This year marks the 70th Anniversary, the Platinum Jubilee of Divine Life Society of South Africa. Pujya Swami Sahajananda, Spiritual Head of the Society, as well as devotees of the Society affirm that the achievements and milestones of the Society are due only to the Grace of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. We are beholden to Pujya Swami Sahajananda for carrying out the explicit instructions of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, to start the Divine Life Society in South Africa.
With the celebrations now taken to branch levels, in terms of its outreach programme, Divine Life Society of South Africa has created further awareness in resuscitating any dormancy that may exist amongst the community. On Sunday, 26 May 2019, there was a combined hosting of this milestone event at Sivanandashram, Chatsworth, 2 Ambassador Road, Unit 1, Havenside, by three branches of the DLS SA, namely, Chatsworth, Kharwastan and Shallcross. An intensive planning exercise, together with two radio presentations and an overview in the community newspaper, held a great advantage in creating awareness to the public. As a result of this, the function unfolded with a promise of being a resounding success. Such awareness taken to the community, added much flavour to furthering the aim of the Society, in disseminating our Master's vast reservoir of Spiritual Literature. We observed with joy that about 450 people responded to our invitation.
A special All Souls' Day Satsang was held at Sivananda Ghat on Wednesday, 1 May 2019, attracting more than 500 devotees, with about 350 participating in the Havan. Being a public holiday, the organisers were able to commence at 2.30pm with invocation, followed by a Havan ceremony for the peace of all departed souls. Our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda wrote the following about these prayers, "The departed souls are in great grief. They naturally look to us to help them. We must do this." And so, on the instruction of our Divine Master, these prayers are conducted on the first of every month.
The Sunlit Path follow-up programme in Phoenix on Thursday, 25 April 2019 took on a different note when Mrs R. Bechoo, Principal of Westham Secondary, in her welcome address, prayed initially for the victims of the recent flood disaster in Durban and other disasters throughout the world. She invited learners to send thoughts of love, protection and goodwill to them. In doing so, the attention of learners was shifted from praying for themselves to cope with their personal challenges to sending prayerful thoughts to those in need. It develops compassion for others.
The Sunlit Path team travelled to Newcastle on Monday, 15 April 2019, in response to appeals from local educators to assist with the escalating rate of drug addiction and other social ills in Newcastle and surrounding regions. Eighty-seven learners from the following four schools were selected to participate: Newcastle High, Panorama Combined School, Lincoln Heights Secondary and Hope High School.
In the welcome address, Mr M. Govender, Principal of Newcastle High School, urged learners to engage with each other in this workshop, to open up their minds and to identify the true purpose of their existence on earth. He said that he hoped that their presence at this workshop will add impetus in the classroom. Mr Govender took pains to elaborate on the motto of Divine Life Society of South Africa: SERVE, LOVE, GIVE, PURIFY, MEDITATE & REALISE. There is so much potential in each word in the motto that if they practice it, they will become true servants of God, he said. He expressed concern about the current decline in values amongst learners and hoped that it will not spiral out of control. Divine Life Society of S.A could be the agents of change to inspire and motivate participants at this workshop. In his closing statement, Mr Govender said that this workshop should impact on the classroom in the home and in the community.
This auspicious event was observed on Wednesday, 10 April 2019 at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, commencing with a morning programme from 6 to 6.45am. The programme comprised Ganga Arati, short invocation, visit to Sahaja Kutir, to Pujya Swamiji's sacred room and to Sahajananda Diamond Jubilee Centre.
In the evening Ganga Arati commenced at 5.30pm, followed by Satsang which commemorated Pujya Swamiji's 63rd Sannyas Anniversary. We celebrate this day each year in order to highlight perhaps the most valued Sannyas initiation event related to our lives in South Africa. Although, Pujya Swami Sahajananda was the recipient of the Master's Grace in 1956, the past, present and future generations of devotees here in South Africa may also be regarded as recipients of his 1956 Grace as well, for the simple fact that all of our lives have been touched, perhaps shaped, by the Grace of Sri Swami Sahajananda, by his presence and work here in South Africa. Our Beloved Pujya Swamiji is often referred to as the greatest Saint that Africa has produced, who worked for about 6 decades, creating for us the best spiritual facilities in the world.