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Books > Hindu > Sivananda Biography of a Modern Sage (Life and Works of Swami Sivananda)
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Sivananda Biography of a Modern Sage (Life and Works of Swami Sivananda)
Sivananda Biography of a Modern Sage (Life and Works of Swami Sivananda)
Description
From the Jacket

Swami Sivananda was incomparable: he was indefinable and therefore unpredictable. He had no stereotyped behaviour. set responses or rigid routines. There was no dogma in him. And yet he was not necessarily opposed to dogma.

He was not opposed to anything, not even to opposition! In him contradictions were reconciled into a complete into a complete wholeness and the changes blended into an unchanging light that defied description.

Back of the Book

In this book the many faceted person ality of Swami Sivananda is depicted through examples and stories as told by his close disciples as well as from his letters and official accounts in The Divine Life Magazine. They relate the Story of a very great human being in a most effective manner. All the complexities of a sage of infinite wisdom, compassion and love are explored. His unparalleled selfless service of humanity (first as a medical doctor and later as a realized sage) provides an inspiring example of strength humility and devotion. His dedication to the welfare of not only his own disciples but mankind at large is described in this volume.

Introduction

The world we live in is observed to be a solid mass of matter. Even our own bodies are seen to be parts of physical nature governed by mechanistic laws, which alone appears to be all that is real. It has become a commonplace idea today especially in the universe of science that life is strictly of the world. We are told that distinction that are supposed to subsist between such realms of being as matter life and mind are only manifestation and spreading of practical of matter. Even the organism of the human body, which appears to defy the laws of the universal machine the modern science envisages is explained away as only one of the many forms of the working of the brute force of matter which is the ultimate stuff of all things. The natural consequence of such a theory as this is the astonishing conclusion that human life like every other material substance in the world is completely determined by blind causal laws and the so-called free-will of man is subservient to them if not a mere chimera. When we protest that man is not merely matter but also mind it is explained that mind is nothing but a subtle and ethereal exudation of forces of matter. Man is reduced to an insignificant speck in the gigantic machinery of the cosmos which works ruthlessly with its own laws unconcerned with the weal and woe of man.

This naturalistic interpretation of life, that is fast threatening to become rampant on this modern scientific and atomic age, seems to be really the philosophy of the common credulous man and even of the intelligent public who have neither the patience and the leisure (nor the equipment of understanding) to fathom the greater depths of human experience. Hand in hand with this theory of crass materialism there is a craze for more comfort and pleasure by lessening effort and movement of every kind and an inherent felling that material progress conceived at its zenith should be the ultimate purpose of existence. Due to an irrational faith in the efficacy and correctness of the doctrine the man of the world seems to have forgotten the corruption of moral values today the fall in the mental life and the standard of present day education and a sense of monotony and restlessness of spirit brought about by such a view of life in spite of his riches and material possessions.

The fact that man is not merely a humble cogwheel in the deterministic machine of a relentless universe and that the essence of man is a was easily felt by many as a reaction to the very unsatisfactory and humdrum propaganda carried on by the materialists. The balance swung from the extreme of materialism holding that man is merged in the physical nature to the other extreme of the idealism which propounded that man is preface dragged on by the impetus of a comic spiritual Substance. the difference between these materialistic and idealistic theories is found finally to be in the conception of the ultimate stuff and constitution of the universe the one advocating that it is matter motion and force and the other affirming that it is pure Mind or spirit. But both agree in holding that man has no real choice and freedom of his own he being inextricably involved merged and lost in the ultimate reality of the universe be it material mental or spiritual. Unfortunate man discovered that it was hard for him under such circumstances to live a normal life of enjoyment of the aesthetic religious and moral values and at the same time feel well planted on mother earth with her richness and grandeur promise and mysteries. Yet that life is not all. There is some awe inspiring and terrible truth continuously pointed out by the phenomena of suffering, pain and death; by the restlessness of the world and the vicissitudes of life the endless desires of man and the moral aspirations surging from within. The man of the world required a loving and sympathetic reasonable and satisfying teaching to enable him to live as an individual fulfilling his daily duties in life and yet aspiring for that marvelous and magnificent beyond which ever seems to beckon him through the tantalizing veils of Nature.

With the advent to beckon of western education people began to move along the ruts of a so-called modernism of thinking a rationality of approach and a scientific attitude to life and the sublimity and the wisdom of live their ancient predecessors were slowly lost. There were many who delighted in doubting spiritual laws in denying the superphysical and went even to the extent of decrying soul and God. They succumbed to the glamour of applied science and the utility of an industrial revolution. the situation called for a revaluation of all values and for the building of man’s inner life upon a stronger foundation. There emerged several powerful and authentic voices in the prominent fields of life’s activity politics, sociology, religion yoga and spirituality to correct erring minds and give articulation to the requirements of truth law and morality. Swami Sivananda figured prominently among such leaders who brought about a through inner transformation in modern India, and placed the grand spiritual values on a firmer footing and in Porper setting.

