“The only way to change society is like changing a cotton cloth to a silk one — by changing each thread one by one.” – Swami Vishnudevananda

Unity in Diversity

In 1968, while meditating in the temple at the Sivananda Yoga Retreat on Paradise Island, Swami Vishnudevananda had a vision that was to have a profound effect on the life of thousands. He saw people rushing to tear down the walls and borders that exist between nations, in a bid to escape a wall of fire and destruction.

This unsettling experience became the catalyst for his founding of the True World Order (T.W.O.) which aimed to promote a deeper unity and understanding between peoples of the world. The T.W.O. envisions a world where the ideas of patriotism, nationalism and separation would be replaced by a new era of Unity in Diversity.

He said that although there are and always will be different languages, cultures, faiths and social orders, these will only add to the beauty of the world once we accept and understand them properly, instead of creating bigotry, intolerance, misunderstanding and war.

Swami Vishnudevananda developed the Teacher Training Course in order to train future world leaders and responsible citizens of the world in Yogic disciplines. In this way he hoped to achieve the aims of the T.W.O.

He asked the question: “What type of leaders should lead us in the future?”

Leaders who have disciplined themselves and have control over their minds and emotions through the development of spiritual and psychic senses instead of ordinary intellect to see and solve problems. This is achieved by the yogic method of physical and mental exercises and meditation combined with other modern techniques which will hasten mental and spiritual development. Without these it is very difficult to control one’s emotions and become selfless in thought and action. If even a glimpse of peace and happiness, which true yogis enjoy, can be brought to leaders, their attitudes and sense of values in leadership will be improved.” 

The Gurukula System of Education

The Teachers’ Training Course is modeled on the traditional Indian system of education, ‘Gurukula’, in which the students live harmoniously together in a spiritual community under the guidance of their teachers. With this unique approach, it is not just an academic teaching of techniques – the teachings are transmitted and practiced in daily life.

The Sivananda Teachers’ Training Course

Swami Sivananda founded an institute of education within his ashram in Rishikesh, India, named the Vedanta Forest Academy. Swami Vishnudevananda was one of the principal professors of the academy and as an extension of this educational program, the Sivananda Teacher’s Training Course was developed.

The course is based on the training that Swami Vishnudevananda himself received under his Master, Swami Sivananda, over a period of 10 years, the essence of the training being condensed into a four week period. The course is designed to be intensive, immersing the students in a balanced program of yogic theory and practice for all-round physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development.  Since the first course in 1969, over 45,000 graduates have received the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training certification.

Teachers are practitioners not preachers

Swami Vishnudevananda’s visionary approach to the dissemination of yoga and yoga training has equipped thousands of aspirants with the necessary discipline and yogic skills to enrich their own lives and to help spread these teachings to others. Swami Vishnudevananda said that yoga teachers should also be yogic practitioners – “teachers and not just preachers”.

With this positive attitude, each of us can help to carry on Swamiji’s legacy to create a new True World Order where each individual becomes a messenger of peace and a potential future world leader!

The course is now taught by senior discples of Swami Vishnudevananda around the world. The Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in Grass Valley offers 2 to 3 monthly courses a year.  Swami Sitaramananda who is a direct disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda, and her team of teachers teach yearly in California, Vietnam, and China as well.

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