Om Namo Bhagavade Sivanandaya

Established in 1949 by Sri Swami Sivananda

The one day monthly Yoga Camp, held at the Sivananda International Cultural Centre, is attended by 300-400 participants, from pre-school children to senior citizens. The camp session commences at 06:00 and terminates at about 12:00pm on a Sunday.

The Yoga Camp has two main aims: Firstly, to impart to all participants the most inspiring and practical teachings of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda. The second aim is to teach and encourage participants to do spiritual practices daily, not just once a week or once a month.

For this purpose the Society devised a simple spiritual diary in which the Spiritual Darlings record their daily practice of Japa, Pranayama, Asanas and Likhit Japa, as well as Smaran (remembrance of God during the day).

Spiritual Darlings from pre-school age to University students are trained to keep the spiritual diary. Some senior boys and girls spend even up to one and a half hours daily in their morning prayer and Japa.

The spiritual diaries are scrutinised at the Yoga Camp and colourful stamps are awarded to the children. The group that produces the highest percentage of diaries is awarded a floating trophy.


Participants at the Yoga Camp are divided into the following groups:

Pre-School Group: This group has to memorise the simple sentences from a delightful book especially prepared for them, called God is My Friend. It is beautifully illustrated with multi-colour pictures of Hindu Deities, birds, flowers, animals, etc. Lord Krishna's stunningly beautiful picture adorns the cover.

Grade 1-3: Divine Life for Children is the textbook for this group. It contains useful moral lessons and life-stories of our great saints and Rishis. Spiritual Darlings of this group are given tests based on their textbook, which is also illustrated with multi-colour pictures. All the matter contained in the book is from the writings of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda.

Grade 4-6: Yoga Lessons for Children, containing 53 lessons must be studied by this group. The lessons are given in 9 glorious volumes, containing more than 1400 multi-colour pictures.

Grade 7 – Post Matric: The senior Spiritual Darlings must also study Yoga Lessons for Children and answer questions based on them.

Adults: The adults study the Science of Yoga series in 8 volumes, containing 24 topics, all from our Master's writings. The lessons are very practical and informative and give one an overview of Hindu philosophy.

Senior Citizens: The Divine Life Society takes care of the senior citizens also. They are given some useful tasks to keep themselves occupied. Their birthdays are lovingly remembered.


Physical Education

In keeping with the ideals of our Divine Master, the Society pays great attention to physical education. During his youth, the Master took part in sports and games and was very enthusiastic in his gymnastic practices. In later life, when he renounced the world and became a monk at Rishikesh, India, he never missed his daily Yoga Asanas. Sometimes he did a little jogging also and swam in the Ganges.

At the Sivananda International Cultural Centre we have well equipped playparks for our Spiritual Darlings. Swings, roundabouts, slides, etc. are great attractions. In the beginning some of them appear a little nervous in using the equipment, but soon they get over it. The playpark teaches the little ones concentration also and develops in them self-confidence.

Soccer, volleyball, cricket, swimming, athletics and other games are organised for the senior Spiritual Darlings. The mass drill displays for all age groups enables them to develop concentration, co-ordination, obedience and how to interact with others-qualities which will certainly prove invaluable to them later in life. Drill practice is an important item at the Yoga Camp. About 100 participants, both male and female, young and old, participate together in the gymnastic mass drill display performed to the most melodious Ram Siya Pati Ram Bhajan. It captivates the hearts of all.

In accordance with the instructions of our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, the first of each month is observed as "All Souls Day" at the Sivananda Ghat. The function commences at 5pm and ends about 6.30pm(Summer times) and from 4.30pm to about 6pm in May, June and July.

1. First illuminated lights are floated in the Ganga fountain at Sivananda Ghat while the Ganga Arati is played over the sound system.

2. This is followed by a short havan performed by a qualified Pundit. Members of the bereaved family are encouraged to sit for this mass-havan for the peace of the departed soul. Enquiries can be made at the Ghat.

3. Then devotees of the Society and members of bereaved families sing in chorus some extremely sweet and soul-elevating Bhajans while walking around the building.

4. The soul-stirring Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram Mantra is chanted for several minutes at the end of the programme. Bereaved families can repeat this Mantra at home for the deceased. It will bring great peace to departed souls.

5. Seats are provided for the aged and those who find walking strenuous.

6. The function ends with Shanti Paat and distribution of Prasad and spiritual literature.

7. On the same day there is poor feeding in some school or charitable institution in the name of the departed souls for their peace and happiness.