The mission of the Philosopher-Saint

This lacuna in the entire stricture of life was carefully observed by the acytre vision of Swami Sivananda, who made It his mission to give to the world a comprehensive philosophical theory striking a balance between reconciling and blending tighter the demands of an obstinate empiricism and the principles and teachings of the lofty idealism that the eternal Spirit alone is real and to design comprehensively a practice of certain synthesized techniques of inner and outer discipline to achieve perfection While being fully convinced of the doctrine of non-dualism that nought else than God can have any ultimate value and having entered personally into the stupendous reality of its experience Swami Sivananda felt the need to intelligently tackle the situations in which the human mind is involved, without disturbing or upsetting the beliefs to the ignorant and talking consideration every aspect of man’s life. We cannot teach that life in the sense-sphere is all, that the physical body and the external material world constitute the only reality: for the thoughout nature; that love and joy refuse to be reduced to movements of electrons and protons; that the never-ending cry, form time immemorial of the mystics and the religious men who professed to know and who proclaimed of mystics and the religious men who professed to know and who proclaimed the existence of an the clear possibility of such a thing as immortality-cannot be set aside as mere distorted voices of morbid spirits or abnormal natures. Nor is pretentious man being what he is to be satisfied by the extraordinary teaching that the world is not there at all what he enjoys and suffers are mere phantasms that life is a delirium of consciousness that precious values which are so eagerly and anxiously treasured with zealous care are but the busy activities of a confused mind. For searching senses and the enquiring understanding vehemently complain that they see a world as hard, concrete and real as anything can be that the body has its paints and pleasures that life has its duties burdens, griefs, wonders and patent meaning which cannot be brushed aside by any effort of logic; that experience is real ad cannot be abrogated as worthless by any stretch of imagination; that the visible is real and is valued as amply testified by everyday experience. We cannot say that God created the world for God play for a perfect Being needs no play. We also cannot say that the world has no ultimate basis at all for the changing phases of physical nature and the moral urges of the inner spirit in man assert that God ought to be.

Life –A Sadhana

Swami Sivananda addresses himself to the difficult but important task of talking man as he is a growing organism of a psycho –physical character neither wholly nor fully absorbed spiritualistically in the super-mundane aim of divine existence. Man is not merely a body a mind or a spirit but a curious mixture of all these in a manner not comprehensible to ordinary intelligence. the Katha Upanishad says that the true enjoyer (or the empirical agent of knowledge and action) is a composite structure of the Atman the mind and the senses together. Life is not merely a process of swirling masses of matter, groups of molecules merely a process of swirling masses of matter groups of molecules aggregates of atoms or vortices of electrical forces nor is it an occasion for the study of psychology (or even metaphysics) nor an idealistic soaring into the realms of logical thought mental phenomena or mere psychic experience. Man is at once a physical embodiment phenomenon and the thirst of his vital forces but has to pay equal, if not greater attention to the demands of his psychic nature moral tendencies and spiritual aspirations. Life is a synthesis of the forces manifesting in different orders and in graduated scale of the evolutionary structure of nature. in this sense the whole of one’s life is a Sadhana an integral endeavour for fullness on the part of mysterious man whose constitution, attention and training ranges at once from the lowest matter to the highest Spirit. As a body he is a creature of natural forces subjected to the suffering and the mortality upon all composite structures in the physical world. He is one with inanimate matter taken purely as a material structure. But man’s tale does not end here. He grows like a plant feels and reacts like an animal and in-so-far the craving for food sleep and sex is concerned he is indistinguishable from the inhabitants of mute kingdom. But man struggles to reach above the realm of the brute. exercises a moral consciousness totally absent in animals and displays a marvelous understandings power and reasoning capacity in distinguishing between true and false right and wrong good and bad beautiful and ugly. This makes it amply clear that while partaking of the natures and matter life and mind (observable also in the in animate world the vegetable kingdom and the subhuman beings) he is also more than all these and while including these in his individual make-up he also transcends them in an astonishing degree. The life of man is thus very complex embracing variegated elements, exhibiting diverse characteristics and manifesting different grades of reality. If life is a Sadhana a continuous journey and movement and a story of adjusting oneself to and adapting oneself with the vast universe it is not enough if we merely look into one side of the picture. We have to consider every aspect of the revelation of reality in man. This is precisely the mission of Swami Sivananda to whom all life is Yoga and whose writings are an elaborate dissertation on integral living.

