Quotation Be Good, do Good.
Founder of Divine Life Society
Name Sivananda Saraswati
|Guru Vishwananda Saraswati|
Philosophy Yoga of Synthesis
|Born 8 September 1887 (age 75) Pattamadai, Tamil Nadu, India (1887-09-08) |
Notable disciple(s) Chinmayananda Saraswati, Satchidananda Saraswati, Vishnudevananda Saraswati, Sivananda Radha Saraswati, Satyananda Saraswati, Jyotirmayananda Saraswati
Parents Srimati Parvati Ammal, P.S. Vengu Iyer
Organizations founded Divine Life Society, Bihar School of Yoga, yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy
Books Thought‑power, All About Hinduism, The Science of Pranayama, Sadhana: A Text‑book, Inspiring Stories
Died 14 July 1963 (aged 75) Sivanandanagar
Similar Satyananda Saraswati, Vishnudevananda Saraswati, Chinmayananda Saraswati
Jeevan Parichay : Sivananda Saraswati, Sri T. Krishnamacharya
Sivananda Saraswati (or Swami Sivanada) (8 September 1887 – 14 July 1963) 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 of his life near Muni Ki Reti, Rishikesh.
- Jeevan Parichay Sivananda Saraswati Sri T Krishnamacharya
- Early life
- Founding the Divine Life Society
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.
Sivananda Yoga, the yoga form propagated by his disciple Vishnudevananda, is now spread in many parts of the world through Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. These centres are not affiliated with Sivananda's ashrams, which are run by the Divine Life Society.
Sivananda was born Kuppuswamy in Pattamadai near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, India, as the third son to his parents on 8 September 1887. As a child he was very active and promising in academics and gymnastics. He attended medical school in Tanjore, where he excelled. He ran a medical journal called Ambrosia during this period. Upon graduation he practised medicine and worked as a doctor in Malaya for ten years, with a reputation for providing free treatment to poor patients. Over time, a sense that medicine was healing on a superficial level grew in him, urging him to look elsewhere to fill the void, and in 1923 he left Malaya and returned to India to pursue a spiritual quest.
Upon his return to India in 1924, he visited Varanasi, Nashik, and then Rishikesh, where he met his guru, Vishwānanda Saraswati. It was Vishwānanda who initiated him into the Sannyasa order, and gave him his monastic name. However, since Sivānanda spent only a few hours with Vishwānanda, the full Viraja Homa ceremonies were performed later by Vishnudevānanda, the Mandaleswara of Sri Kailas Ashram. After initiation, Sivananda settled in Rishikesh, and immersed himself in intense spiritual practices. Sivānanda performed austerities for many years but he also continued to nurse the sick. With some money from his insurance policy that had matured, he started a charitable dispensary at Lakshman Jhula in 1927, serving pilgrims, holy men and the poor using his medical expertise.
After a few years, Sivananda went on an extensive pilgrimage and travelled the length and breadth of India to meditate at holy shrines and came in contact with spiritual teachers throughout India. During this Parivrajaka (wandering monk) life, Sivānanda visited important places of pilgrimage in the south, including Rameshvaram. He conducted Sankirtan and delivered lectures during his travels. He visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and met Maharishi Shuddhananda Bharati to which he gave the title of Maharishi. At the Ramana Ashram, he had the darshan of Ramana Maharshi on Maharshi's birthday. He sang bhajans and danced in ecstasy with Maharshi's bhaktas. He also went on pilgrimages to various places in northern India including Kedarnath and Badrinath. He visited Kailash-Manasarovar in 1931.
Founding the Divine Life Society
During Sivananda's stay in Rishikesh and his travels around India, many came to him for guidance in the spiritual path. He permitted some of them to live near him and instructed them. Sivananda asked his students take copies of his short articles and send them for publication. Over time, large numbers of people started coming to him and his devotees started growing in numbers.
Sivananda founded the DLS in 1936 on the banks of the Ganges River. The free distribution of spiritual literature drew a steady flow of disciples to him, such as Satyananda Saraswati, founder of Satyananda Yoga.
In 1945, Sivananda created the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy, and organised the All-world Religions Federation. He established the All-world Sadhus Federation in 1947 and Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy in 1948. He called his yoga the Yoga of Synthesis.
Swami Sivananda entered Mahasamadhi (departure of a Self-realized saint from his mortal coil) on 14 July 1963 in his Kutir on the bank of the Ganges, in Sivanandanagar.
Sivananda's two chief acting organizational disciples were Chidananda Saraswati and Krishnananda Saraswati. Chidananda Saraswati was appointed president of the DLS by Sivananda in 1963 and served in this capacity until his death in 2008. Krishnananda Saraswati was appointed General Secretary by Sivananda in 1958 and served in this capacity until his death in 2001.
Other prominent disciples were Venkatesananda Saraswati (South Africa, Mauritius, Madagascar, Australia), Pranavanda Saraswati (Malaysia) and Sivananda Radha Saraswati (Canada). Another prominent disciple was Swami Sahajananda Saraswati (South Africa), who was directed by Sivananda to establish the Divine Life Society of South Africa.
A prolific author, Sivananda wrote 296 books on a variety of subjects: metaphysics, yoga, religion, western philosophy, psychology, eschatology, fine arts, ethics, education, health, sayings, poems, epistles, autobiography, biography, stories, dramas, messages, lectures, dialogues, essays and anthology. His books emphasised the practical application of Yoga philosophy over theoretical knowledge.