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Report: All Souls' Day Maha Yajna

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Hundreds of devotees, well-wishers, donors and members of the public gathered at Sivananda Ghat on Wednesday 1 May 2024 to observe the Special All Souls' Day Satsang and Mahayajna. The programme commenced at 2pm with Ganga Arati, followed by Invocatory Mantras, readings, a message by the guest-speaker, Sri Ish Prahladh, Kirtans, Bhajans and a Mahayajna (Havan). The soulful and divine ambience of the Satsang and Havan, was a fitting tribute to departed souls.

Two inspiring messages were read. The importance of prayer and Kirtan for departed souls was the theme of Sri Swami Sivananda's message. The Master said, "Prayer and Kirtan, good thoughts or good wishes become very helpful to departed souls. They can be of invaluable assistance to the dead. Prayer acts on the principle of a radio station and broadcasts the waves of good thoughts just as the radio station broadcasts waves of sound.

ASDMY2024"Prayer or Kirtan is a mighty force which helps departed souls in their progress towards heaven and their quiet passage through the intermediate state. Departed souls remain in a state of unconsciousness or swoon immediately after death. They cannot feel that they are detached from their previous gross material bodies. Prayers, Kirtan and good thoughts from relatives and friends can give real solace to the departed souls. They create a potent vibration and awakening in their stupefied condition of mind, and restore their consciousness that has been veiled. They then begin to realise that they are not really in their gross material bodies".

Swami Sivananda explained that the weeping and uncontrolled grief of relatives give departed souls pain, and drags them down from their astral planes, thereby producing discomfort for the departed soul. The Master advises that "relatives and friends should do Kirtan and prayers for the peace of the departed souls. Then only can they really help and comfort them. Collective prayer and Kirtan exercise a tremendous influence". He urges us to revive the sacred Vedic religion, to tread the path of truth, to perform the Shraddha ceremony and to fulfil our household duties.

The above message was followed by an excerpt from Sivananda's Gospel of Divine Life, which explains the origin of All Souls' Day. After the morning class the Master told the devotees that henceforth the first of every month will be observed at the Ashram as 'All Souls' Day'. He said, "We should offer special prayer for the peace of all departed souls. In this modernised, materialistic world, Dharma has long ago been lost. Many religions have come into being in India itself that vehemently condemn the practice of ancestor-worship, Tarpana and Shraddha. The departed souls are in great grief. They naturally look to us to help them. We must do this". The Master outlined the programme for the prayer, saying that consecrated food-offerings for the departed souls should be offered, and that there will be a special worship in the Temple. Poor-feeding of the Sadhus should also be done. In the evening, there will be a special Ganga worship in the names of the departed souls.

Pujya Swami Sahajananda's message outlined the role of Sivananda Ghat in the lives of Hindus and especially the bereaved families. He said, "The inspiring sayings in Sivananda Ghat will definitely make many individuals to begin seeking God. Many are going to change their lifestyles. The sayings will also bring peace and solace to bereaved families. Today, sudden calamities shatter the minds of people. Sivananda Ghat will definitely help such individuals. The large amount of spiritual literature taken clearly indicates that today, many who are confronting serious problems, are looking for spiritual guidance. Our Master's book, What Becomes of the Soul After Death, answers many queries about the soul after it leaves the body. It contains valuable information on reincarnation, etc.". He said that the inspiration for the establishment of Sivananda Ghat came mainly from the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. Further Pujya Swamiji said that from the comments and responses of individuals, Sivananda Ghat is bringing about a spiritual awakening and transformation in the lives of many visiting the centre. Visitors and members of bereaved families invariably comment about its serene and tranquil atmosphere, and that "This place is heaven on earth".

ASD 18 2Ish Prahaladh, community leader and our guest-speaker, paid glowing tributes to Pujya Swamiji's contributions to Hinduism in South Africa, the magnanimous work of Divine Life Society of South Africa and the role Sivananda Ghat is playing in the lives of many bereaved families. He alluded to the sanctity of the Sivananda Ghat, and the vast number of rituals and ash disposals, which are testimony to the role of Sivananda Ghat in society. His admiration for the work of the Society, his support of the Society's yeoman service and multifarious activities, and his appreciation and gratitude to Pujya Swami Sahajananda for the establishment of Sivananda Ghat were encouraging, and echo the sentiments of many.

Approximately 230 persons participated in the Mahayajna, offering their obeisance to their departed. The sacred chants of Mantras, the sanctimonious atmosphere and the dignity of the occasion, were characteristics of Pujya Swamiji's vision in holding the All Souls' Day Satsang and Mahayajna.

May our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, Pujya Swami Sahajananda and Paramatma, bless all with peace, bliss and the unceasing desire to continue with prayer for the departed and our Hindu practices, especially amidst our changing times.

Last modified on Thursday, 09 May 2024 05:33
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