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Divine Masters

Swami SIVANANDA

Sivananda Saraswati (or Swami Sivanada) born in 1887. E was a Hindu spiritual teacher and a proponent of Yoga and Vedanta. Sivananda was born Kuppuswami in Pattamadai, in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. He studied medicine and served in British Malaya as a physician for several years before taking up monasticism. He lived most part of his life near Muni Ki Reti, Rishikesh.

He was the founder of the Divine Life Society (DLS) in 1936, Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy (1948) and author of over 200 books on yoga, Vedanta and a variety of subjects. He established Sivananda Ashram, the headquarters of the DLS, on the bank of the Ganges at Sivanandanagar, 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from Rishikesh

From childhood till his last days Swami Sivananda had a noble and caring nature. As a child, Kuppuswamy was devout, kind, intelligent, strong, fearless. As he grew up he excelled in education, was very modern in thought, but had the seeds of a spiritual genius. Kuppuswami was initiated into Sannyasa by Swami Viswananda Saraswati and named him Sivananda Saraswati. After performing intense tapasya on the banks of Ganga in Rishikesh, Swami Sivananda, offered his selfless seva to the sadhus and sannyasins who lived and did penance in the Himalayas.

  • Even as a child Kuppuswamy would dance in ecstasy whenever he attended kirtans. His devout nature later helped him see the same Divinity in all people. Though he was born in an orthodox brahmin family, he could not tolerate discrimination, he would give away his food or dress or anything he possessed to people who needed it and would be very happy giving away possessions.

  • Though Swami Sivananda was very simple and did not have any ambitions to create any organization, his spiritual purity attracted people with spiritual inclinations, like a magnet automatically attracts magnetic material

  • Several instances from childhood show that he cared least for pleasure and comfort and was ready to take upon himself any arduous task if it would be helpful for others. His life was an exemplification of selflessness. He returned from Malaysia, not because things went wrong, on the contrary he was a very successful medical practitioner, which he relinquished voluntarily just to return to India and realize truth.

  • As soon as he returned to his hometown Patthamadai, he handed over all the things he had and quitely left to Kasi. His search for inner truth, led him to Rishikesh.

  • Swami Sivananda's life and work in Rishikesh was remarkable and Divine. After reaching Rishikesh, he remained there and did intense tapasya for several years. His life was dedicated to sadhana, with frugal food which he got on alms and slept just anywhere.

  • His entire attention was dedicated to Tapasya. He would meditate for long hours on the banks of serene Ganga. Swami Sivananda dedicated most of his time in solitude.

  • Swami Sivananda says in his autobiograph

  • “I came to Rishikesh in June 1924 and found it my destination. My Guru Swami Viswananda Saraswati Maharaj gave me initiation and enough spiritual strength and blessings. I found Rishikesh an ideal place for intense and undisturbed spiritual practices true for all seekers after Truth. A deep study of the ways of Mahatmas living in Rishikesh opened my eyes and gave me strength to stick to rigorous Sadhana in the right direction. I felt the Grace of the Lord. I derived strength and guidance from within. I found ways for an all-round development. I had the goal of my life as Self-realisation and determined to spend every bit of my energy and time in study, service and Sadhana. ”