• Yoga in daily life
  • Thus speaks Sivananda: thoughts and maxims.
  • The power of thought
  • Concentration and meditation.
  • Kundalini yoga.
  • Cosmic immortality
  • The practice of Karma Yoga: law of Karma and reincarnation.
  • Brahmacharya: theory and practice of chastity.
  • Health and happiness,
  • The Bhagavad Gita, full translation from Sanskrit and commentary

Short Biography of Swami Sivananda


In the early hours of Thursday 8 September 1887 in the village of Pattamadai, on the banks of the Tamraparani River in southern India, a baby was born while the star Bharani rose on the horizon. Her parents were Sri PS Vengu Iyer, a customs official and great devotee of Shiva, and Srimati Parvati Ammal, a sincere devotee of God. The couple gave their third and last son the name of Kuppuswamy. Little Kuppuswamy was intelligent and lively, and already in infancy he showed signs of renunciation and love for his neighbor. He showed compassion for the poor, fed the beggars who knocked on the front door and urged the father to give something to the needy. Often he received cakes and sweets from his mother which he then generously distributed to friends, dogs, cats and birds, without himself eating them. He also liked to bring flowers and bael leaves to his father to make Shiva puja. Kuppuswamy studied at Rajah's High School in Ettayapuram, was always among the first in the class and won awards every year. He had a portentous memory and a sweet and melodious voice. When in 1901 his excellency Lord Ampthil, the governor of Madras, visited the Kuru Malai Hills to go hunting, Kuppuswamy was called to sing a welcome hymn at the Kumarapuram railway station. After passing the entrance exam, he studied at the SPG College of Tiruchirapalli. He often participated in debates and theatrical performances. In 1905 he played beautifully the part of Elena in the re-presentation of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". After completing his college studies, Kuppuswamy went to study mid-day in Tanjore. He was always very active and busy. He did not return home for the holidays and preferred to spend his time in the hospital, where he had free access to the operating room. It was always the first
in all subjects; he knew more than graduate doctors, and already in the first year he was able to answer questions that the students of the last year were unable to answer. After graduating in medicine, Kuppuswamy practiced the profession in Tiruchi. There he founded a medical information journal called 'Ambrosia', for which his mother gave him one hundred rupees for the initial expenses. When later his mother asked him for one hundred and fifty rupees for a certain party, Dr. Kuppuswamy was ready to give her the sum. Even then he used to distribute the newspaper for free; he was ashamed to ask people for a contribution.

Doctor in Malaysia

Shortly after his father's death he received a call from Malaysia. He had an adventurous spirit, and in 1913 he left India and embarked for Singapore. Belonging to an Orthodox Brahmin family, Kuppuswamy did not want to take non-vegetarian food on the ship, so he brought with him a certain amount of sweets that his mother had prepared for him. When he arrived in Singapore he was almost starving. Here is how Dr. Kuppuswamy described his experiences in Malaysia: "After disembarking I immediately went to the home of Dr. Iyengar, who gave me a cover letter for a friend of his, Dr. Harold Parsons, who was a general practitioner in Seremban When I came to him, Dr. Parsons introduced me to Mr. AG Robins, who ran a large rubber processing estate and had his own hospital. Fortunately for me, Mr. Robins had a dream of an assistant who he worked in the hospital. He was a terrible man with a very bad character, a tall and robust giant. He asked me: 'Can you manage a hospital yourself?' I replied: 'Yes, I could also manage three hospitals.' "An Indian local president told me that according to their policy, I shouldn't accept less than a hundred dollars a month. To begin with, Mr. Robins agreed to give me one hundred and fifty dollars." The young doctor worked hard. At some point he started having a series of unusual problems and difficulties and even thought about quitting his job, but Mr. Robins wouldn't let him. Dr. Kuppuswamy was kind, understanding, cheerful, bright and always spoke sweetly. He had desperate cases, which he managed to
cure.