The Education of Man

The human self is constituted of a consciousness which is not pure existence but a dynamic process. this dynamic process is interfuses as it were with the nature of the circumstances in which it finds itself in the worlds an environment of social elements, political restrains moral commends physical needs vital urges intellectual situations and the like. In order words in his activities and in the problems he has to encounter every day man discovers that his life is related to others lives and undergoes growth and change as the world appears to change. We have to remember that human life is involved in the time-process and hence bound by temporal laws. The human self is in the world though not of the world. Thus a study of man is nothing but a reflection on the totality of situations within the range of human knowledge whether explicit as in the usual everyday experiences and in the themes of the physical and psychological sciences implied as in philosophy or revealed as in religion. Such a study has to include in its gamut the whole of life’s problems in so far as they affect the human self the aspiring individual Man thinks feels and wills and does not merely exist. Hence his approach to the religious value of God the ethical value of duty and the logical value of truth should proceed from his own central reality as far he experiences in his daily life.

Human life is conceived by Swami Sivananda as a school of education for the jiva (or the empirical self) caught up in the meshes of ignorance desire and activity. This education has to be physical intellectual emotional, moral, active and spiritual all at once in a way beautifully fitted to the conditions in which one is placed. The actual technique of this education differs is its details in different individuals in accordance with their age health avocation of the soul in a variegated world. Essentially any scheme of education should consist of methods for bringing about and effecting (1) the development of personality (2) a knowledge of the world (3)an adjustment of self with society and (4) a realization of the permanent values By development of personality what is meant is the internal states of body mind and consciousness but also in relation to the internal states of body mind and consciousness but also in relation to the external world reaching up of the individual not only in relation to the external world teaching up to it through the different levels of society. in this sense true education is both a diving inward and a spreading outward. Knowledge of the world is not merely a collection of facts or gathering information regarding the contents of the physical world but forms a specific insight into its inner working as well at least in so far as man’s inner and outer life is inextricably bound up with them. When this knowledge of one’s own individuality and personality as it is involved in a world of picturesque colours and varying depths is acquired through intensive training by study reflection and service of one’s preceptor, it becomes easy for one to discover the art of adjusting oneself with society. Truly speaking this adjustment is not possible for one who has no knowledge of the deeper spiritual nature of humanity.

The aim of the individual as well as of society is the realization of the values –personal social political and even universal –all mutually related and determined by a common goal to which all these are directed consciously or unconsciously. Ignorant man may not be fully aware that the eternal values of life are summed up in the all-comprehensive terms God, Freedom, Immortality and that all his daily struggles are nothing but gropings of his mind in the darkness of his ignorance to recognise and participate in these by way of all that he see hears or understands. To awaken the human spirit to this tremendous fact is the primary mission of Swami Sivananda and his voluminous works cater variegatedly to the hungry souls who are in search of food but cannot find it for want of knowledge.

Characteristics of His Works

The Writings of Swami Sivananda cover a vast range of subject in accordance with his plan of approaching man from every side and every aspect. These works treat of –in detail-such diverse topics as anatomy and physiology health, hygiene and sanitation; physical exercise first aid and treatment of diseases; the discipline of the physical body through the technical hatha-yoga processes of asanas (or bodily postures) pranayama (or the regulation of the vital force and of breathing), bandhas, mudras and Kriyas all intricate methods of the perfection of the body to prepare it for withstanding the onslaughts of nature’s pairs of opposites such as heat and cold hunger and thirst and exhaustive psychological analysis of the composition working and behaviour of the inner man the mental volitional affective moral and rational natures which so much influence and decide the values of life as a whole the duties of man his relationship to family community and nation his position in the world and the universe his national structure values and a comprehensive and penetrating discussion of the characteristics of the ultimate goal of human life as well as an intensive treatment of the nature of the way leading to this goal.

In his expositions of these subjects Swami Sivananda appeals not merely to the rational and the scientific man the intelligentsia of society but also to the devout the faithful and the believing and the common masses ignorant higher laws; to spiritual aspirants recluses, be observed on a careful study of his writings that his appeal is more to the heart and the feelings and his admonitions are mostly of a practical nature adapted for an immediate application on the day-to-day life of man belonging to every class of society.

