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12 Feb 2008
Simphiwe Mkhize

The departure of the soul of the Divine Life Society founder member Swami Sahajananda to a better place that is beyond this physical world happened unexpectedly, yet his age defies our regrets.

Sivananda, who instructed Sahajananda to start the Divine Life Society in South Africa some decades back, must be very pleased with the amount of charitable work that took place under Sahajananda’s spiritually charged management of the society from those spiritual centres called Reservoir Hills and La Mercy.

I am sad that I could not attend the funeral of a spiritual giant I consider to be nothing less than my own kin. Yet I am glad that the incident eluded my watchful journalistic eye because it was going to cause me great pain since the person who introduced me to the society’s work, my late brother Mlungisi, is no longer here to support me.

It was Sahajananda who personally encouraged my late brother to launch agricultural projects that benefited unemployed women and youths when he was a teacher at Ladysmith, and this experience empowered my late brother as a project manager. What of those many years of spiritual bliss Sahajananda radiated through the print medium or spiritual publications and personal contact with those who saw the Atman in him?

I can still hear his almost hoarse voice that refused to come out due to years of less talk and more action in the service of society. He made me laugh when he told me straight that he was not serving black people in order to be loved by them or to impress them, but he saw God in all in accordance with Swami Sivananda’s teachings. And in so doing, Sahajananda led a section of society to perform deeds that were far superior — acts that transcended race, culture and petty prejudices.

I doubt that there will be another Sivananda in South Africa, but we are glad that divinity paid us a visit during our lifetime. His good soul occupied a small body like that of Mahatma Gandhi and left a colossal mark in our hearts and physical environment alike: the schools, the clinics, the houses for the poor, the spiritual literature and all the charity work that Sahajananda spearheaded with the sound backing of his loyal supporters. And then he quietly left this Earth in December last year.

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