At a colourful ceremony at the Westville campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Sports Centre on Friday, 18 April 2008, the degree, Doctor of Theology, honoris causa, was posthumously conferred upon Swami Sahajananda.
Professor Dasarath Chetty, Head of the Department of Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, paid high tribute to Swami Sahajananda. He said, “Sri Swami Sahajanandaji Maharaj was a rare and unique individual whose selfless work in the cause of social and spiritual upliftment is of historic significance. I had the honour of meeting Swami Sahajananda last year and was struck by his saintliness and humility. It was indeed a humbling experience that I will always cherish.
“On learning of his passing away on 10 December 2007, President Mbeki said, ‘The Divine Life Society has stood out as one of the beacons of this country. Swami Sahajananda has dedicated his life to serve the poorest of the poor in our country.’
“Swami Sahajananda has left a legacy of compassion, humbleness and selflessness that is the historical preserve of very few. The University of KwaZulu-Natal pays tribute to his memory as a man who inspired our country.”
Dr Vidyanand, co-chairman of the Society, received the Doctorate on behalf of the Society and presented an inspiring address. We quote an excerpt from the address: “Swamiji’s words were very few, but his actions were many. His magnetic personality attracted many devotees who were inspired and committed to perform the various service activities of the Society. He manifested great humility, love and compassion as he served human beings of all racial, cultural and religious groups. Pujya Swamiji was equally concerned with the decline in social and other evils that have invaded our society. He lost no opportunity in disseminating the Master’s sublime teachings on correct conduct and ethical values through books, framed pictures, colourful duratrans, etc. in order to transform society. He wrote, ‘The writings of Swami Sivananda are unique and unparalleled in spiritual literature. The instructions are universal in appeal and intensely practical in their application and will effectively solve and dissolve all the problems and trials of daily life. Peace, the priceless commodity that you are searching for is locked within your own heart, in the Divine dwelling there in all His splendour and majesty. Search for it there and enjoy everlasting happiness.’ “
On 24 June 2007, at the Sivananda International Cultural Centre, in paying tribute to the six individuals who were chosen to receive the honorary doctorates, Professor Dasarath Chetty singled out Swami Sahajananda with the following significant statement: “His work is unparalleled in the history of the country”.
In the speech prepared on 25 November 2007 for the Richards Bay Awards Presentation Ceremony, Swamiji wrote: “Everything that we have done is due to the Grace of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. I have said many times that although I was not qualified to do this work, the Master forced me to start the Divine Life Society and made me its first secretary. It was an unusual situation, the chairman was the Master in Rishikesh, India, the secretary here in South Africa, and no other members! The formation, growth and present status of Divine Life Society of South Africa is entirely due to his Grace. So, I gladly accept these most prestigious awards on his behalf. These awards will give inspiration to our devotees to continue their service activities with greater zeal and enthusiasm.”
Divine Life Society of S.A. expresses its sincere thanks to the University of KwaZulu-Natal for recognizing Swami Sahajananda as an educationist and a humanitarian who has made a significant contribution to our country by conferring the degree, Doctor of Theology, honoris causa upon him. Swami Sahajananda’s spirit lives on and his work will continue.