SWAMI SIVANADA SARASWATI


"Yoga is a complete life. It is a method which overhauls every aspect of human nature. Yoga shows you the way.”

Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati was born at Pattamadai, (Tamil Nadu) in 1887. After serving as a medical doctor in Malaya, he renounced his practice to answer the spiritual call, which brought him to the Himalayas. He settled in the sacred valley of Rishikesh and was initiated into the Dashnami Sannyasa tradition in 1924 by Swami Vishwananda Saraswati.

For the next seven years, Swami Sivananda spent most of his time in meditation. From the early 1930s onwards, he embarked on frequent and extensive tours of India and Sri Lanka, stirring the hearts and souls of thousands with his spiritual magnetism, strong vibrant voice and public speaking abilities. Wherever he went, he conducted sankirtan (chanting), delivered lectures and taught people how to stay strong and healthy by practising yoga asanas, pranayama and kriyas. Above all, he urged his audiences to strive constantly for spiritual development.


To serve all, to love all, to mix with all and to see God in all beings were the ideals he taught and lived by. In Rishikesh, meanwhile, an increasing number of disciples had begun to congregate and an ashram grew up around him. With his unrestrained generosity, spirit of service, deep devotion, and his constant good humour, Swami Sivananda set a supreme example to his students. In 1932, he started the Sivananda Ashram; in 1936 the Divine Life Society was born. The Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy was organised in 1948, all with the aim of spreading the teachings of yoga and Vedanta. Swami Sivananda’s teachings crystallised the basic tenets of all religions, combining all yoga paths into one – the Yoga of Synthesis which he summed up with, "Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise". His own life was a shining example of the ideal wish to spread his message of love and service. He had disciples around the world, of all nationalities, religions and creeds. Swami Sivananda entered Mahasamadhi (left his physical body) on July 14, 1963. He founded the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh from where he developed yoga as a practical, integrated subject that everyone could apply in their lives.

In subsequent years he wrote hundreds of books and articles on yoga and spirituality to maintain and introduce yogic values in the minds of the general public. His emphasis was on bringing the spiritual and yogic teachings to all without distinction, for health, peace of mind or spiritual upliftment.

Sri Swami Sivananda never left the shores of India but today he is known all over the world for his spiritual wisdom and clarity. He was a visionary who was able to foresee the future needs of human society. Seeing the potential of yoga to alleviate the imbalance and distress of life in modern society, he took yoga from the secret realms of mysticism and into practice and daily life. Sri Swami Sivananda gave the yogic practices and teachings to one and all – to the postman, milkman, traveller and beggar, to the businessman, the housewife, and the thief. Rendered into simple practices for the cultivation of virtues, the betterment of character and the development of personality and self, Sri Swami Sivananda taught a synthesis of practical Vedanta and integrated yoga, as a means to obtain excellence in life.

Integral Yoga
Sri Swami Sivananda expounded yoga as a practical subject which could be applied to improve and uplift people’s daily lives. Yoga was presented as a set of practical tools to develop and expand the faculties of “head, heart and hands” – the faculties of the mind and intellect; emotions, feelings and sentiments; and action, performance and creative expression.

Sri Swami Sivananda’s yoga of synthesis or integral yoga was the integrated combination of the four principal paths or foundations of yoga: karma yoga, the path of action, bhakti yoga, the path of devotion, raja yoga, the path of psychic control and jnana yoga, the path of self-analysis and knowledge. Sri Swami Sivananda taught that for real spiritual evolution these four categories of yoga sadhana have to be integrated in daily life. “Practise karma yoga for purification of mind and heart, hatha yoga to keep up good health and strength and purify the prana and steady the mind, raja yoga to destroy the sankalpas and induce concentration in meditation, and jnana yoga to remove the veil of ignorance and ultimately rest in one’s own satchidananda swarupa.”

Through his teachings and own example, Sri Swami Sivananda taught that the real expression of yoga in life took the form of his eight-fold path of yoga: serve, love, give, purify, be good, do good, meditate, realize. A unique road-map for all spiritual seekers, this ashtanga yoga continues beyond the personal attainments of raja yoga towards the positive, creative expression of yoga in external life for the betterment of family, society and the environment.


Call to Divine Life
Sri Swami Sivananda raised the goal of God-realization before people’s eyes as the true and real purpose for human birth, and laid out the yogic path that must be followed in one’s life to achieve that.

Calling one and all to embrace the Divine Life, Sri Swami Sivananda propagated the bringing of spirituality into daily life. He advocated spiritualizing daily activities so that the whole of one’s life becomes divine. He taught this most powerfully through his own example. To serve others and share what he had was his inborn nature. Sri Swami Sivananda saw God in every being and treated the poor, the sick, the suffering and the needy with the sincerity of worship.

Sri Swami Sivananda initiated many aspirants into the noble order of sannyasa in the Dasnami tradition. He trained and created sannyasins of an extraordinary calibre, some of whom also became luminaries. Twelve of his sannyasin disciples were given specific missions in different parts of India and the world to propagate different aspects of yogic and vedantic culture. One of these was Sri Swami Satyananda, to whom Sri Swami Sivananda entrusted the mission to “spread yoga from door to door and shore to shore”.e hearts and souls of thousands with his spiritual magnetism, strong vibrant voice and public speaking abilities. Wherever he went, he conducted sankirtan (chanting), delivered lectures and taught people how to stay strong and healthy by practising yoga asanas, pranayama and kriyas. Above all, he urged his audiences to strive constantly for spiritual development.

To serve all, to love all, to mix with all and to see God in all beings were the ideals he taught and lived by. In Rishikesh, meanwhile, an increasing number of disciples had begun to congregate and an ashram grew up around him. With his unrestrained generosity, spirit of service, deep devotion, and his constant good humour, Swami Sivananda set a supreme example to his students. In 1932, he started the Sivananda Ashram; in 1936 the Divine Life Society was born. The Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy was organised in 1948, all with the aim of spreading the teachings of yoga and Vedanta. Swami Sivananda’s teachings crystallised the basic tenets of all religions, combining all yoga paths into one – the Yoga of Synthesis which he summed up with, " Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise ". His own life was a shining example of the ideal wish to spread his message of love and service. He had disciples around the world, of all nationalities, religions and creeds. Swami Sivananda entered Mahasamadhi (left his physical body) on July 14, 1963. He founded the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh from where he developed yoga as a practical, integrated subject that everyone could apply in their lives.

In subsequent years he wrote hundreds of books and articles on yoga and spirituality to maintain and introduce yogic values in the minds of the general public. His emphasis was on bringing the spiritual and yogic teachings to all without distinction, for health, peace of mind or spiritual upliftment.

Sri Swami Sivananda never left the shores of India but today he is known all over the world for his spiritual wisdom and clarity. He was a visionary who was able to foresee the future needs of human society. Seeing the potential of yoga to alleviate the imbalance and distress of life in modern society, he took yoga from the secret realms of mysticism and into practice and daily life. Sri Swami Sivananda gave the yogic practices and teachings to one and all – to the postman, milkman, traveller and beggar, to the businessman, the housewife, and the thief. Rendered into simple practices for the cultivation of virtues, the betterment of character and the development of personality and self, Sri Swami Sivananda taught a synthesis of practical Vedanta and integrated yoga, as a means to obtain excellence in life.