Swami Sivananda Ashram “The Divine Life Society”

Swami Sivananda: Founder of the Divine Life Society

Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize.

Bharat has been proud of its galaxy of sages and seers who lived in God, travelled throughout the country, and worked constantly for the spiritual uplift of the whole world. To this lineage belongs the Soul of Ananda Kutir, having descended from one of the saints of the south. Sri Swamiji stands for silently implanting the seeds of the teachings of the two in the hearts of one and all who came within the circle of his influence. His writings on all branches of Yoga, Bhakti and Vedanta have cast forth a new light, a new approach to Vedantic Sadhana, a novel understanding of the sacred literature that so far remained a sealed booklet to many an aspirant unlettered in the domain of Sanskrit, and a new saying that the dissemination of spiritual Knowledge is one of the most unifying and elevating forces on the face of the earth to guide humanity towards the goal of perfection. His efforts at bringing a new heaven on earth through the pursuit of a life in the divine, lovingly termed by him as “Divine Life”, reveal the cosmic and all-embracing vision he has on our spiritual regeneration, reassertion, and steady advancement.

His love for humanity or any living being is not mechanical and never external; for he has immense faith in the innate genius of every individual, whether he is a good man or a rogue or a thief, to harmonize the divine factor in him in the light of a simple ideal. “Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahman” is the one Mantra which he hammers on the mind of one and all, who chance to enter his abode – the saying which centuries ago, at the dawn of civilization, issued forth similarly from the illumined consciousness of the great sages of India, whom he so aptly represents.

One of the greatest saints of modern times, he is the spiritual strength behind the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta centers. Swami Sivananda’s teachings are a fusion of all the formal paths of yoga. He trained many exceptional disciples in yoga and Vedanta.

About The Divine Life Society

The Divine Life Society is a shining example of the creative aspect of the Divinity within man. It is a remarkable achievement of the Founder, His Holiness Sri Swami Sivananda, who from the year 1936, has built up the wonderful mansion of ‘Divine Life’ brick by brick, on the firm foundations of purity, integrity, nobility and magnanimity. The ideals of the Society are lofty, most practicable and within the reach of every human being, irrespective of position, caste, color, country and creed. The Institution caters to the cultural needs of all ranks of people, to whatever class they may belong. Each one can tap whatever suits him the best according to his stature and intellectual or spiritual attainments. The lofty ideal of ‘Divine Life’ has its humble beginning in the building of a true human being, even as the fine superstructure has its small start in the foundation. Just as the strength of a building depends on its foundation which remains silent and invisible, so is the achievement of the Divine dependent on the strenuous preparation of man, to annihilate the animal in him, to develop the human nature and to allow it to blossom into Godliness. Thus there is no Divine Life without one being, or trying to become, human first, and one cannot claim to be a human being merely because he walks on two legs and talks with his tongue. It is our attitude, our behaviour and our dealings with others that go to decide whether we are humans, sub-humans or superhumans. What is our attitude to our fellow-beings, to ourselves and to the Creator? This will decide what we are.

Hence the noble Mission of Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj was to bring about the needed transformation in man, to gradually eradicate the animal in him and to unfold the Divinity within to its perfection. This transformation is needed by everyone, irrespective of caste, creed, color, country, sex, position high or low, and the Society therefore attracts seeking souls from all walks of life and from every country.

The Divine Life Society carries out its object of a world-wide revival of spirituality through publication of books, pamphlets and magazines dealing scientifically with all the aspects of Yoga and Vedanta, universal religion and philosophy, and ancient medicine; holding and arranging cultural and spiritual conferences and discourses; establishing training centres for the practice of Yoga and the revival of true culture; and taking such other steps from time to time as may be necessary for bringing about a quick moral and spiritual regeneration in the world.

This institution serves as a place of preservation of the ancient traditions and cultural practices that has come down as a time-honoured heritage. It has been built up to serve as a model of many-sided, altruistic activity, an ideal to copy, intended to bring about a complete unfoldment of the human personality, and to reveal the essential blending together of all sides of human nature. The Society also functions as an ideal place of spiritual retreat for the educated citizens of the world, wherein he can renew himself and recreate and refresh his being, physically, mentally, morally and spiritually.

About Swami Sivananda

Swami Sivananda dressed to clothe himself, ate to live, and lived to serve humanity. A small dilapidated Kutir (hut), not resorted to by others and infested with scorpions, protected him from rain and sun. Living in that Kutir, he did intense Tapas (austerities), observed silence, and fasted. Often he fasted for days on end. He would keep a good stock of bread in his room, and for a week have this, together with Ganges water. He would stand up to the hips in the ice-cold Ganges in winter mornings and commence his Japa (Prayers), coming out only when the sun appeared. He would spend more than twelve hours in daily meditation. With all his intense Tapas, Swamiji did not neglect service of the sick. He visited the huts of the Sadhus with medicines, served them, and shampooed their legs. He begged food on their behalf and fed them with his own hands when they fell sick. He brought water from the Ganges and washed their Kutirs. He attended upon cholera and small-pox cases. If necessary, he kept vigil through the night by the side of the bed of the ailing Sadhu. He carried sick persons on his back to the hospital. With some money from his insurance policy that had matured, Swamiji started a charitable dispensary at Lakshmanjula in 1927. He served the pilgrims and saw Narayana (Hindu Lord) in them.

