Swami Sivananda Saraswati

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Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Sivananda, Kuppuswamy, Swami Shivananda Saraswati
Spiritual Teacher
Yoga, Vedanta
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
8th. of September, 1887
Place of Birth: 
Pattamadai, South India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
14th of July 1963
Ancestor Gurus: 


Swami Sivananda Saraswati was a Hindu spiritual teacher and a well known proponent of Yoga and Vedanta. Sivananda was born Kuppuswami in Pattamadai which is in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. He studied medicine and served in Malaya as a physician for several years before taking up monasticism. He lived most of the later part of his life in Rishikesh. He is the founder of The Divine Life Society and author of over 200 books on yoga, vedanta and a variety of other subjects. He established Sivananda Ashram, the location of the headquarters of The Divine Life Society (DLS), on the bank of the Ganges at Shivanandanagar, at a distance of 3 kilometres from Rishikesh Town, (Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, U.P., India).

Sivananda was born Kuppuswamy in Pattamadai near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, India as the third son to his parents on 8 September 1887.

Upon graduation he practiced medicine and worked as a doctor in Malaya for ten years, with a reputation for waiving his fee for poor patients needing treatment. 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 he visited Banaras, Nashik, to Rishikesh in 1924 where met his guru, Swami Vishwananda Saraswati. It was Vishwananda who initiated him into the Sannyas order.

With some money from his insurance policy that had matured, he started a charitable dispensary at Lakshmanjula in 1927 and served pilgrims, holy men and the poor using his medical expertise.

After a few years, Sivananda went on an extensive pilgrimage. Sivananda 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 Suddhananda Bharati. 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.

Sivananda founded the Divine Life Society in 1936 on the banks of the holy Ganges River.

In 1945, Swami Sivananda created the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy, and organized 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's disciple Swami Chidananda is the current President of the Divine Life Society in India and was appointed by Swami Sivananda.

A prolific author, Swami Sivananda wrote exactly 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. Yet his books emphasized the practical application of yoga philosophy over mere theoretical knowledge. He was known to have said "An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory. Practice Yoga, Religion and Philosophy in daily life and attain Self-realization."

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.

On the 14th of July 1963, the Great Soul Swami Sivananda entered Mahasamadhi (departure of a Self-realized saint from his mortal coil) in his Kutir on the bank of Ganga, in Shivanandanagar.

Divine Life Society, Sivanand Ashram,Rishikesh, India


Swami Sivananda teaches us that God is within us, and whatever we see, hear, touch or feel is also manifestation of God only. He saw only God in all existence. Swamiji does not ask you to give up your home, wealth and relations, and to run away into a cave or jungle. On the contrary, he assures us that it is possible to attain divinity while living in our present surroundings and discharging all our duties and obligations.

Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate and Realise. Be Good Do Good". Reflect deeply on these wonderful words, which reveal the secret of harmony, peace, joy, success and Bliss. Remember that the salt of life is selfless service, the bread of life is universal love; the water of life is purity. Hence serve, love and be pure. The fragrance of life is generosity; the sweetness of life is devotion; the pivot of life is meditation. The goal of human life is Self-realisation. Therefore be devoted and generous. Meditate and realize the Self.



The General Secretary
Hqrs, Rishikesh
P.O. Shivanandanagar -249 192,
District Tehri-Garhwal, Uttarakhand.
Phone: (91)-135-2430040 / 2431190
Fax: (91)-135-2442046 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm IST)
E-mail - generalsecretary@sivanandaonline.org

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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha/2008 Fourth Revised Edition

by Swami Satyananda Saraswati


Asana Prana Yama Mudra Bandha is recognised internationally as one of the most systematic yoga manuals today. Since it's first publication by the Bihar School of yoga in 1969 it has been reprinted seventeen times and translated into many languages. It is the main reference text used by Yoga teachers and students of Bihar Yoga/Satyananda Yoga within the International Yoga Movement, and many other traditions as well. This comprehensive text provides clear illustrations. step by step directions and details of chakra awareness. It guides the practitioner or teacher from the simplest to the most advanced practices of hatha yoga system. A therapeutic index is provided for use by doctors and yoga therapists incorporating recent information from research into yoga. This edition successfully brings the exposition of yoga practices to the standard of a university text. This latest Fourth Revised Edition has been revised and updated under the direction of Swami Niranjananda Saraswati,the successor of Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Since publication of the first edition,interest in yoga has spread widely.Now the book is used in ashrams,centres and yoga schools in many countries as the standard textbook for teachers and students alike.The techniques presented have been assimilated by fields as diverse as medicine,education,entetainment,business,sports and the training of spiritual aspirants.

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Sivanada publications provides the most authentic source of pure knowledge, they provide the translation of ancient scriptures in the most simple way..
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