Sivananda authored more than 200 books, handwritten
Swami Sivananda was born September 8, 1887. As a young man he studied and practiced medicine, traveling to Malaysia for a time. While there, he received instruction on yoga after curing a wandering monk. Soon after this, Sivananda turned inward and began his own spiritual search, eventually reaching Rishikesh, the holy town in India where the Ganges plains meet the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. After ten years of intense spiritual practice, Swami Sivananda began teaching yoga through direct instruction and writing. His spiritual teachings are gathered and shared through the Divine Life Society.
These concepts of the Divine Life are shared by Sri Swami Vekatesananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda.
- Recognition of the universal truth that we are Immortal Spirit encased in mortal human sheath. There is divine spark in everyone.
- Strive for integral perfection of the personality: sublimate your emotions, purify your thoughts, strengthen your will, enlighten your intellect, control your mind and curb your senses. Your thoughts must be sublime, your speech noble and ennobling and your actions selfless and humanitarian.
- One’s inner life and external conduct must be integrated: be good and do good.
- Social well-being and individual salvation are two sides of the same coin; atheism, materialism, and sensualism threaten both. One should live in the world and yet not be worldly. Society is a training ground for the individual soul, enabling us to cultivate virtues and to serve others, and test and evaluate our inner spiritual worth.
Work to integrate three aspects of life: Man and the world; Head, Heart, Hands; Man and God
- Man and the World: If you cut yourself away from society, if you shrink from your duties in life, there will be a disintegration of our personality and the society too will suffer. Therefore Swami Sivananda exhorts us to ‘Serve all. Love all. Give or share with others, what we have.’
- Head, Heart, Hands: Convert one’s own heart into God’s Abode, pure and God-loving. Illuminate the mind with Divine Light, the Light of highest wisdom. Use this vision to see through the veil of illusion that is separation, that one is distinct and separate, and that one must deprive others for survival. See all of creation as one Cosmic Soul. With the love of God in the heart, and understanding of God in the mind, love all and serve all, and share what you have. Do this without pride. Goodness becomes natural, spontaneous and overwhelming.
- Man and God: Goodness paves the way for Godliness. Intellectual understanding moves to direct experience, by seeing the Divine Spark in oneself and all beings. Past wrongs veil the heart and are purified through pranayama, repetition of Holy Names of God, study of scriptures, and keeping the company of holy ones. With meditation and Realization, the rays of the mind are concentrated inward, the veils of illusion are completely burnt, and Truth is realized. This is an ineffable, direct and immediate experience. One realizes that one is, and has ever been, God in reality. A realized being is the greatest benefactor of humanity, an inspiration to all and a becon of light to society.