He used to gather bits of paper and used envelopes, and stitch them into little notebooks. He entered some self-instructions in them. Some of the instructions found in them read thus: “Give up salt, give up sugar, give up spices, give up vegetables, give up chutnies, give up tamarind”. In another we read: Serve Bhangis (Lower Caste of Hindu Society), serve rogues, serve inferiors, clean toilets, clean clothes of Sadhus – take delight, carry water”. In another page: “Do not revenge, resist not evil, return good for evil, and bear insult and injury”. On some neat little pages we again read: “Forget like a child any injury done by somebody immediately. Never keep it in the heart. It kindles hatred. Cultivate Maitri (friendship), Karuna (compassion), Daya (mercy), Prema (love), Kshama (forgiveness)”. In another paragraph we see: “Develop good manners, extreme politeness, courtesy, etiquette, good demaneaur, nobility, gentleness, mildness. Never be rude, harsh, or cruel. There is nothing to be hated in the world. Hatred is ignorance. All contempt for anything or being must be removed through love and Vichara (enquiry)”.

Swamiji traveled the whole length and breadth of India during his Parivrajaka (wandering monk) life. He visited important places of pilgrimage in the South, including Rameswaram. He conducted Sankirtan and delivered lectures. He visited Aurobindo Ashram and met Maharishi Suddhananda Bharati. At Ramana Ashram, he had Darshan of Sri Ramana Maharishi on the Maharishi’s birthday. He sang Bhajans and danced in ecstasy with the Bhaktas of Ramana. Swamiji went on a trip to Kailas-Manasarovar and Badri.

Swamiji practiced all the various Yogas and studied the scriptures. After years of intense and unbroken Sadhana, he enjoyed the bliss of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. He had come to the end of his spiritual journey.

Courses offered by the Divine Life Society

Teachers Training Course (TTC): This one-month course is a profound experience that helps to establish a firm foundation of inner discipline. The course is based on the traditional gurukula system (‘guru’s house’) in which students live and study with the teacher. The Teachers Training Course (TTC) is an intensive and transformative experience taught by disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda. The curriculum includes instruction in asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, chanting, mantras, yoga philosophy, diet, kriyas (cleansing exercises to purify the body) and study of the Bhagavad Gita.

A sincere desire to learn and openness to yogic techniques is required – a basic knowledge of yoga postures and philosophy is preferred, but not essential.

Students will develop the skills to teach yoga asana as well as improve their own personal practice.

Certificate: An internationally recognized certificate from the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre (ISYVC) organization is awarded on successful completion of the course. The diploma is entitled ‘Yoga Siromani’.

The course is officially recognized by the Yoga Alliance in the USA and Canada for the 200 hours Registered Yoga School Standards.

Advanced Teachers Training Course (ATTC): The Advanced Teachers Training Course (ATTC) is a four-week course designed for graduates of the Sivananda Teachers Training Course (TTC). The course builds on the foundation of TTC allowing students to deepen their spiritual knowledge with intense daily practice of asanas, pranayama and bandhas.

Students study Sanskrit, the Raja Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Vedanta philosophy and anatomy and physiology. The ATTC is a natural step for TTC graduates who would like to expand and deepen their practice and knowledge of yoga.

The ATTC is an intensive and transformative experience. It is taught by senior disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda.

Prerequisite: Advanced Teachers Training Course (ATTC) is open only to Sivananda TTC graduates. A copy of your TTC certificate should be included with the application form.

Certificate: An internationally recognized certificate from the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre organization (ISYVC) is awarded on successful completion of the course. The diploma is titled ‘Yoga Acharya’.

The course is officially recognized by the Yoga Alliance in the USA and Canada for the 500 hours Registered Yoga School Standards.

Sadhana Intensive: Sadhana Intensive is a program devised by Swami Vishnudevananda based on his own hatha yoga sadhana in the Himalayas. Swami Vishnudevananda often said that six months of this intensive practice gave him the energy to carry out his mission of spreading the teachings of yoga in the West for next 40 years.

This course is based on individual self-practice divided into two or three sessions per day. The emphasis is on intense and prolonged pranayama. Students work towards eight hours of hatha yoga per day which is balanced by the study of classical scriptures.

The course demands a high level of self-discipline and students are guided according to individual needs. Students are expected to remain within the ashram premises throughout the course with no free days, no access to telephone or email and a strict sattvic diet (salt, spice, tea and sugar free).

The highly controlled environment is vital for this type of practice.

This two-week course requires some preparation from the student. Interested students are advised to prepare by following a regular daily hatha yoga practice and a sattvic lifestyle. Sound physical and mental health is a pre-requisite.

Sadhana Intensive affords a unique opportunity to extend the limits of our capabilities, strengthen our stamina and develop self-confidence with long lasting effects.The course is taught in English only.

Prerequisite: Sadhana Intensive courses are open only to Sivananda Teachers Training Course (TTC) graduates.

