Report: Centenary Celebrations' Satsang - Phoenix Branches

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The first event of Divine Life Society of South Africa's Centenary Celebrations (2024 – 2025), was hosted by our Rydalvale, Westham and Stonebridge Branches at the Rydalvale Ramayan Mundalee (Shree Raam Mandir) in Phoenix on Sunday 11 February 2024. The Celebration was attended by approximately 450 - 500 devotees, well-wishers, members of the public, members of other Hindu organisations, and donors.

It is important to preface this report with the reasons for the Society's Centenary Celebrations. A 100 years ago on 1st June 1924, His Holiness, Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati was ordained as a Sannyasin. His spiritual aura spread across India and the world, and in 1949, Divine Life Society of South Africa was formed by our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, with Sri Swami Sahajananda as the secretary. Hence, the Society is celebrating the centenary of Sri Swami Sivananda's Sannyas Anniversary, and the 75th Anniversary of Divine Life Society of South Africa in 2024. In 2025, the Society will celebrate the 100th Birth Anniversary of Sri Swami Sahajananda.

CCPHX1The Phoenix Celebrations on 11 February 2024 began with a Nagar Sankirtan at 6.15am, wherein devotees walked the streets of Phoenix, chanting the most sacred Sri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram Om Mantra. The powerful vibrations emanating from the harmonious chanting filled the air. A Havan, with the divine chants of sacred Mantras, was a fitting beginning of the most auspicious 100th Sannyas Anniversary of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. After Havan, devotees were treated to a sumptuous breakfast. Thereafter Ganga Arati ensued. The attractive Ganga Rani, with its musically-sweet water fountain, colourful plants and aesthetic rockery, was indeed a sight to behold. For some, this was the first experience of having Mother Ganga's blessings and participating in Ganga Arati.

The Satsang Programme catered for all age groups and inclinations, and comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, a keynote address, the Master's salient teachings encapsulated in the item, Take a Packet of Grace Home Today, a children's item, Gurudev Says, a most beautiful Bharatanatyam Dance by the Shiva Natarajan Dance School under the tutelage of Kumari Pameshree Ganess and Shrimathi Vaneshree Ganess, and a Medley of Kirtans and Bhajans by our Spiritual Darlings, tracing the life of Sri Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh, his life as a Sannyasin, legacy, and his gifts to mankind. The Song of Salutations by our Spiritual Darlings captured the life and teachings of our Master, his Divine personality, attributes and his contributions to the world.

Excerpts from the keynote address provide a gestalt of the Centenary Celebrations, and give readers an insight into the Master's dynamic personality and the contributions of Sri Swami Sahajananda to the spiritual, educational and socio-cultural South African milieu. Selected excerpts appear below:

"Sri Swami Sivananda is an enlightened sage and Jagat Guru, revered amongst the great modern saints in Hinduism. The most salient feature of his life being that he authored in excess of 250 books on all aspects of Hinduism, bringing the teachings of the Vedas and Upanishads to the world in the English medium, so that even a child could read and imbibe them. Sri Swami Sivananda's spiritual force was so immense that those he tutored became great Gurus themselves. He sent them around the world ─ with some founding highly successful organisations of their own. You can read about his life, teachings and miracles in the biography, From Man to God Man written by Sri N. Ananthanarayanan. His teachings are universal, practical in their application, simple and timeless. 

CCPHX2"Sri N. Ananthanarayanan wrote, "The versatile genius of the Master was burning with pure passion to spread the message of our ancient Hindu Dharma, to sow seeds of peace, harmony and goodwill. His prolific pen captured the essence of all scriptures. He devoted his time to promoting Hinduism, unravelling the mysteries of the mind and dealt exhaustively on the various Yogas and health and diet." Former President of India, the late Dr Abdul Aziz Kalam says "I have read Sivananda's books and they have influenced my attitude to a great extent, especially, his book Thought Power. I am a fan of Sivananda's simple, and uncomplicated style of writing". Today when people feel that Hinduism has difficult religious practices, Swami Sivananda showed us that this was not the case. He made religion simple and practical". 

"This year also marks the 75th Anniversary of Divine Life Society of South Africa, and we thank you for celebrating this momentous occasion with us. The story of Divine Life Society of South Africa is inextricably bound to the life of Sri Swami Sahajananda, affectionately known as Pujya Swamiji, who breathed life into every facet of the Society's work in the 58 years during which he was Spiritual Head. He expanded the organisation to 7 Ashrams and 18 Branches/Prayer Groups countrywide. Pujya Swamiji said, "We are not tired of reiterating that the formation, growth and present status of Divine Life Society of South Africa is due entirely to the Grace of our Master, Sri Swami Sivananda". In 1956, on Swami Sahajananda's arrival at Swami Sivananda's Ashram in Rishikesh, he met the Divine Master on his way to the office that morning. Joyously welcoming him, the Master said "Oh! You are doing the work of Avataras."

CCPHX3We congratulate our three branches on an excellent Centenary Celebrations' Programme. All the items were of an excellent standard, insightful, well-rehearsed, sincere and well-presented. The high standard of organisation, attention to detail, smooth execution of items, dignity with which devotees conducted themselves, and the sanctimonious atmosphere are really praiseworthy. The programme was immensely spiritual and uplifting. The harmony with which the branches functioned is remarkable – their efforts being evident in an almost flawless celebration. Our devotees have done Sri Gurudev and Pujya Swamiji proud. The high standards set by the three branches, is a fitting beginning to our Centenary Celebrations, and a great tribute to Sri Swami Sivananda, a man amongst men, a jewel amongst saints and a pearl amongst spiritual giants, and Pujya Swami Sahajananda, South Africa's "Chota Guru" – a title bestowed upon Pujya Swamiji by the Master himself.

 

 

Last modified on Sunday, 25 February 2024 08:52
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Gurudev Centenary 2024

Sri Swami Sivananda

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