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June 2002
News and Reports From The Divine Life Society Headquarters

Sri Ramanavami Celebrations
Service of the Sick and Needy
Yoga-Vedanta Course
Sri Adi Sankaracharya Jayanti

Sri Ramanavami Celebrations

This year Sri Ramanavami was celebrated on a grand scale on the 21st of April at Sivanandashram’s Viswanath Mandir where the idols of the deities Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman are also installed. The entire temple had been spruced up for the sacred occasion and this year’s celebration witnessed a special feature which greatly added to the festivity and solemnity of the function. This was the Parayana of the Ramacharitamanas in chorus by the Sannyasins and Sadhaks of the Ashram for nine days prior to the Ramanavami day, daily for about three hours from 9 a.m. to 12 Noon, starting from 12th April. It was indeed a delightful sight to see and a spiritual feast for the ears. During the same period there was also RAMA NAMA Sankirtan daily in the afternoon, charging the whole place with spiritual vibrations. An Akhanda Kirtan of the Mantra ‘Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram’ was also performed for 24 hours, culminating in the Prabhat Pheri (early morning procession) on 21st April, the holy Ramanavami day. The idols were beautifully decorated and the Pujas conducted elaborately with Abhisheka and Archana till the auspicious moment of mid-day ushered in the advent of the Avatara of Lord Rama, synchronising with the sacred readings of the appropriate portions from the Valmiki Ramayana and Sri Ramacharitamanas. This was followed by Arati and distribution of sacred Prasad.

At the evening Satsanga, H.H. Sri Swami Jivanmuktanandaji Maharaj, General Secretary, delivered a discourse bringing out the esoteric significance of the epic Ramayana and also shedding light on the spiritual import of the exemplary characters portrayed therein such as Sita, Hanuman, Bharata etc. This was followed by the rendering of Bhajans and Kirtan on the glory of Lord Rama.

May the blessings of Lord Rama and Sri Sadgurudev be upon all devotees!


Service of the Sick and Needy Through Sivananda Home (Lakshman Jhula Medical Centre)

Sivananda Home, situated near Lakshman Jhula, is part of The Divine Life Society Headquarters activity. It is a place of refuge for poor people in need of medical care or shelter, and having neither anybody to take care of them nor any place to go. Besides long-term patients, otherwise called permanent inmates, who are required to stay for even 3 or 4 years, new cases continue to come.

l. One of the admissions in May 2002 has been the son of a shopkeeper in U.P, who had gone for Yatra and landed up in a fight in Hardwar, where he was pushed into fire and had both his legs burnt severely. Only after three months he got himself treated, but sitting in the same position due to pain had caused contraction of both legs, immobilising him totally. He was brought to Sivananda Home via the Ashram.

2. Both eyes infected, hands deformed and ulcers under the foot, a 35-year-old leprosy patient was admitted on May 8th. Having the disease and deformity since more than 10 years, he completed the common leprosy treatment long ago, but he could not get married. Due to neglect and carelessness, ulcers continued to appear. He was taking care of his mother till recently when she passed away. Even as he was proposing to end his life in utter despair, Gurudev took him into His shelter.

3. A TB patient in the last stage, who had been lying on the road in the hot sun suffering from breathlessness and dehydration, was admitted on May 10th and given all possible care. He however passed away after 5 days.

4. Then there is the case of the 15-year old girl and her father, a TB patient, both abandoned by their relatives. The girl’s mother had died many years back and her father passed away in Sivananda Home last year. One month later, in November, she was taken care of by foster parents, when her TB test reported negative. But for unknown reasons the fosters refused to take care of her any longer and brought her back and now she is being given care and attention at the Centre.

5. A 30-year old man, lying in front of the Ashram, was calling for help at night, not able to pass urine and stool the whole day, and having terrible abdominal pain. Immediately he and his friend were taken by Sevaks of Sivananda Home to the hospital in Rishikesh, where after investigations the problem was diagnosed as perforation of the intestines. After a critical day and night, two blood transfusions and surgical operation followed, and he is in the hospital improving slowly now.

6. Found sitting near the Ashram gate on her own refuse, a retarded girl, about 18 years old and in pregnant condition was brought to Sivananda Home on May 11th. After taking her to the gynaecologist she was said to be almost 8 months pregnant besides suffering from anaemia and syphilis. Medical treatment, high protein diet and training in bath and toilet are going on, but she seems to be unaware of her condition. She hardly talks, but the smile on her face is filled with anxiety.

7. All the way from Calcutta they have come: wife, husband and two children (boy 11, girl 9 years old); mother (32 yrs.) having cancer in abdomen. Last year in August she delivered twins, but both the children died. Her uterus had been removed. She was having chronic abdominal pain; investigations were done and cancer was diagnosed. Chemotherapy had been given in a cancer centre in Calcutta; but doctors gave up hope and discharged her. Outside the abdomen a big swelling is visible. Her husband had to carry her, because of weakness and severe pain. Being a labourer, all his income was spent for her treatment. Though as per medical opinion the mother may not recover, medicines to reduce the pain and nausea give some relief. The husband’s right leg is swollen all over due to a disease in the veins and he has to be operated. Both children have got used to serving their parents. Sivananda Home has been giving them all possible help.

8. A 32 year-old mother with three children, left by her husband ten years ago, has come from a village about 15 kms from here; she was brought by a neighbour (May 22nd). She has a severe infected wound on her left ankle, with necrosis and maggots inside. She mentioned her inability to walk and not wanting to leave her children as the reason for her arriving, in such an advanced stage of her illness.

