Swami Sivananda’s early life
Swami Shivananda Saraswati, a great yoga guru, a spiritual teacher and great propagandist of Vedanta, was born on 8 September 1887 in the village of Pattamadai on the bank of the river Tamraparani in South India. He was named Kuppuswamy at birth. Swami Shivanand Saraswati met Sri Swami Visvananda Saraswati in Rishikesh and turned his pupil from there. He was the one who named him Swami Shivanand Saraswati from Kuppuswamy.
Founder of the Divine Life Society
He laid the foundation of The Divine Life Society, his trust in 1936 on the banks of River Ganga. The aim of the organisation was dissemination of spiritual knowledge and selfless service to humanity. He also started Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy in 1945. Swami Saraswati organised All-world Religions Federation in 1945 and established the All-world Sadhus Federation in 1947. He also established Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy in 1948 to give a systematic spiritual training to the resident Sadhaks, and also to benefit the visiting seekers.
Yoga of Synthesis
Swami Sivananda’s Yoga, which he has significantly called the ‘Yoga of Synthesis’, effects a harmonious development of the ‘hand’, ‘head’ and ‘heart’ through the practice of Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. He impacted massive number of lives before passing away in 1963.
Books and publications
He authored 296 books on yoga, Vedanta and many other disciplines such as metaphysics, relgion, western philosophy, psychology, ethics, etc. He also started his medical journal “The Ambrosia” which was initially financed by his mom. His books basically focus upon the practical aspects of yoga rather than the theoretical aspects.
This is the yoga form propagated by his disciple Vishnudevananda worldwide through Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.
Swami Sivananda initiation
After his return to India from British Malay in 1924, he went to Rishikesh, he met his guru, Vishvananda Saraswati, who initiated him into the Sannyasa family and become the part of the monastic family.
Sivananda’s has so many disciples who have excelled in their journey.
- Chidananda Sarswati: President of the Divine Life Society from 1963 to 2008.
- Krishnananda Saraswati: General secretary from 1959 to 2001.
- Chinmayananda Saraswati founder of Chinmaya Mission.
- Karunananda Saraswati, founder of the valley of peace yoga ashram, Australia.
- Sahajananda Saraswati: spiritual head of Divine Life Society, South Africa.
- Satchidananda Saraswati, founder of Integral yoga institutes across the world.
- Satyananda Saraswati, founder of Bihar School of Yoga, Munger
- Shantanada Saraswati, founder of Temple of Fine Arts, Singapore.
- Sivananda Radha Saraswati, Founder of Yasodhara Ashram, Canada.
- Venkatesananda Saraswati, founder of Ananda Kurir Ashram, South Africa.
- Vishnudevananda Saraswati, founder of Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centtre, Canada.
Sivananda’s favorite yoga poses
- Sirsasana is undoubtedly the most favourite yoga pose of him.
- He waked up at 3 a.m and do morning recitation and hymns.
- Morning meditation at 4 am
- Yogasanas and bed exercises at 6 am.
- After a light breakfast, he attends to his office-work,—interviewing visitors, instructing Sadhakas, inspecting Ashram-work, etc.
- Returns to his Kutir for his lunch and a brief rest at mid-day.
- The evening is spent in studying the incoming letters and interviewing visitors again, followed by evening meditation and Satsanga
- At about 10 p.m., he likes to go bed after ensuring every guest has been properly served and every inmate is comfortable.
- Eat a little, drink a little, talk a little, sleep a little
- Mix a little, move a little, serve a little, rest a little
- Work a little, rest a little, study a little, worship a little
- Do Asana a little, Pranayama a little, reflect a little, meditate a little
- Do Japa a little, do Kirtan a little, Write Mantra a little, have Satsanga a little.
Sivananda’s top 10 sayings
- Remember God at all times.
- Hear the wise words of great souls and follow them.
- Don’t talk much before great souls.
- Avoid unnecessary discussions.
- Don’t exaggerate or concoct or twist when you talk.
- Develop mercy and cosmic love.
- Share what you have with others.
- Good and bad, friend and enemy, pleasure and pain, virtue and sin are in the mind only.
- Patience and perseverance are indispensable for reaching the goal.
- Purity of food leads to purity of mind.
Sivananda’s top 10 instructions
- Get up at 4 a.m., daily.
- Take Sattvic food. Do not overload the stomach.
- Sit on Padma or Siddha Asana for Japa and Dhyana.
- Study systematically one chapter of Bhagavad Gita.
- Give up smoking, intoxicating drinks and Rajasic food.
- Observe Mouna for 2 hours daily and during meals also.
- Speak truth at any cost. Speak little, sweetly.
- Never hurt the feelings of others. Be kind to all.
- Think of the mistakes you have done (self-analysis).
- Do not depend upon servants. Have self-reliance.