His works are strictly speaking comprehensive gospels on the different yogas e.g.(1) Jnana Yoga (the philosophical technique of the retional and the scientific intellect in unraveling the secrets of nature and living a life of the wisdom, truth and justice of the law of the Absolute (2) Raja Yoga (The psychic and mystical way of analyzing dissecting and inhibiting the constituents and modifications of the mind-stuff, thus enabling man to overcome its tyrannies and to rise to a comprehension of his position in a universality of the Spirit or the Purusha; (3) Bhakti Yoga (The way of spiritual love and devotion directed to the majestic Sovereign of the universe the merciful and compassionate Father of all creation by which emotions-Such as those fastening man to relationships with has parents children, masters, friends and partner in life are sublimated and ennobled by being centred in the universal nature of God, who promise man the hope of salvation when he has surrendered his self completely to him); (4) Karma Yoga (the science and art of spiritual activity a splendid manner of converting every action and every duty in life-physical, mental, moral or spiritual –into yoga by linking it up with a ceaseless consciousness of the omnipresence of the Absolute of the surrender of personality of God, or of one’s standing as an unaffected witness of the movements of the internal and external nature); (5) Hatha Yoga (the disciplining of the physical body the nervous system and the vital forces with a view to preparing and mediation); (6) Kundalini yoga bringing into activity of a highly occult force dominant and latent in individual by rousing of which through a training of the prana and the mind the illimitable resources of nature are spontaneously placed at the disposal of man and he becomes possessed of a consciousness of his true at one ment with universe); (7) Mantra, Yantra and tantra yogas (the ways of certain purely mystic processes of generating spiritual forces and vibrations within as also of relating these to the forces without through the symbology of specific sounds, formulas, diagrams and rituals intended to free man from confinement to the lower nature and raise him to the regions of the higher nature); (8) Japa Yoga (the spiritual practice of chanting of the name of God or certain significant letters, words, phrases or sentences in order to bring about a condition of harmony and illumination in the inner nature of man); (9) Laya Yoga (the method of the dissolution of the mind in the spirit by the recession of effects into causes, the merging of grosser in th subtler and raising of one’s consciousness and force from the lower to the higher). Swami Sivananda displays a great mastery in the synthesis of these various yogas and assures the aspirant-world that success is bound to come when practice is backed up sincerity firmness and patience.

Contents

Introduction v
How God Came Into My Life 1
Chapter 1: Heritage and Childhood 5
Chapter 2: Medical Career 13
Malaya 18
Senewang Estate 19
Johore 23
Life With The Doctor 26
Chapter 3: Renunciation 40
Sannyas 45
Chapter 4: Swarg Ashram 53
A Glimpse of Real Sadhana 53
Samadhi70
Chapter 5: Birth of the mission 74
The First Book 74
The First Disciples75
The First Evangelical Mission 85
Swarg Ashram Sadhu Sangha 94
Chapter 6; The second Renunciation 96
The First Step- Sivananda Ashram 99
The Divine Life Trust Society 102
The Divine Life Society 103
The Ashram Grows 105
Treatment of Visitors 112
Training in Self Reliance 116
Blueprint for the Institution 122
Chapter 7: Formal Training 125
Definition of a Disciple 128
Maker of Saints 133
Touchstone of Discipleship 137
Chapter 8 Unconventional Methods 145
Freedom and Discipline 149
Laziness 152
Sannyas 159
Chapter 9: Guru and Disciple 162
Discipleship 164
Supreme Solicitude 166
Sowing the seed 171
Self- purification 174
Welfare of Disciples 175
Chapter 10: Integral Perfection 179
Religious Freedom 195
Attitude to money 198
Health Re-defined 200
Chapter 11: Devotion 208
Satsang208
Songs 211
Prayer 212
Worship 215
Japa: Mantra Repetition 221
Chapter 12: Sivananda’s Daily Life 225
Chapter 13: Miracles 239
Chapter 14: The Assailant 258
Chapter 15: Milestones 263
All India Tour 263
Parliament of Religious 292
Platinum Jubilee 296
Sivananda Literature Festival 302
Chapter 16: The Mission Spreads 305
Western Disciples 305
Branches 315
The Divine Life Spirit 317
All-world Religious Federation 319
All-world Sadhu’s Federation 320
Dynamic Spiritual Awakening 322
Sadhana Weeks 325
Birthdays 334
His Voice Immortalised 336
Chapter 17: Sivananda Medical Organization 341
Sivananda Hospital 343
Sivananda Eye Hospital 344
Eye Campus 345
Health Education 348
University of Outlook 350
Sivananda Ayurvedic pharmacy354
Ideals of a Selfless Worker 355
Chapter 18: Communication and Education359
Photographic Studios 359
The Post Office 359
Sivananda Primary School 364
Sanskrit 366
Sivananda Music School 369
The Collage of Yoga and Vedanta 371
Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy 373
The Sivananda Regalia 376
Yoga Museum 377
Chapter 19: Dissemination of Spiritual Knowledge 378
Swarg Ashram 378
The Mighty Spirit 390
The Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy Press 391
Spread of Teachings 396
Physical Mental and moral welfare 400
Sivananda Literature Research Institute 405
Translations 406
Sivananda Literature Dissemination Committee 406
Journals 407
Epilogue 409
Chapter 20: Last Days 411
Appendix 414
Glossary 421

Sivananda Biography of a Modern Sage (Life and Works of Swami Sivananda)

Item Code:
IDL180
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2006
ISBN:
8170521866
Size:
9.0" X 5.8"
Pages:
426 (20 B/W Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 660 gms
Price:
$25.00   Shipping Free
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From the Jacket

Swami Sivananda was incomparable: he was indefinable and therefore unpredictable. He had no stereotyped behaviour. set responses or rigid routines. There was no dogma in him. And yet he was not necessarily opposed to dogma.

