Dharma Centre History

“The tree of Eternity has its roots in heaven above and its branches reach down to earth.”

Katha Upanishad 6:1


The spiritual head and Director of the Dharma Centre is Sri Swami Dharmānanda Saraswati Maharaj who oversees all of the teaching programmes and courses. 


The Centre came into being in 1980 with the blessings of two great teachers: Dr Trivadi Ramachandra, Swami Dharmananda Saraswati Maharaja’s spiritual teacher and Paramahansa Satyananda, who in 1980 initiated Swami into the Saraswati Dasanami order as a Poorna Sanyas.

Dr Trivadi Ramachandra became Swami‘s spiritual teacher in 1972 and it was in this year that another important association was made. Swami met John and Pam Limon at Acacia House in Acton and it is probable that through this meeting and the subsequent friendship that grew that the centre in Harlow took form and it is due to so many peoples contribution that  we are here today.

John, accompanied by Pam came to Harlow in 1973 to join the BWY Teacher Training. After obtaining his Teacher’s Certificate and at the request of several members of the Teacher Training Group John helped to form a  continuance class for further training and in-depth learning . It was this continuance class that became the forerunner to the centre. As the centre grew, John began to become involved in the running of groups and when the centre was formed he gradually accepted and took on the administrative tasks. By taking on this workload John assured that Swamiji could focus on the teachings and spiritual growth of her students and it was in this way that both John and Pam integrally enabled the centre to grow.

After 20 years of successfully supporting and training teachers at the Potter Street, Harlow home and delivering a series of successful developmental courses the Dharma Centre began to take on another form. The day-to-day Teacher Training programme made way to a series of in-depth courses including residential programmes of study. These courses  became the back bone of the centres work for a number of years. Underpinned by Swami’s practical, thorough and precise teachings students at the centre have learnt that yoga is a journey of discovery and an ongoing process of refining and extending consciousness. That each of us is different and through working on ourselves our growth of self-awareness gradually takes shape.

It is in the spirit of self-less service that the centre has continued to move forward, everyone and there have been so many helpers who have contributed to our success over the years, have done so with the spirit and discipline of Karma Yoga ensuring that all of our work is given freely to the success of the centre and to further the work and teachings of Swami and our lineage.

The centre has always attracted students from all walks of life and differing religious and spiritual backgrounds which are due to the specific style of teaching which is deep rooted and based on Swami’s life-time of serious practice, study and suffused with God-consciousness.

The  original aims of the Centre were:

  • to promote and teach classical yoga under the direction and guidance of our spiritual director Swami Dharmananda Sarastwati Maharaj
  • to help promote a deeper understanding of yoga and the yogic practices
  • to provide personal guidance
  • to co-operate and liaise with other groups  interested in spiritual development

But it is through the teachings of Swami Dharmananda Saraswati Maharaj that we have  developed in other interrelated areas. The science and practice of Healing is of particular interest to us and it is through our Guru that we  have begun to know yoga as first and last a spiritual practice for understanding the whole self.

Lineage & Spiritual Teachers

    Dr Trivadi Ramachandra a secretary and associate of Mahatma Gandhi was Swami’s spiritual teacher from 1973 until he left his body in 1983. Swami and Dr Ramachandra shared a close working relationship and ‘Ramji’ has been a major influence and guiding light on the centre’s work.

   Paramahamsa Satyananda. Swami became associated with the Bihar School of Yoga in Northern India in 1973. The School is the headquarters of the International Fellowship Movement and was founded by Paramahamsa Satyananda in 1964. Paramahamsa was born in Uttar Pradesh in 1923. 1943 he met Swami Sivananda and adopted the Dashnami Sanyas way of life. 1988 he renounced his mission, adopting kshetra Sanyas and lived as a paramahamsa until he left his body in 2009.

  Tantric master Sri Jammu Maharaj officially gave Swami the title of Maharaj, after initiating her into his tradition.