Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

Established in 1949 by Sri Swami Sivananda

Physical Address: Sivananda Avenue, Sivananda Nagar, La Mercy

GPS Co-ordinates: 29 Deg 37 Mins 10.08 Sec South; 31 Deg 08 Mins 33.31 Sec East

Directions to Sivananda International Cultural Centre, Sivananda Nagar, La Mercy:

From Durban city centre, take the M4 (Stanger Street) northwards past Umhlanga, until you cross over the Umdloti River and reach the first traffic circle labeled Desainagar. Go left at the traffic circle and then take an immediate right. At the shopping complex, the road bears left onto Park Avenue. Follow Park Avenue and take a left onto End Street, which becomes Sivananda Avenue. Follow this road until the end and you will find the Ashram complex on your right. There are also signs labeled "Sivananda Cultural Centre" to help you along your way from the traffic circle. The Ashram can also be found using "Sivananda Avenue" or "End Street, La Mercy" on a GPS navigation system.

If you are on the N2 going north, take the Verulam/Umdloti offramp, which is the alternate route marked A. At the end of the offramp, turn right onto the M27, and within 200 meters take a left onto the M4 to Ballito. On crossing the Umdloti River, continue as above.

Physical Address: 513 Mountbatten Drive, Reservoir Hills, Durban, 4091.

Postal Address: P.O.Box 65282, Reservoir Hills, Durban, South Africa, 4090.

Telephone: +27(0)31 262 2314 | Fax: +27(0)31 262 3248

GPS Co-ordinates: 29 Deg 48 Mins 03.44 Sec South; 30 Deg 57 Mins 18.26 Sec East

Directions to Sivanandashram, Reservoir Hills:

From Durban, take the N2 north towards Stanger. Take the Inanda Road offramp, and turn left at the first set of traffic lights onto the M19 going towards Pinetown. Take the next offramp. At the traffic lights turn right onto Mounthbatten Drive. Pass 2 sets of traffic lights and the Ashram is on the right hand side, address 513 Mountbatten Drive.

It has already been pointed out that according to the teachings of the sages and our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, God dwells in all names and forms. That is why our Spiritual Darlings are taught to respect and treat with care even inanimate objects like a chair, table, etc. If such is the case, care and respect for animals, birds. and plants should be even more so.

Parents must inculcate in Spiritual Darlings reverence and protection of nature, and love and kindness for birds, animals and plants. Kindness and compassion for all dumb creatures should be developed from early childhood. Any type of cruelty to animals indulged in by children in early life will have a repercussion in later life.

There have been many cases reported where children who were cruel to animals, later turned out to be murderers. When Spiritual Darlings commence to be cruel, whether in relation to their playmates or towards animals and birds, it is a sign that should alarm their parents.

Allowing Spiritual Darling to be cruel to animals will root out from their tender hearts every feeling of compassion and pity. It is true that treatment of animals has an influence on the character of the Spiritual Darling.

Parents should take time off to teach their Spiritual Darlings how to be kind to animals. They should be taught that kindness and mercy to human beings are virtues of true manhood and womanhood. Regular daily prayer, Bhajan and attendance at the Yoga Camps will be futile if Spiritual Darlings practise cruelty towards animals and birds.

The practice of kindness to helpless creatures is of greater value in the formative years than arithmetic, reading and writing. Such training would make Spiritual Darlings more responsible individuals, nobler adults and better citizens.

Animals are part of our world. They feel pain and hunger just like human beings. The life of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, is a most illuminating example of how to show kindness and compassion to animals, birds, snakes and fish. He upheld the rights of animals, and showed strong disapproval if anyone infringed upon their freedom.

Spiritual Darlings must be taught that every kindness shown, every service rendered, either to a person or to a dumb creature, does them more good than the one for whom they do it.

Under no circumstances should parents allow Spiritual Darlings to undertake animal experiments at school. The vivisecting of small animals is a ghastly deed, and destroys all sentiments of love, compassion and kindness in the hearts of children.

Learning to be kind and just to all helpless life, will help Spiritual Darlings to develop their character. It will instil in their young hearts a sense of responsibility, pity and compassion, thus preparing them to become nobler citizens. 

If spiritual life forms the main foundation of the household, then everything else goes on smoothly. If parents and their Spiritual Darlings take complete refuge in God and in the Guru, then all problems, whether mental, physical or material can be solved without much difficulty. God or the Guru takes complete charge of those who surrender to Him. This is indeed the goal of this human birth.

1. Both parents and their Spiritual Darlings should be trained to perform daily Bhajan and Kirtan. They should study holy scriptures and the books of saints and sages. If Spiritual Darlings are taught to sit in silence with closed eyes and perform their Japa or recitation of the Divine Name, they will soon develop a serene and peaceful attitude.

Spritual Darlings of today are extremely restless. They cannot sit still even for a few seconds. Sitting in silence during Satsang, and during the morning or evening prayers, will help them to overcome their restless nature.

Reflexology is a very effective method of calming Spiritual Darlings when they are inclined to get restless.

2. Spiritual Darlings should be thoroughly trained to take refuge in God, in the Guru, and in the Divine Name. This can be done through regular daily prayer and attendance at Satsangs. The one day monthly Yoga Camp is a must for all Spiritual Darlings of the Divine Life Society. They should be taught how to call for God during times of temptation and danger. The power and glory of the Divine Name should be brought home to them. They should be taught to repeat the Divine Name at all times during the course of the day.

3. If Spiritual Darlings know how to call for God or the Guru, and how to take refuge in the Divine Name, they will be able to meet all dangers, trials and temptations successfully.