He was not opposed to anything, not even to opposition! In him contradictions were reconciled into a complete into a complete wholeness and the changes blended into an unchanging light that defied description.

Back of the Book

In this book the many faceted person ality of Swami Sivananda is depicted through examples and stories as told by his close disciples as well as from his letters and official accounts in The Divine Life Magazine. They relate the Story of a very great human being in a most effective manner. All the complexities of a sage of infinite wisdom, compassion and love are explored. His unparalleled selfless service of humanity (first as a medical doctor and later as a realized sage) provides an inspiring example of strength humility and devotion. His dedication to the welfare of not only his own disciples but mankind at large is described in this volume.

Introduction

The world we live in is observed to be a solid mass of matter. Even our own bodies are seen to be parts of physical nature governed by mechanistic laws, which alone appears to be all that is real. It has become a commonplace idea today especially in the universe of science that life is strictly of the world. We are told that distinction that are supposed to subsist between such realms of being as matter life and mind are only manifestation and spreading of practical of matter. Even the organism of the human body, which appears to defy the laws of the universal machine the modern science envisages is explained away as only one of the many forms of the working of the brute force of matter which is the ultimate stuff of all things. The natural consequence of such a theory as this is the astonishing conclusion that human life like every other material substance in the world is completely determined by blind causal laws and the so-called free-will of man is subservient to them if not a mere chimera. When we protest that man is not merely matter but also mind it is explained that mind is nothing but a subtle and ethereal exudation of forces of matter. Man is reduced to an insignificant speck in the gigantic machinery of the cosmos which works ruthlessly with its own laws unconcerned with the weal and woe of man.

This naturalistic interpretation of life, that is fast threatening to become rampant on this modern scientific and atomic age, seems to be really the philosophy of the common credulous man and even of the intelligent public who have neither the patience and the leisure (nor the equipment of understanding) to fathom the greater depths of human experience. Hand in hand with this theory of crass materialism there is a craze for more comfort and pleasure by lessening effort and movement of every kind and an inherent felling that material progress conceived at its zenith should be the ultimate purpose of existence. Due to an irrational faith in the efficacy and correctness of the doctrine the man of the world seems to have forgotten the corruption of moral values today the fall in the mental life and the standard of present day education and a sense of monotony and restlessness of spirit brought about by such a view of life in spite of his riches and material possessions.

The fact that man is not merely a humble cogwheel in the deterministic machine of a relentless universe and that the essence of man is a was easily felt by many as a reaction to the very unsatisfactory and humdrum propaganda carried on by the materialists. The balance swung from the extreme of materialism holding that man is merged in the physical nature to the other extreme of the idealism which propounded that man is preface dragged on by the impetus of a comic spiritual Substance. the difference between these materialistic and idealistic theories is found finally to be in the conception of the ultimate stuff and constitution of the universe the one advocating that it is matter motion and force and the other affirming that it is pure Mind or spirit. But both agree in holding that man has no real choice and freedom of his own he being inextricably involved merged and lost in the ultimate reality of the universe be it material mental or spiritual. Unfortunate man discovered that it was hard for him under such circumstances to live a normal life of enjoyment of the aesthetic religious and moral values and at the same time feel well planted on mother earth with her richness and grandeur promise and mysteries. Yet that life is not all. There is some awe inspiring and terrible truth continuously pointed out by the phenomena of suffering, pain and death; by the restlessness of the world and the vicissitudes of life the endless desires of man and the moral aspirations surging from within. The man of the world required a loving and sympathetic reasonable and satisfying teaching to enable him to live as an individual fulfilling his daily duties in life and yet aspiring for that marvelous and magnificent beyond which ever seems to beckon him through the tantalizing veils of Nature.

With the advent to beckon of western education people began to move along the ruts of a so-called modernism of thinking a rationality of approach and a scientific attitude to life and the sublimity and the wisdom of live their ancient predecessors were slowly lost. There were many who delighted in doubting spiritual laws in denying the superphysical and went even to the extent of decrying soul and God. They succumbed to the glamour of applied science and the utility of an industrial revolution. the situation called for a revaluation of all values and for the building of man’s inner life upon a stronger foundation. There emerged several powerful and authentic voices in the prominent fields of life’s activity politics, sociology, religion yoga and spirituality to correct erring minds and give articulation to the requirements of truth law and morality. Swami Sivananda figured prominently among such leaders who brought about a through inner transformation in modern India, and placed the grand spiritual values on a firmer footing and in Porper setting.

