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Report: Centenary Celebrations' Satsang - Cape Town

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Divine Life Society of South Africa’s Cape Town Prayer Group hosted the Society’s Centenary Celebrations’ Satsang, commemorating Sri Swami Sivananda’s Sannyas Centenary, at the Radha Krishna Mandir in Rylands, Cape Town, on Saturday 11 May 2024 at 3pm. The Satsang was preceded by Ganga Arati, which was a unique and new experience to many. The Satsang programme comprised Kirtans, Bhajans, a message from the Society, a dance item, a forum discussion by the youth girls on Swami Sivananda’s cardinal teachings, and a video on the performance of Agnihotra. More than 200 devotees, well-wishers, members of sister-organisations and members of the public attended the celebrations.

CPT CTNY24The message from the Society traced the illustrious life and teachings of Swami Sivananda and the contributions of Swami Sahajananda, Spiritual Head of Divine Life Society of South Africa. It also impressed upon all the importance of individual and collective Sadhana for spiritual growth. An excerpt from the message captures the gestalt hereof: “In the midst of the very hectic lives that we lead, we encourage all to choose any one Mantra that you may have an affinity for, and to chant it day and night. A short Mantra like Om Sri Ram or Om Nama Sivaya may be repeated, and children can be taught this Mantra as well. It should be chanted before going to bed, on awakening, and especially when leaving home. We also encourage you to learn and recite the Sri Hanuman Chalisa which has tremendous power and benefits”.  Alluding to the importance of Satsangs and Sunday Schools, the message stated, “We encourage all to take advantage of weekly Satsangs available at this Temple, and encourage all parents and grandparents to send their children to Sunday Schools and Satsangs at Temples and Ashrams, so that they may be equipped to face the challenges of life, and to face criticism and attacks on our Sanathan Dharma. It is up to each of us to ensure that Hinduism is kept alive, and that we  pass on our glorious Hindu Dharma to future generations. We note that there is a positive regeneration of Hinduism around the globe, and we encourage all to become practising Hindus even if you just repeat the Divine Name daily for a few minutes every morning and evening. It can’t get any simpler!” 

The Bharatanatyam Dance by the School of Aaraadhana, was an invocation to the Temple Deity, so as to purify and sanctify the devotees and the Temple precincts. The three dancers performed with distinction. Their rhythmic and well-choreographed movements lent grace and beauty to the item.  

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The youth girls’ forum discussion, entitled, “Take A Packet of Grace Home Today”, focused on the cardinal teachings of Sri Swami Sivananda, namely: Hinduism, Satsang, prayer, meditation, benefits of chanting Mantras, Brahmacharya, importance of a Guru, the Spiritual Diary, Law of Karma and Swami Sivananda’s Integral Yoga. Relevant to all is the Master’s advice on Sadhana. He said, “…Stern self-discipline is absolutely essential. Self-discipline does not mean suppression, but taming the brute within. It means humanisation of the animal and spiritualisation of the human. The spiritual path is rugged, thorny, and precipitous. The thorns must be weeded out with patience and perseverance. Some of the thorns are internal; some are external. Lust, greed, wrath, delusion and vanity are internal thorns”.

The video on Agnihotra gave the congregation an insight into the benefits of the performance of Agnihotra, its methodology, the Mantras to be recited and the ingredients required. Agnihotra is an ancient Vedic practice, and is also known as the “Fires of Heaven”.  It is considered one of the most potent rituals for purification of the environment and for promoting mental and spiritual well-being. Agnihothra is performed precisely at sunrise and sunset, so that we harness the energy of the sun. A copper vessel called an “Agnihotra Kund”, cow dung, clarified or butter ghee and paddy rice are the items required.

The sunrise Mantra is

Sooryāya Swāhā, Sooryāya Idaṃ Na Mama

Prajāpataye Swāhā, Prajāpataye Idaṃ Na Mama

The sunset Mantra is:

Agnaye Swāhā, Agnaye Idaṃ Na Mama

Prajāpataye Swāhā, Prajāpataye Idaṃ Na Mama

Agnihotra is believed to have profound effects on the environment and on one’s well-being. It purifies the atmosphere, neutralising harmful pollutants and negative energies. It creates a protective shield around the practitioner, promoting physical, mental, and spiritual healing, and was strongly recommended by Pujya Swami Sahajananda.

The bookstall, resplendent with Swami Sivananda’s books, CDs of Kirtans, Bhajans and talks, picture frames and memorabilia, attracted great interest, such that many members of the public bought spiritual literature. The distribution of our Master’s literature and teachings in the Western Cape at this Satsang and on other occasions by the Cape Town Prayer Group is helping to spread the message of Divine Life in this part of South Africa.

The Society’s Cape Town Prayer Group is commended on an excellent Centenary Celebrations' Satsang Programme. All items were of a high 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 sanctified atmosphere augur well for the future of our Cape Town Prayer Group. 

The Centenary Celebrations’ Satsang in the Western Cape, is again a great tribute to Sri Swami Sivananda on his Sannyas Centenary, and to Pujya Swamiji’s distinguished spiritual work and yeoman service to the poor and needy in South Africa. 

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Last modified on Wednesday, 05 June 2024 09:32
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