9. On May 20th, a young Sannyasin was brought from the Ganga bank, suffering from TB, anaemia and weighing 32 kgs. He had come from Rajasthan, on a pilgrimage to Kedarnath, accompanied by a friend. He has been admitted in a separate room; investigations are going on and treatment has been started.


Inauguration Of The 40th Basic Yoga-Vedanta Course At The Divine Life Society Hqrs.

The 40th two-month Basic Yoga-Vedanta Course commenced on Thursday the 1st March, 2002. Thirty six students from thirteen states of our country enrolled for this Course.

Prof. Ved Prakash Groverji, Registrar of the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy, welcomed the Swamijis, the students, members of the faculty, guests and visitors who had assembled at the inaugural function. His Holiness Sri Swami Jivanmuktanandaji Maharaj, General Secretary, lighted the Deepa as a mark of the auspicious commencement of the course and blessed the participants.

Addressing the students, Swamiji Maharaj said that they had come from different parts of India, with varying background and many of them were specialised in their respective fields of study and profession. They also had some spiritual background but were desirous of knowing more to enrich their spiritual life. Swamiji said that they could look forward to receive what they sought from this Academy and from the various learned professors.

Swamiji also said that although they were proficient in their respective fields, the students nevertheless had an inner feeling of incompleteness and sense of want. We may be able to control others but when we have to exercise control over ourselves we find it very difficult. It shows that there is a wide gap between what we wish and what we actually do. We can correct a hundred people but without correcting ourselves. Our personality is such a complex one.

In the curriculum of the Academy one will find a little of everything one needed for a harmonious and peaceful life including various programmes for self-culture and personality development. Swamiji said that the students had come to the holy Ashram of Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj and they should make the best use of their two months stay in the Ashram. They should try to break their old conditioning by deconditioning themselves and they should further recondition themselves to new values in life. This can be achieved by following Gurudev’s Twenty Spiritual Instructions. Getting up early in the morning at 4.00 a.m. would change their nature. Likewise the practice of Asana-Pranayama and meditation would change the nature of the body, vital force and mind. The Academy provided not just information, but practical wisdom to bring about a transformation in the personality of the students. Swamiji also requested the students to introspect during the period of two months of the Course and see how far they had changed.

H.H. Sri Swami Premanandaji Maharaj in his inaugural address said that the human body has been given to us to reach the source from where we have come. Our real home, our Father is God and it is our birthright to realise God and enjoy everlasting bliss. Therefore each one of us has to try for the same as we are blessed with the human body and precious opportunities. Now it depends entirely upon us to utilise these in order to realise the_ goal so that the cycle of birth and death ends for ever. Swamiji blessed the students and formally inaugurated the course.


Sri Adi Sankaracharya Jayanti at Sivananda Ashram

The sacred Jayanti of Jagadguru Sri Adi Sankaracharya was celebrated at the Ashram on the 17th May, 2002. The function commenced at 9.a.m. with Kirtan and Bhajan, after which there were discourses by several Mahatmas. The graceful statue of the Acharya in the Vishwanatha Mandir was beautifully decorated with flower garlands and the function was held in the temple premises.

Addressing the devotees on the holy occasion, H.H. Sri Swami Jivanmuktanandaji Maharaj, General Secretary, elaborated on the unique three-fold contribution of the Great Acharya to the spiritual world at large. The first of these was the founding of the Dasanami Sannyasa Order which provides, even today, an ideal opportunity and station in life to the sincere seeker to understand, appreciate and put into practice the higher spiritual values of life. Secondly, the Acharya had established four Maths (Mutts) in all the four corners of India for unifying the Hindu religion. These monasteries, and the Ashrams that have sprung therefrom, such as our Sivananda Ashram, play a vital role in the dissemination of spiritual knowledge and provide an ideal environment for the sincere pursuit of Sadhana. The Divine Life Society caters to the spiritual needs of seekers, in fact, in all stations of life. Thirdly, it was indeed Sankara who had not only revived the Hindu religion but also systematised the entire Vedic Philosophy and unravelled the methodology of opening the treasury of Wisdom using the key of Reason. Parampara (disciple succession), Place, and Knowledge of the Supreme Identity—these three aspects of the Acharya’s unique contribution stand out unparalleled in the spiritual world, Swamiji Maharaj said. Sri Swamiji invoked the Blessings of the Lord on all devotees.

Thereafter, H.H. Sri Swami Premanandaji Maharaj spoke on the teachings of Vedanta propounded by the Great Guru, specifically throwing light on the word ‘Mithya’ used therein; ‘Mithya’ does not mean absolute non-existence but simply relative existence, which is the characteristic of the world. Swamiji Maharaj also recounted a few interesting as well as instructive anecdotes from the life of the Jagadguru.

Before concluding, H.H. Sri Swami Madhavanandaji Maharaj in his Upadesa said how the Great Acharya came to the rescue of the entire mankind by giving his great Gospel in the form of his celebrated Bhashyas. Sri Swamiji also emphasised the need to follow the sublime teachings of Sankara and cultivate Guru-Bhakti in order to attain perfection in life.

A dedicated worship of the Acharya was then performed in which all the devotees who had assembled—Sannyasins, Vanaprasthis, householders and visitors, and Brahmacharis—participated. It was indeed a joyous sight to see everyone offering flowers in great reverence while the sacred Namavali was being recited. The function came to a close with the distribution of the holy Prasad. May the Blessings of Jagadguru Adi Sankaracharya be upon one and all.


Last Updated: Monday, 21-Feb-2005 20:54:27 EST
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