Guru Purnima, the most auspicious day in the calendar of spiritual seekers, was celebrated the world over on Tuesday, 16 July 2019 to worship and offer gratitude and appreciation to the Spiritual Masters for their guidance, spiritual wisdom and enlightenment. It is the day when seekers take stock of themselves and very importantly make fresh resolves to aid them on the spiritual path. Devotees of Divine Life Society of South Africa assembled at 6am at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, to pay homage and express their gratitude to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, and Pujya Swami Sahajananda.
The Mahasamadhi Day Satsang of our Divine Master was observed on Sunday, 14 July at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, attracting devotees from many parts of the province.
Our Divine Master Sri Swami Sivananda occupied his physical body for almost 76 years, and withdrew from it in 1963. For the last 56 years we have been paying homage to our beloved Master on this day, not only to observe this auspicious event but also to celebrate his great life here on Earth and appreciate the blessings that we have inherited from it. Our Master's life was truly a significant one and perhaps one that has altered the world itself. On this day, we are reminded of the words contained in a biography of our Master:
"For centuries, India has fostered thousands of mystics, Yogis and saints. But the story of Swami Sivananda, a spiritual stalwart of the 20th century, stands out as a unique, inspiring and absorbing one. This is the story of a God-man who, from being a doctor in the Malaysian rubber plantations, rose to become one of India's most revered spiritual leaders."
In celebrating Pujya Swami Sahajananda's 94th Birth Anniversary on Wednesday, 10 July at Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills, we paid homage firstly to our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda for manifesting his Divine Grace in this country and for working through Pujya Swamiji to promote his mission in South Africa. Pujya Swamiji, who earned the respect, admiration and reverence of people of all walks of life, is heralded as one of the greatest sons of Africa. His steadfastness on the spiritual path, devotion to the Master, dedication to the mission, surrender to the Divine and sincerity of purpose resulted in this beacon of light spreading the divine knowledge of the Master to all parts of the globe.
In a letter dated 13 August 1956, the Master wrote a letter to Pujya Swamiji in which he says, "All the letters I get from South Africa, Mombasa and Nairobi contain pages on your glory and the great impression you have created among the devotees. It is all due to the Grace of the Lord and the purity you have attained through Para Bhakti. When you advance in Sadhana, there is a marvellous, mysterious Power coming from every bit of your action and word. May you gloriously prosper".
In the article, "Grace & Self-Effort" the Master states, "Change of your nature and God-realisation cannot come to you as a miracle done by your Guru. The Guru and Shastras can show you the path and remove your doubts. Direct experience of God is left to you to achieve."
The commencement of the 41-day chanting of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa, 11 times daily was on Tuesday, 30 July. The Sri Hanuman Chalisa is very powerful and very effective for the removal of all mental problems. It brings good health, success and prosperity. It cures diseases, counteracts evil forces and the effects of "black magic", which are so prevalent today. It was recommended to us by Pujya Mother Krishnabai of Anandashram, one of the greatest of living saints.
At a well-attended function, the fourth in the series of the Platinum Celebrations of Divine Life Society of South Africa was hosted by our Verulam Branch on Sunday, 30 June at the Kraydeb Conference Centre in Everest Heights, Verulam.
As this event was hosted by our Verulam Branch, the Board of Management, in a special message addressed the residents of Verulam and all present as follows: "Our saints and scriptures tell us that it is a rare privilege to attend Satsang. We invite all residents of Verulam and surrounding areas to make the most of our Ashrams and Branch facilities, and to invite as many as possible to attend our Satsangs and Ganga Aratis as often as possible. We urge all devotees to turn seriously to prayer in this Kali Yuga when calamities and disasters are so prevalent. In highlighting the power of prayer, Sri Swami Sivananda says, 'Prayer cleanses the dross and steadies the mind. It washes off the impurities of the heart with the pure waters of spiritual emotions, corrects the defects and shortcomings, and prepares the mind for the reception of Self-knowledge. In times of danger and calamity, mass prayer works wonders. Prayer for the departed souls bestows peace on them. Prayer is as real as the force of gravity. It can reach a realm where reason is too feeble to enter. It can work miracles. Its magnanimous efficacy is indescribable. Its potency can be hardly comprehended without actual experience'."