The mission of the Philosopher-Saint

This lacuna in the entire stricture of life was carefully observed by the acytre vision of Swami Sivananda, who made It his mission to give to the world a comprehensive philosophical theory striking a balance between reconciling and blending tighter the demands of an obstinate empiricism and the principles and teachings of the lofty idealism that the eternal Spirit alone is real and to design comprehensively a practice of certain synthesized techniques of inner and outer discipline to achieve perfection While being fully convinced of the doctrine of non-dualism that nought else than God can have any ultimate value and having entered personally into the stupendous reality of its experience Swami Sivananda felt the need to intelligently tackle the situations in which the human mind is involved, without disturbing or upsetting the beliefs to the ignorant and talking consideration every aspect of man’s life. We cannot teach that life in the sense-sphere is all, that the physical body and the external material world constitute the only reality: for the thoughout nature; that love and joy refuse to be reduced to movements of electrons and protons; that the never-ending cry, form time immemorial of the mystics and the religious men who professed to know and who proclaimed of mystics and the religious men who professed to know and who proclaimed the existence of an the clear possibility of such a thing as immortality-cannot be set aside as mere distorted voices of morbid spirits or abnormal natures. Nor is pretentious man being what he is to be satisfied by the extraordinary teaching that the world is not there at all what he enjoys and suffers are mere phantasms that life is a delirium of consciousness that precious values which are so eagerly and anxiously treasured with zealous care are but the busy activities of a confused mind. For searching senses and the enquiring understanding vehemently complain that they see a world as hard, concrete and real as anything can be that the body has its paints and pleasures that life has its duties burdens, griefs, wonders and patent meaning which cannot be brushed aside by any effort of logic; that experience is real ad cannot be abrogated as worthless by any stretch of imagination; that the visible is real and is valued as amply testified by everyday experience. We cannot say that God created the world for God play for a perfect Being needs no play. We also cannot say that the world has no ultimate basis at all for the changing phases of physical nature and the moral urges of the inner spirit in man assert that God ought to be.

Life –A Sadhana

Swami Sivananda addresses himself to the difficult but important task of talking man as he is a growing organism of a psycho –physical character neither wholly nor fully absorbed spiritualistically in the super-mundane aim of divine existence. Man is not merely a body a mind or a spirit but a curious mixture of all these in a manner not comprehensible to ordinary intelligence. the Katha Upanishad says that the true enjoyer (or the empirical agent of knowledge and action) is a composite structure of the Atman the mind and the senses together. Life is not merely a process of swirling masses of matter, groups of molecules merely a process of swirling masses of matter groups of molecules aggregates of atoms or vortices of electrical forces nor is it an occasion for the study of psychology (or even metaphysics) nor an idealistic soaring into the realms of logical thought mental phenomena or mere psychic experience. Man is at once a physical embodiment phenomenon and the thirst of his vital forces but has to pay equal, if not greater attention to the demands of his psychic nature moral tendencies and spiritual aspirations. Life is a synthesis of the forces manifesting in different orders and in graduated scale of the evolutionary structure of nature. in this sense the whole of one’s life is a Sadhana an integral endeavour for fullness on the part of mysterious man whose constitution, attention and training ranges at once from the lowest matter to the highest Spirit. As a body he is a creature of natural forces subjected to the suffering and the mortality upon all composite structures in the physical world. He is one with inanimate matter taken purely as a material structure. But man’s tale does not end here. He grows like a plant feels and reacts like an animal and in-so-far the craving for food sleep and sex is concerned he is indistinguishable from the inhabitants of mute kingdom. But man struggles to reach above the realm of the brute. exercises a moral consciousness totally absent in animals and displays a marvelous understandings power and reasoning capacity in distinguishing between true and false right and wrong good and bad beautiful and ugly. This makes it amply clear that while partaking of the natures and matter life and mind (observable also in the in animate world the vegetable kingdom and the subhuman beings) he is also more than all these and while including these in his individual make-up he also transcends them in an astonishing degree. The life of man is thus very complex embracing variegated elements, exhibiting diverse characteristics and manifesting different grades of reality. If life is a Sadhana a continuous journey and movement and a story of adjusting oneself to and adapting oneself with the vast universe it is not enough if we merely look into one side of the picture. We have to consider every aspect of the revelation of reality in man. This is precisely the mission of Swami Sivananda to whom all life is Yoga and whose writings are an elaborate dissertation on integral living.

