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Swami Sivananda Radha
Date of Birth 2 February 1911(1911-02-02)
Place of birth Berlin, Germany
Birth Ursula Sylvia Hellman
Date of death 30 November 1995 (aged 84)
Place of death Spokane, Washington, USA
Guru/Teacher Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Quote "The main thing I try to do is have my students bring quality into their lives. To me, people are not spiritual if this quality is not there in their lives-even if they meditate six hours a day. By quality I mean that which comes from deep inside and shows up in their actions, their treatment of others and the way they do their jobs."[1]

Swami Sivananda Radha (March 20, 1911—November 30, 1995) was a prominent Canadian spiritual teacher and author on Yoga and spirituality. She was a disciple of Swami Sivananda.[2]


Swami Radha was born Ursula Sylvia Hellman on March 20, 1911, in Berlin, Germany and demonstrated psychic ability when only a child.[2]

Her first marriage ended abruptly when her husband, Wolfgang was killed by the Gestapo for helping Jewish friends leave Germany. She married again, this time to a composer and violinist. Albert Hellman wrote beautiful music for her dances, though their time also was short-lived. After one year together, he died in her arms.[2]

In 1951, Hellman emigrated to Canada settling in Montreal.[2]

From an early age, she had begun to question the meaning of life, and it was this search that took her to India in 1955, after her guru, Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh appeared to her during a meditation.[2]

Swami Sivananda initiated Hellman into the sacred order of sanyas, the path of renunciation, in February 1956. The first western woman to become a sanyasin, she was given the name Swami Sivananda Radha Saraswati. The day after her initiation, she was taught the Divine Light Invocation by the Indian saint, Mahavatar Babaji. Swami Sivananda eventually sent her back to the West to "update the Teachings for the Western mind."[2]

Upon her return to Canada, she worked to fulfill the promise she had made to Swami Sivananda. Her goal was to help people discover the purpose of their lives and to guide them in achieving spiritual and emotional independence.[2]

Swami Radha thought that her dancing would be given up as part of her renunciation; however, Swami Sivananda had other ideas. He encouraged her to find the sacred in the dance, showing her that the body could be a spiritual tool. Prayer dance became part of her teachings, helping students learn how to transform their emotions into devotion through the beautiful gestures of east Indian dance.[2]

The science of yoga is the heart of Swami Radha's teaching; however, she contended that before any yoga instruction can begin, there must be a foundation of clarity. This clarity may come at first in understanding certain often-used terms such as love, service, humility, meditation, consciousness, mind, energy and God.[2]

In 1963, Swami Radha founded Yasodhara, an ashram that is located in Kootenay Bay, B.C., Canada.[3]

In 1970, Swami Radha established the Association for the Development of Human Potential in the U.S., now based in Spokane, WA.[2]

Timeless Books, formed by Swami Radha in 1978, continues to publish her writings.[2]

In the 1980’s, Swami Radha set up teaching centers - Radha Yoga Centers - in North America, Mexico, and England.[4]

Books By Swami Sivananda Radha

Books by Swami Sivananda Radha:[2]

  1. Kundalini Yoga for the West
  2. Mantras: Words of Power
  3. Hatha Yoga the Hidden Language
  4. Radha: Diary of a Woman's Search
  5. Light & Vibration: Consciousness, Mysticism & the Culmination of Yoga
  6. Realities of the Dreaming Mind: The Practice of Dream Yoga
  7. From the Mating Dance to the Cosmic Dance: Sex, Love, and Marriage from a Yogic Viewpoint
  8. The Divine Light Invocation: A Healing Meditation
  9. The Yoga of Healing




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