The way he miraculously healed patients, everyone said he had a special gift from God. They saw him as a charming, majestic personality. In severe cases, he remained to watch the patient all night. In his private practice, Dr. Kuppuswamy took care of the poor, most of the time absolutely free; on the contrary, he often gave them money to buy food or to pay hospital expenses. He gave money away as if it were water. Once a poor fellow knocked on him in the middle of the night, all soaking wet: his wife was about to give birth. The doctor immediately ran to the woman and after assisting her, he waited outside the hut despite the heavy rain. Only after the baby was born did the doctor return home the following morning. The wealthy doctor hadn't hired a cook; despite not having spent free time, he preferred to cook personally. Only on rare occasions did he hire a cook. Once one of these occasional chefs longed to have a picture of himself. The doctor took him with joy to a photographic studio, made him put on his clothes, hat and hat, and made him take a picture. Nothing could tempt him, his heart was as pure as the Himalayan snow. His great generosity and philanthropy, his immense spirit of service and renunciation made him dear to everyone. People affectionately called it 'Heart full of love'. Despite his many commitments, Dr. Kuppuswamy served sadhus, sannyasis and beggars, and attended weddings, parties and other social events. Once a sadhu gave him a book by Swami Satchidananda, which awakened the slumbering spirituality in him. Thus he began to study the Swami Rama Tirtha, Swami Vivekananda, Shankara, the Bib-Imitation of Christ and the texts of the Theosophical Society. He was very regular in prayer, worship and yoga asana practice. He read the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, abharata and Bhagavatam with great devotion. Sometimes he led groups and sang-va bhajans and kirtans. He practiced anahat laya yoga and swara sadhana. Over time the belief that medicine could only heal on a physical and superficial level strengthened in him, and this pushed him to seek elsewhere the true healing of the soul that could fill that sense of emptiness.

The renunciation

Over time, reflecting more and more, he was seized by the desire to give up the world. His heart had been purified by selfless love service. Eventually Dr. Kuppuswamy, who was a profitable profession, renounced the world in 1923. He left Malaysia and returned to India. In Madras he went to a friend's house, left his luggage there and began his pilgrimage. In Benares he had the darshan (vision) of Lord Shiva and visited mahatmas and great temples. In Dhalaj, a village on the banks of the Chandrabaga River, he met the director of the post office and remained his guest. He was his cook and when the manager returned home in the evening Kuppuswamy washed his legs and feet, despite his protests. It was this postmaster who suggested that he go to Rishikesh, when the doctor expressed his desire to find a place to retreat to practice solitary meditation. Dr. Kuppuswamy arrived in Rishikesh on May 8, 1924. His Holiness Sri Swami Visvananda Saraswati arrived there on the first of June 1924. The doctor saw his guru in that monk and the monk saw a disciple in the doctor. After a short exchange of words, Swami Visvananda initiated Kuppuswamy to the ancient order of sannyasis. Since Sivananda spent only a few hours with his guru, the actual fire ceremony was celebrated some time later by Swami Vishnudevanandaji Maharaj, the Maha-mandaleswar of the Kailash Ashram. Swami Visvananda was in Benares and sent them the instructions necessary for sannyas dharma. His guru gave him the name of Swami Sivananda Saraswati.

Sadhana

Sivanandaji stayed in Swargashram to practice sadhana. He dressed to cover himself, ate to live, and lived to serve others. A small kutir (hut) in ruins, not used by anyone and infested with scorpions sheltered it from sun and rain. In that kutir he practiced intense austerities (tapas), observed silence and fasting. He often fasted for days in a row. He stocked up on bread and for a week he only took dry bread and water from the Ganges. In the cold winter mornings he remained immersed up to his hips in the icy waters of the Ganges and began to do japa, leaving the water only after the sun appeared. He spent more than twelve hours a day meditating.
Despite this immense tapas, Swamiji did not forget to serve the sick. He went to see the sadhus in their retreats by bringing medicine, he treated them, served them and massaged their legs. He begged for food for them and when they were sick he fed them with his own hands. He brought them water from the Ganges and cleaned their kutirs. He took care of cases of cholera and smallpox. If necessary, he stayed awake at night beside the sick sadhu, and when it was the case he carried him on the shoulders to the hospital. With the money earned from the maturing of his insurance policy, in 1927 Swamiji started a small charity dispensate () in Lakshmanjula. There he served the pilgrims, seeing the Lord in them. Swamiji practiced the different types of yoga and studied the scriptures. After years of intense and continuous sadhana he enjoyed the bliss of nirvikalpa samadbi. He had come to the end of his spiritual journey. He used to pick up pieces of used paper and envelopes and make some booklets of notes in which he wrote instructions for himself. In a found instruction leaflet it was written: "Renunciation of salt, renunciation of sugar, renunciation of spices, renunciation of vegetables, renunciation of chutney, renunciation of tamarind". Another reads: "Serve the untouchables, serve the evildoers, serve the subordinates, clean the poop, clean the sadhu's clothes, do it with joy, bring them water." In another leaflet we read: "Do not be vindictive, do not resist evil, return good to evil, endure insults and offenses". In other leaflets we read: "Forget any offense like a child immediately. Don't keep it inside, because it fosters hatred. It cultivates friendship, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and divine love". In one passage we read: "Develop good manners, kindness, courtesy, good manners, good conduct, nobility, gentleness and gentleness. Never be unkind, severe or cruel. it is nothing to hate in the world. Hate is ignorance. Any form of contempt for any creature or thing must be removed with love and research (vichara) ". In the period spent as a traveling monk Swamiji traveled India far and wide. He visited important pilgrimage sites in the South, including Rameswaram; he conducted songs and gave conferences. He visited Sri Aurobindo's ashram and met Suddhananda Bharati. He had Sri Ramana Maharishi's darshan on the day his birthday was celebrated in Ramanashram, and sang bhajans
and danced in ecstasy together with the devotees of Ramana. He also made a skin-grin at Kailash-Manasarovar and Badrinath.