Spiritual Darlings of the Divine Life Society are taught to repeat the formula: Gurudev, please protect me, Gurudev, when they encounter any danger and temptation. They are taught to keep the Sri Ram Mantra always on their lips. They repeat the Mantra the last thing when they are about to fall asleep, and the first thing when they wake up in the morning. They are taught to always keep in mind the following powerful formula: "When Gurudev or God is near why should I fear."

The above positive attitude will also help them in their performance at school. It will give them more concentration and will-power.

It must be clearly noted that without a firm spiritual foundation, success in bringing up Spiritual Darlings will not be easy.

Prayer & Service

Regular daily prayer at home in the morning and evening should form the most important routine of both parents and their Spiritual Darlings.

Early morning meditation, evening Satsang, repetition of the Sri Ram or any other Mantra during the day, reading the Divine Master's books, study of the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata should be taken up either daily or weekly. Regular attendance at Satsangs and Yoga Camps is a must for all. Likhit Japa and some Asanas must be practised by all Spiritual Darlings from an early age.

Selfless service should form an integral part of the life of both parents and Spiritual Darlings. And in this, charity and sharing should play an important part. Our Divine Master was without parallel in the art of charity.

In order to inculcate the spirit of giving, parents should take care to allow the child to make the offering at Satsangs and at places of worship.

Children love to give. Once, a child noticing her father taking out money from his pocket to offer to his Guru, grew eager and impatient to make her offering also, and at once began emptying her father's pocket! Needless to say, the delighted father allowed her to do so.

In conclusion, we may state that that home is heaven on earth where both parents and Spiritual Darlings do daily Bhajan, pray together and lead the Divine Life. Such a home will enjoy peace and harmony. 

The one area in which most parents seem to have great difficulty is that of discipline. Often parents unknowingly impose negative forms of discipline that have far-reaching effects on Spiritual Darlings. Negative forms of discipline include the use of corporal punishment and psychological abuse, which frustrate children and make them defiant.

The following guidelines offer positive disciplinary codes of conduct.

1. Love and discipline should go together.

2. Discipline is quite necessary as the Spiritual Darlings are innocent and continuously learning, with the parents being their foremost teachers.

3. The most important thing in dealing with your Spiritual Darlings is to practise the art of praise, appreciation and encouragement. Always attempt to be positive, and avoid negative comments about the child. Believe in them, so that they can believe in themselves and emphasize their assets and strong points. Acknowledge their attempts to complete their allotted tasks. Also point out your joy at any improvements. This will help build their self-confidence.

4. Spiritual Darlings want the attention of their parents. Parents must ensure that they get this attention for good behaviour and not for being mischievous. This can be achieved by praising good deeds and ignoring minor faults and mischiefs that are not embarrassing and destructive.

5. Parents should let their Spiritual Darlings face the consequences of their actions (within obvious limits of safety). For example, if the child forgets his jersey let him feel the cold.

6. State clearly the mutually accepted basic rules and the consequences of breaking them. Be consistent in applying the rules. However, if new information regarding an issue becomes available, be flexible and adapt your interpretation to the situation.

7. Parents should strictly monitor the viewing of TV, as a lot of havoc is caused by it. If possible it should be given up completely. In the booklet Solving the Problems of Kali Yuga it is stated how our spiritual merits are lost through bad company, free mixing with the opposite sex, reading books dealing with murder, sex and violence, visiting gambling houses and liquor shops, and witnessing or participating in vulgar dancing, etc.

Parents should also keep a vigilant eye on their Spiritual Darlings to ascertain whether they are associating with bad company, taking drugs, indulging in immoral acts, etc. Many of these habits are acquired by watching TV, or while they are at school. Steps should be taken to counteract these habits.

8. Regular practice of Yoga Asanas, physical exercises and games are absolutely necessary. Spiritual Darlings must be trained to "go beyond the comfort zone". This will develop will-power and physical strength. They must be encouraged to do physical work that is demanding. This will make them tough. Spiritual Darlings should not be unduly protected from rain and sun. This would make them less hardy. If they perform difficult and responsible tasks at home, they will grow strong enough to meet the challenges at school. They will not succumb to peer pressure.

9. Use the power of free and sincere communication and interaction. Use reason to make Spiritual Darlings see and understand their bad behaviour. Teenagers especially feel highly elated if they are consulted in family matters and decision making. This is one way in which to approach the teenager in a positive manner by building his self-esteem and increasing his sense of responsibility.

10. Withdraw certain meaningful privileges if Spiritual Darlings are dishonest or naughty.

11. "Time-out" or a period of removal to a quiet place until the Spiritual Darling is ready to behave appropriately is very effective, especially in the middle childhood period.

12. Ignoring temper-tantrums, especially in the young Spiritual Darling, is very necessary. In this way the parent does not fan the flame of anger and frustration but allows it to die down, after which the parent can speak to the Spiritual Darling and try to understand the frustration that is causing the tantrum. It is a well-known fact that Spiritual Darlings sometimes use a temper-tantrum to gain parental attention.

13. Attention-seeking behaviour is usually presented in the form of negative, destructive behaviour, which often elicit negative response from the parent. Be careful of this and do not react negatively. Ignore the negative behaviour of the Spiritual Darling until he quietens down, and then in a positive and firm manner talk to him and offer appropriate guidelines for acceptable behaviour.

14. In conclusion we would like to state that the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, was quite firm in the matter of disciplining Spiritual Darlings. Said the Master in one of his poems written about fifty years ago: "Children should not be allowed to indulge in reading novels, attending the cinema and smoking. If they persist in these evil habits make them starve for one full day!"

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Gurudev Centenary 2024

Sri Swami Sivananda

(1887 - 1963)

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