Certificate: An internationally recognized certificate from the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre organization (ISYVC) is awarded on completion of the course. The course is officially recognized by the Yoga Alliance in the USA and Canada. An internationally recognized certificate from the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre (ISYVC) organization is awarded on successful completion of the course. The diploma is entitled ‘Yoga Siromani’.

The course is officially recognized by the Yoga Alliance in the USA and Canada for the 200 hours Registered Yoga School Standards.

Fasting & Detoxification Program: Fasting with Holistic Therapies, Ayurvedic Massage and Colon Cleansing

This program offers a two-week fast on fruit juices and vegetable broth. It includes holistic therapies with herbs, Ayurvedic massage and colon cleansing. During the program the participants will partake in the daily ashram schedule. By combining the practice of yoga and fasting the participants experience transformation not only on the physical level but also on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels. Flower essences, yoga and meditation help this process. As toxins are eliminated a new level of physical, mental and spiritual awareness unfolds.

Yoga and meditation are ideal for the spiritual aspirant when purifying through fasting, they are an important aspect of our Fasting and Detoxification Program. In addition herbs and powders facilitate the removal of toxins from the body. When these poisons are eliminated from our system, negative emotions are also released.

Ayurvedic Wellness Course: This 2 week course held at Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Neyyar Dam is an introduction to Ayurveda, the Science of Life, an ancient Indian holistic approach to achieving and maintaining good health.

The purpose of the course is to give a beginners understanding of the principles of Ayurveda such that one can adjust one’s own lifestyle, and share beneficial information with family, friends, colleagues, for improved health.

The course will cover not only the main principle of Tridosha (one’s natural state of being and imbalances) and simple therapeutic medicinal and massage treatments, but will also look at preventative lifestyle where consideration is given to one’s age, the seasons, climate etc. Students are also expected to participate in the daily ashram schedule including meditation, chanting, selfless service, asana and pranayama. The course is conducted in English with many Sanskrit terms.

A certificate is awarded on successful completion of the course jointly by Dr L. Mahadevan and the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram.

Ayurvedic Abhyanga Course (Ayurvedic Massage): Ayu means life, veda means knowledge, thus Ayurveda means the science or knowledge of life. The system has been in practice for more than 2000 years. It is a therapy as well as a philosophy of living in a meaningful, healthy and useful way. It is an upaveda (ancillary text) of Atharvaveda, as such it is considered as the fifth veda.

This three week course will provide a theoretical and practical approach to Ayurveda. Theory includes Pancabhuta (5 elements) theory, Tridosa (3 physiological qualities) theory, Prakrti body-mind constitution), preventative medicine, seasonal regimens, Ayurvedic diet, Dhatus (the seven body tissues), cause of disease, Ayurvedic pharmacology, diagnosis, treatment principles and Pancakarma (5 cleansing actions).

Practicals include tuition in abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage). During the course participants are expected to strictly follow the ashram schedule including satsang, meditation, asana practice and karma yoga. The course is conducted in English with many Sanskrit terms.

A certificate is awarded on successful completion of the course jointly by Dr L. Mahadevan and the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram.

Panchakarma Detoxification Program: A 14 day programme held at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, Neyyar Dam, Kerala. Panchakarma means ‘five treatments’ to remove toxins from the body and to support the natural rhythms of the body. It is a minimum of 14 days preventive and/or curative treatment to detoxify and cleanse the body and mind. It reinforces the immune system and leaves the body healthier, stronger and free from chronic ailments. The Panchakarma Detoxification Program is an unique opportunity to cleanse and rejuvenate physically and mentally in a pure, spiritual, yogic environment. One should approach the program with the idea to retreat from normal life and use the time to connect to body, mind and soul. During the stay in the ashram one can also benefit from the ‘5 Points of Yoga’ i.e.

  • Proper exercise – Asana
  • Proper breathing – Pranayama
  • Proper relaxation – Savasana
  • Proper diet – Vegetarian
  • Positive Thinking (Vedanta) and Meditation.

Panchakarma treatment is also indicated for healthy persons as it will boost the immune system. During the treatment program one will be provided with information about Ayurveda, Panchakarma and how to follow an Ayurvedic diet according to your constitution. Special treatments are also available for: rheumatoid arthritis, back pain, neck pain, and disc problems including slipped disc, degenerative diseases, anxiety and other mood disorders.

Kids Camp: The discipline of yoga and the fun of camp

The camp combines the discipline of yoga and the fun of camp. The program allows children to understand the principles of vegetarianism, respect for all religions, develop a love and respect for nature. Children are able to identify with the inner self within a group setting by practicing yoga. Yoga asana, meditation, breathing, relaxation, swimming, games, chanting and lectures are some of the daily activities. Organized day trips to places of interest are also part of the program. The camp is for children between 7 – 11 years of age.

 

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Contact:

Sivananda Ashrama, the Divine Life Society:

Address: Sivananda Ashram, Divine Life Society, P. O. Sivanandanagar, Dist. Tehri-Garhwal, 249 192

Phone: 91-1364-31190.

Enquiries: yogaindia@sivananda.org

Web: http://www.sivananda.org//india/

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