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Retreat Application Accommodation Application


We are happy to announce that The Divine Life Society will be holding its 24th  annual Christmas-New Year Retreat for Seekers from Abroad at its International Headquarters, Sivananda Ashram, near Rishikesh, India, from December 24, 2019 to January 1, 2020. Spiritual seekers from abroad are cordially invited to this retreat, which includes daily spiritual talks in English, meditation sessions (one guided), evening satsang and an optional hatha yoga class.

Each year there is a spiritual theme which is discussed from different perspectives by senior swamis. The uniqueness of each perspective combined with the continuity of one theme creates a powerful spiritual atmosphere conducive to spiritual growth.

The retreat is also an ideal opportunity to experience an Ashram atmosphere steeped in the spiritual vibrations of saints and sages who have been meditating on the banks of the Ganges for millennia. Usually there is an attendance of 50 to 70 participants from more than 20 countries around the world. We have found that the participants not only benefit from the program, but also from their time together with like-minded people.

The retreat is held in the new Swami Sivananda Auditorium building. The building includes a yoga hall, a meeting-cum-meditation hall and a dining hall, each with a beautiful view of the Ganges River. The attached residential rooms are double occupancy with bath.

For over twenty years we have been inspired by the coming together of sincere spiritual seekers from around the world and the heartfelt participation of our senior swamis in our annual Christmas-New Year Retreat. The Christmas-New Year Retreat seems to beckon us to reach for something more, something higher, above all to awaken and manifest our Divine Nature.

The Christmas Retreat in its totality is an opportunity to manifest our Divinity through gentle discipline, silence, contemplation, devotion and a heightened awareness of the benefit of selfless service. It is an opportunity to leave behind the distractions of the outer world and dedicate our time and energy to the eternal questions: Who am I? and Why am I here?

The proposed CHRISTMAS RETREAT programme is as follows:

(1)  Prior to Dec. 24: It is recommended that participants arrive at least a day or two before December 24th to recover from jet lag.*

(2)  Dec. 24 night: Christmas Eve Programme

(3)  Dec. 25:  Christmas luncheon and afternoon Tea and Orientation Meeting for the formal Seven Day Retreat

(4)  Dec. 26—January 1 noon: Special Seven Day Retreat. For the benefit of all, a commitment to full participation in the retreat program is expected. Seva (service) is part of the retreat, so please be alert to what is needed and join one or more of the seva groups.  It is highly recommended that participants avoid shopping and sightseeing during the seven day retreat period.

5.00   to    6.00 a.m.      Morning Meditation

6.00   to    7.00 a.m.      Hatha Yoga or Chanting in the Temple (both optional)

7.00   to    8.00 a.m.      Breakfast

9.15   to  10.00 a.m.      Opening Prayers and Meditation

10.00 to  12.00 noon   Spiritual Discourses with tea break

12.15 to    1.00 p.m.      Lunch

1.00   to    5.30 p.m.      Spiritual Activities Offered: spiritual discussion groups, spiritual videos,

Hatha yoga, contemplative Ganga walk, meditation at Gurudev’s Kutir etc.

5.45   to    6.45 p.m.      Guided Meditation (Meditative silence to be maintained till breakfast. If
                                               communication is necessary, please speak very softly)                             

7.00   to    7.30 p.m.      Supper

7.30   to    9.30 p.m.      Night Satsang (Dec. 31st New Year’s Programme until midnight)

(5) January 2nd onwards:  If participants have permission to remain in the ashram for a few days after January 1st, the ashram expects them to continue to attend morning meditation and night Satsang and to observe a monastic decorum.

If you are interested in the retreat kindly fill out the Application Form for the Christmas-New Year and send it to Swami Amritarupananda, If you have any questions, kindly write to Swami Amritarupananda.

*Please note that the retreat proper is from December 24th until January 1st. However, if you would like to help with the set-up and/or participate in the Christmas Eve program, either in the choir or some other art form, you could come up to week or so earlier. Please let us know if you are a trained musician or dancer etc. because that little extra talent always adds something special to the Christmas Eve program. (If you do come to the Ashram before the retreat, the ashram expects that you will also attend both the daily morning meditation as well as the night satsang.)