Shree Veeraboga Sivananda Peace & Skills Training Centre
One day, whilst visiting a bookshop in Durban that dealt with Vedic literature, Sri V. Srinivasan (later Swami Sahajananda), happened to glance at a book entitled, Practice of Karma Yoga. Even though Srinivasan did not know the meaning of the words, “Karma Yoga” at that time, the book sent a strange thrill through him. He at once lost all interest in his academic career in which he was highly ambitious. He also lost interest in sports and games which he loved so much. He corresponded with the Divine Master, Sri Swami Sivananda and began following his instructions. On his first visit to the Master in 1948, the only instruction received was “learn to type and make tea.”
Later, it was understood that Sri Gurudev’s message meant dissemination of spiritual knowledge through his literature, and service of the underprivileged. Divine Life Society of South Africa has been dedicated to the moral, educational and spiritual upliftment of communities in South Africa throughout its history of over six decades in this country.
The concept of the Peace & Skills Training Centres began as a poverty alleviation project. Basic skills like sewing and computer usage are being taught at the centres. The centres play a vital role in serving the needs of the communities within which they are located. In September 2003, Pujya Swamiji wrote to various organisations in the province to start a similar project for conducting free sewing classes to alleviate the unemployment crisis affecting local residents. Pujya Swamiji was prepared to provide all the building materials for the new sewing centre. SVET responded to Pujya Swamiji’s request and a meeting was arranged with the officials of SVET.
The Trustees and Management committee of Shree Veeraboga Emperumal Temple believed that the partnership with Divine Life Society of South Africa in such an auspicious project would solidify and cement the relationship between both organisations and augur well for the furtherance of Hindu Dharma and unity amongst Hindus. The project would also serve the needs of the local community.
At that stage, Pujya Swamiji was prepared to build a new sewing centre but the officials of SVET suggested to refurbish the existing storeroom into a sewing centre. Pujya Swamiji agreed and provided a few guidelines.
Pujya Swamiji was pleased with the renovation. Thereafter, Divine Life Society installed 8 Flat Kingstar Industrial, 2 Overlock Usha and 2 Safety machines, provided training for the instructors, provided all the materials required to run the sewing centre and paid the instructor’s salaries for the first five years.