The Education of Man

The human self is constituted of a consciousness which is not pure existence but a dynamic process. this dynamic process is interfuses as it were with the nature of the circumstances in which it finds itself in the worlds an environment of social elements, political restrains moral commends physical needs vital urges intellectual situations and the like. In order words in his activities and in the problems he has to encounter every day man discovers that his life is related to others lives and undergoes growth and change as the world appears to change. We have to remember that human life is involved in the time-process and hence bound by temporal laws. The human self is in the world though not of the world. Thus a study of man is nothing but a reflection on the totality of situations within the range of human knowledge whether explicit as in the usual everyday experiences and in the themes of the physical and psychological sciences implied as in philosophy or revealed as in religion. Such a study has to include in its gamut the whole of life’s problems in so far as they affect the human self the aspiring individual Man thinks feels and wills and does not merely exist. Hence his approach to the religious value of God the ethical value of duty and the logical value of truth should proceed from his own central reality as far he experiences in his daily life.

Human life is conceived by Swami Sivananda as a school of education for the jiva (or the empirical self) caught up in the meshes of ignorance desire and activity. This education has to be physical intellectual emotional, moral, active and spiritual all at once in a way beautifully fitted to the conditions in which one is placed. The actual technique of this education differs is its details in different individuals in accordance with their age health avocation of the soul in a variegated world. Essentially any scheme of education should consist of methods for bringing about and effecting (1) the development of personality (2) a knowledge of the world (3)an adjustment of self with society and (4) a realization of the permanent values By development of personality what is meant is the internal states of body mind and consciousness but also in relation to the internal states of body mind and consciousness but also in relation to the external world reaching up of the individual not only in relation to the external world teaching up to it through the different levels of society. in this sense true education is both a diving inward and a spreading outward. Knowledge of the world is not merely a collection of facts or gathering information regarding the contents of the physical world but forms a specific insight into its inner working as well at least in so far as man’s inner and outer life is inextricably bound up with them. When this knowledge of one’s own individuality and personality as it is involved in a world of picturesque colours and varying depths is acquired through intensive training by study reflection and service of one’s preceptor, it becomes easy for one to discover the art of adjusting oneself with society. Truly speaking this adjustment is not possible for one who has no knowledge of the deeper spiritual nature of humanity.

The aim of the individual as well as of society is the realization of the values –personal social political and even universal –all mutually related and determined by a common goal to which all these are directed consciously or unconsciously. Ignorant man may not be fully aware that the eternal values of life are summed up in the all-comprehensive terms God, Freedom, Immortality and that all his daily struggles are nothing but gropings of his mind in the darkness of his ignorance to recognise and participate in these by way of all that he see hears or understands. To awaken the human spirit to this tremendous fact is the primary mission of Swami Sivananda and his voluminous works cater variegatedly to the hungry souls who are in search of food but cannot find it for want of knowledge.

Characteristics of His Works

The Writings of Swami Sivananda cover a vast range of subject in accordance with his plan of approaching man from every side and every aspect. These works treat of –in detail-such diverse topics as anatomy and physiology health, hygiene and sanitation; physical exercise first aid and treatment of diseases; the discipline of the physical body through the technical hatha-yoga processes of asanas (or bodily postures) pranayama (or the regulation of the vital force and of breathing), bandhas, mudras and Kriyas all intricate methods of the perfection of the body to prepare it for withstanding the onslaughts of nature’s pairs of opposites such as heat and cold hunger and thirst and exhaustive psychological analysis of the composition working and behaviour of the inner man the mental volitional affective moral and rational natures which so much influence and decide the values of life as a whole the duties of man his relationship to family community and nation his position in the world and the universe his national structure values and a comprehensive and penetrating discussion of the characteristics of the ultimate goal of human life as well as an intensive treatment of the nature of the way leading to this goal.

In his expositions of these subjects Swami Sivananda appeals not merely to the rational and the scientific man the intelligentsia of society but also to the devout the faithful and the believing and the common masses ignorant higher laws; to spiritual aspirants recluses, be observed on a careful study of his writings that his appeal is more to the heart and the feelings and his admonitions are mostly of a practical nature adapted for an immediate application on the day-to-day life of man belonging to every class of society.

