Swami Sivananda (1887 - 1963)

“Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize.”

A venerated saint of modern times, Swami Sivananda is the inspiration behind the international Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. Born in India, he served for many years as a medical doctor before renouncing worldly life and establishing the Sivananda Ashram in 1932.
His mission was to serve humanity by sharing his profound understanding of yoga, and in 1936, he founded the Divine Life Society to publish and freely distribute spiritual texts.
To make the teachings more accessible, he developed the “Yoga of Synthesis,” an amalgamation of the formal doctrines of yoga (or the Four Paths of Yoga) that he summarized as follows: “serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize.” Over his lifetime, Swami Sivananda authored more than 300 books that have provided spiritual guidance to millions around the world. Though he never left India, his teachings quickly spread worldwide, leaving an international legacy of love, peace, and knowledge still unfolding today.
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Om Namah Sivaya
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Swami Sivananda (1887 - 1963)

“Happiness comes from within. It cannot come from without.”

A world authority on Hatha and Raja Yoga, Swami Vishnudevananda (Swami Vishnu) was sent to the west in 1957 by his guru, Swami Sivananda, to spread the teachings of yoga and the message of world peace. With only 10 rupees in his pocket, Swami Vishnu worked his way to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where he quickly established the first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in 1959. The centre marked the beginning of what is now a worldwide organization, and less than four years after it opened its doors, Swami Vishnu started the Sivananda Yoga Camp in the Laurentian Mountains, Quebec, the first Sivananda ashram in the west. With the ashram came the yoga vacation program, which Swami Vishnu built on the principles of the Five Points of Yoga, a system he developed to make the practice of yoga more accessible to the western public.

Following the success of the yoga vacation program, Swami Vishnu founded the True World Order (TWO) and the Teachers’ Training Course (TTC) in 1969 to train future ambassadors of peace and further his mission to cultivate global harmony. Swami Vishnu understood that to attain universal peace, we must first establish peace within ourselves, and worked tirelessly to share this message by teaching practical and philosophical techniques that foster inner serenity.
To continue this mission, Swami Vishnu taught himself to fly and piloted a small plane (otherwise known as the “Peace Plane”) across international borders to bring awareness to the need for peace. Earning the nickname “The Flying Swami,” he flew into troubled and war-torn areas and over no-fly zones to demonstrate that national, political, social, and ethnic divisions are limitations of the mind and can be overcome. A fervent believer in the principle “unity in diversity,’ Swami Vishnu advocated a global citizenship that embraced all backgrounds and beliefs in the name of world peace.

As a result of Swami Vishnu’s limitless energy and ceaseless dedication, there are currently 10 Sivananda ashrams, 30 yoga centres, and over 40,000 TTC graduates worldwide. The founder of one of the largest international yoga organizations, he also authored the bestsellers The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga and Meditation and Mantras, and his teachings remain the driving force behind all of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres today. Always dedicating his work in honour of his guru, Swami Vishnu’s message of inner peace continues to live on through those he has inspired, bringing the world closer to a state of harmony.
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Om Namo Narayanaya
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