Sivananda Ashram in RishikeshWith firm foundations in the ancient philosophy of Vedanta, Swami Sivanada started the Divine Life Society when India was struggling to come out from under the yoke of the British Raj and gain its Independence. The initiation of the Sivananda Ashram as headquarters of the Divine Life Society provoked great thinkers to take respite here, attend the discussions on spirituality, gain strength and renew their enthusiasm to get into the freedom struggle.
Even after gaining Independence the Sivananda Ashram remained a seat of learning and rejuvenation. The essentials of the Ashram remained the basics of Indian philosophical thought of Vedanta and its physical embodiment in dhyana or meditation and yoga and pranayam.
Sivananda Ashram ComplexLocated about 20 kilometers from Haridwar, the Ashram's entrance overlooks the Laxman Jhula or the bridge across the Ganga. The Ashram is sprawled over an entire hill and constructed on lines of the old colonial stone work walls and slanting slate roofs. The elements of Indian temple architecture are also visible in some of the buildings.
The Ashram complex houses the main sanctum sanctorum with the samadhis or the mortal remains of the bygone gurus interred in their basement niches.
The temple complex has a massive dining hall, lots of dormitories and single rooms for visitors to stay and participate in many of the activities of the ashram. The complex has its own library and printing press.
‘Gyan Prasad’ or the Spread of Knowledge
The Sivananda Ashram is probably one of the pioneers in the distribution of ‘Gyan Prasad’ or Divine food for thought. This Prasad comprises printed booklets in various languages, though most commonly English and Hindi are used. These books are printed at the Ashram itself and displayed in its library along with others. The essential aspect is that whosoever desires can partake of this Prasad and enrich their lives.
Emphasis on ‘Gyan’ or KnowledgeThe management of the Sivanand Ashram is very particular about encouraging all the inmates to pursue higher studies in various disciplines. They send out their scholars on exposure visits to ensure they have an overall understanding of the various kinds of problems being faced in society. Thus, the swamis at the Ashram are highly erudite, speak several Indian and international languages besides having vast knowledge on a large number of subjects pertaining to the human ethos.
Other Activities at Sivananda AshramThe Sivananda Ashram has a few other ancillary units. With the growth in membership and activities the Ashram expanded and added two Leprosy Care Centres in areas within a two kilometer periphery of the main Ashram. And AIDS hospice was also added later on along with two TB care and cure centres and an orphanage was added almost simultaneously because many of the terminally ill were almost always accompanied by their children as there was no one to look after them or they had been altogether abandoned. The Ashram also has old age home units where the destitute and abandoned, diseased and infirm men and women are taken care of. At each of these care centres there are permanent care giving personnel and also volunteers who join the Ashram for ‘seva’ or selfless service for any duration of time ranging from a few days to a couple of years.
How to Reach Sivananda AshramBy Air: One can travel upto Dehradun’s Jolly grant Airport by air. From there on there are various options available.
By Rail: The Haridwar Railway station is well connected with the rest of the country and trains from all over come here.
By Road: It is a pleasant comfortable drive as Rishikesh is barely twenty five odd kilometers from Haridwar and the Sivanand Ashram is on the outskirts virtually.
AccommodationAccommodation is provided at the Ashram on first come first served basis.
Ashram- Daily Schedule5:30 am - Wake-up bell
6:00 am - Satsang (silent meditation, Mantra Chanting and lecture/reading)
8:00 am - Asanas, Relaxation)
10:00 am - Brunch (wholesome delicious, vegetarian meal)
4:00 pm - Yoga class
6:00 pm – Dinner
8:00 pm – Satsang
10:00 pm - Lights out
Attendance of Yoga classes is essential for all.
Address: On The Banks Of Ganga River, Rishikesh
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