His works are strictly speaking comprehensive gospels on the different yogas e.g.(1) Jnana Yoga (the philosophical technique of the retional and the scientific intellect in unraveling the secrets of nature and living a life of the wisdom, truth and justice of the law of the Absolute (2) Raja Yoga (The psychic and mystical way of analyzing dissecting and inhibiting the constituents and modifications of the mind-stuff, thus enabling man to overcome its tyrannies and to rise to a comprehension of his position in a universality of the Spirit or the Purusha; (3) Bhakti Yoga (The way of spiritual love and devotion directed to the majestic Sovereign of the universe the merciful and compassionate Father of all creation by which emotions-Such as those fastening man to relationships with has parents children, masters, friends and partner in life are sublimated and ennobled by being centred in the universal nature of God, who promise man the hope of salvation when he has surrendered his self completely to him); (4) Karma Yoga (the science and art of spiritual activity a splendid manner of converting every action and every duty in life-physical, mental, moral or spiritual –into yoga by linking it up with a ceaseless consciousness of the omnipresence of the Absolute of the surrender of personality of God, or of one’s standing as an unaffected witness of the movements of the internal and external nature); (5) Hatha Yoga (the disciplining of the physical body the nervous system and the vital forces with a view to preparing and mediation); (6) Kundalini yoga bringing into activity of a highly occult force dominant and latent in individual by rousing of which through a training of the prana and the mind the illimitable resources of nature are spontaneously placed at the disposal of man and he becomes possessed of a consciousness of his true at one ment with universe); (7) Mantra, Yantra and tantra yogas (the ways of certain purely mystic processes of generating spiritual forces and vibrations within as also of relating these to the forces without through the symbology of specific sounds, formulas, diagrams and rituals intended to free man from confinement to the lower nature and raise him to the regions of the higher nature); (8) Japa Yoga (the spiritual practice of chanting of the name of God or certain significant letters, words, phrases or sentences in order to bring about a condition of harmony and illumination in the inner nature of man); (9) Laya Yoga (the method of the dissolution of the mind in the spirit by the recession of effects into causes, the merging of grosser in th subtler and raising of one’s consciousness and force from the lower to the higher). Swami Sivananda displays a great mastery in the synthesis of these various yogas and assures the aspirant-world that success is bound to come when practice is backed up sincerity firmness and patience.

Contents

Introduction v
How God Came Into My Life 1
Chapter 1: Heritage and Childhood 5
Chapter 2: Medical Career 13
Malaya 18
Senewang Estate 19
Johore 23
Life With The Doctor 26
Chapter 3: Renunciation 40
Sannyas 45
Chapter 4: Swarg Ashram 53
A Glimpse of Real Sadhana 53
Samadhi70
Chapter 5: Birth of the mission 74
The First Book 74
The First Disciples75
The First Evangelical Mission 85
Swarg Ashram Sadhu Sangha 94
Chapter 6; The second Renunciation 96
The First Step- Sivananda Ashram 99
The Divine Life Trust Society 102
The Divine Life Society 103
The Ashram Grows 105
Treatment of Visitors 112
Training in Self Reliance 116
Blueprint for the Institution 122
Chapter 7: Formal Training 125
Definition of a Disciple 128
Maker of Saints 133
Touchstone of Discipleship 137
Chapter 8 Unconventional Methods 145
Freedom and Discipline 149
Laziness 152
Sannyas 159
Chapter 9: Guru and Disciple 162
Discipleship 164
Supreme Solicitude 166
Sowing the seed 171
Self- purification 174
Welfare of Disciples 175
Chapter 10: Integral Perfection 179
Religious Freedom 195
Attitude to money 198
Health Re-defined 200
Chapter 11: Devotion 208
Satsang208
Songs 211
Prayer 212
Worship 215
Japa: Mantra Repetition 221
Chapter 12: Sivananda’s Daily Life 225
Chapter 13: Miracles 239
Chapter 14: The Assailant 258
Chapter 15: Milestones 263
All India Tour 263
Parliament of Religious 292
Platinum Jubilee 296
Sivananda Literature Festival 302
Chapter 16: The Mission Spreads 305
Western Disciples 305
Branches 315
The Divine Life Spirit 317
All-world Religious Federation 319
All-world Sadhu’s Federation 320
Dynamic Spiritual Awakening 322
Sadhana Weeks 325
Birthdays 334
His Voice Immortalised 336
Chapter 17: Sivananda Medical Organization 341
Sivananda Hospital 343
Sivananda Eye Hospital 344
Eye Campus 345
Health Education 348
University of Outlook 350
Sivananda Ayurvedic pharmacy354
Ideals of a Selfless Worker 355
Chapter 18: Communication and Education359
Photographic Studios 359
The Post Office 359
Sivananda Primary School 364
Sanskrit 366
Sivananda Music School 369
The Collage of Yoga and Vedanta 371
Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy 373
The Sivananda Regalia 376
Yoga Museum 377
Chapter 19: Dissemination of Spiritual Knowledge 378
Swarg Ashram 378
The Mighty Spirit 390
The Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy Press 391
Spread of Teachings 396
Physical Mental and moral welfare 400
Sivananda Literature Research Institute 405
Translations 406
Sivananda Literature Dissemination Committee 406
Journals 407
Epilogue 409
Chapter 20: Last Days 411
Appendix 414
Glossary 421
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