Procedure for Christian Families

Since Christians also cremate in the nearby crematorium, an illuminated shrine of Jesus Christ has been mounted on the wall next to the shrine of the Deities. Recently two Christian families brought ashes of the deceased.

Devotees of the Society adopt the following procedure in the case of Christian families:

While the ashes are being deposited our devotees and members of the bereaved family utter the following verse, which our Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda, incorporated in one of his universal Kirtans:

O My Jesus, O Lord Jesus, Hail Hail Jesus, O Saviour Saviour!

O My Mary, O Virgin Mary, Hail Hail Mary, O Mother Mother!

Before or after the deposit of the ashes members of the deceased are free to utter some prayers.

Our Master has written an inspiring account of the life of Lord Jesus. This is distributed to Christians who come to the Ghat as visitors or to deposit ashes of the deceased. Since our Master's teachings are universal in appeal, many Christians also read his writings and feel greatly inspired.

A few months ago a Christian family had a tragic experience when some dear ones were killed in an accident in Cape Town. They were very downhearted and depressed. One of our devotees gave them a copy of our Peace book. After reading it they felt relief at once. After reading one of our Master's books, a Muslim woman also overcame her depression because she could not go to Mecca. 

How Ashes are Realeased into the Umgeni River 

1. There are containers with basins on two sides of the Ganga fountain.

2. Water from Ganga is poured into one of the basins.

3. Before the ashes are deposited into the basin by a member of the bereaved family, devotees of the Society repeat some Mantras and the Master's name.

4. While the ashes are being deposited into the basin by a member of the bereaved family, all utter: Hare Hare Gange, Jai Ma Gange several times.

5. Other members of the bereaved family also pour some pure Ganga water into the basin from a small brass vessel.

6. The water from the basin, together with the ashes, is then released into the Umgeni River.

7. All then sing the sweet and melodious Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram or Om Nama Sivaya Mantra in chorus while going round the Ganga fountain eight times.

8. The procedure ends with Shanti Paat, distribution of Prasad and free literature to members of the deceased.

9. Before or after the deposit of the ashes members of the deceased are free to repeat some prayers or perform simple rituals.

Tribute from Mrs Christine Pillay:

"Greetings, Swamiji!"

"I am humbled to be writing to such an awesome person as yourself. I am a Christian since birth and so is my family. When my brother recently spoke of the Ghat and explained its amazing wonder, I never fully understood its beauty and serenity until I visited it and had a life-changing experience."

"I am certain every person who has the gift of visiting the Ghat will appreciate and bless you for having the foresight to give the departed the highest form of respect and dignity after all the turmoil and sadness that we so often face in life. I was blessed not only to have had my son with me, but my family sharing this wonderful experience. The peace and tranquillity we encountered when entering the Ghat left us feeling so serene and humble, and left each one of us in perfect peace."

"You, Swamiji, are an extraordinary being, and may God richly bless you and keep you strong to continue all your wondrous deeds. I have not had the pleasure of meeting you, nevertheless I am a better person for having heard and seen your great dedication to mankind."


Recent Tributes

"A divine place to face all trials and troubles with courage and calmness."

"A beautiful way to leave the world. God bless you."

"Very peaceful and pleasant place. Well maintained. Good communication between devotees in charge and the public. It feels like 'heaven'."

"Absolutely brilliant. Shining example of what humanity can achieve and of the potential we possess."

"Inspiring and informative for all seekers of God."

"This is a divine magnet that pulls me closer and closer to the merciful divine lotus feet of Pujya Swamiji Maharaj. Thank you all."

"This place is heaven, Swamiji. You have always given me faith and courage in all that I do and I want to thank you for everything."

"I am a Christian and I believe in my Saviour, Jesus Christ and I respect every religion. This is an excellent set-up. We should have more "set-up" like this."

"Seeing this beautiful ending to one life has assured me that death takes us all to a beautiful place."

"A calm and inspirational place that gives one a soothing sensation in the mind and soul at this trying time. Thanks for making this possible."

"At the Lotus Feet of God Almighty—this vibration is an experience."

“I think that this place is amazing. Only God can do this. I think that this spiritual need is God Himself."

"There is a lot of cheer and light surrounding this place."

"Brings peace of mind and soothes away pain and grief."

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Gurudev Centenary 2024

Sri Swami Sivananda

(1887 - 1963)

Forthcoming Functions


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"Path of Divine Grace, Volume 1"

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"Practice of Karma Yoga"

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