The Organization

After this last pilgrimage he returned to Rishikesh, on the banks of the Ganges, and in 1936 planted the seed of the Divine Life Society. He found a ruined and unused kutir that looked like an old abandoned stable. For him it was more than a palace. It had four 'rooms'. Puri kutir and occupied it. Many went to him to be guided along the spiritual path. Some allowed him to live next to him. Over time, the growing number of disciples who sought his guidance and did not fear those prohibitive living conditions made it necessary to have more space. There are other abandoned, dirty and uninhabitable stables. In one room lived an old herdsman, and the others were full of hay and dung. After about a year, the old herdsman also left that 'room' and the army of Divine Life completed the occupation. It was the beginning of the Divine Life Society. Since then the Society has gradually developed and today it has become the center of a worldwide organization with various offices in India and abroad. The Divine Life Society was registered as a foundation whose main purpose was the spread of spiritual knowledge and the selfless service of humanity. The free distribution of spiritual literature attracted a continuous flow of disciples. With the arrival of capable people Swamiji gave life to the different branches of the Society, offering appropriate fields of activity for the purification of hearts and for the spiritual growth of sadhakas. In September 1938, on the occasion of his birthday celebrations, the publication of the monthly The Divine Life 'began. The world was in the grip of the Second World War and to spread a continuous current of vibrations of peace, to support and give relief to the desperate minds of the people, on December 3, 1943 he started an Akhanda Mahamantra Kirtan (continuous and uninterrupted chanting). broken Mahamantra: Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare; Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare). On December 31, 1943, a temple was inaugurated to Lord Shiva (Visvanath), with three regular worship services per day. Swami Sivananda believed in synthesis in everything, both in yoga
both in the medical and social field to alleviate human suffering. Allopathic treatments were essential for him since his first arrival in Swargashram. At one point he felt the need to serve people with genuine Ayurvedic medicines prepared with rare Himalayan herbs. This is why in 1945 he established Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy, which has now expanded to such an extent that it cannot cope with the growing demands of the people. On December 28, 1945 Swami Sivananda organized the World Federation of Religions; on February 19, 1947 he formed the World Federation of Sadhus. 1947 saw a great expansion of the Society's activities: it was the year of its Diamond Jubilee, and a number of buildings were built. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was established to give a more precise and systematic spiritual preparation to both resident sadhakas and researchers and aspirants in general. In 1950 Swami Sivananda undertook a tour of India (including Sri Lanka) to transmit and spread his divine message in the country. The result was extraordinary, as it awakened the moral and spiritual conscience in the hearts of the people. Since then there has been an incessant flow of spiritual seekers in the ashram, as well as a greater influx of letters from spiritual aspirants asking for a more intense and profound diffusion of knowledge. In September 1951 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy Press was set up, a modern equipped typewriting capable of ensuring a greater diffusion of the Yoga and Vedanta literature. In 1953 Swamiji assembled the World Parliament of Religions in Sivanandashram. The dispensary, which had always been inseparable from Swamiji, gradually developed to become a normal hospital, equipped with the most modern machinery and many other services. The eye hospital was formally inaugurated in December 1957. The Publication League published almost all of the Master's writings, also feeling the need to research his works and translate them into most of the main languages of India. In 1961 the Society's Silver Jubilee was celebrated, in which Swamiji was able to see his mission accomplished. On July 14, 1963 the great soul of Swami Sivananda entered mahasamadhi (the departure of a soul made by his mortal body) in his kutir on the banks of the Ganges.

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