Swami Sivananda Saraswati Rishikesh
On Thursday, the 8th of September 1887, in the village of Pattamadai on the bank of the river Tamraparani in South India, a child was born to Sri P.S. Vengu Iyer (a revenue officer, and a great Siva Bhakta) and Srimati Parvati Ammal (an equally great god-fearing lady). The happy couple christened this last and third son of theirs Kuppuswamy.
Kuppuswami always topped the class and won prizes every year in his school. He had a sweet voice and wonderful memory. At the same time, he had an inclination towards spirituality since his birth itself. His natural selfless spirit led him to a career in the medical field. Kuppuswamy completed his course in medicine and became Doctor by earning the title of M.B., C.M. He practiced at Tiruchi. While practicing, he started a medical journal called “The Ambrosia”.
In 1913, Dr. Kuppuswamy got a call from Malaya (Malaysia), which he accepted and left India to practice his medicine there. As far as his profession is concerned, He was very kind, sympathetic, humorous, witty, and sweet-speaking. Many tough and hopeless cases came to him, but he was successful in dealing with them. Everywhere people declared that he had a special gift from God for the miraculous cures effected in the patients and acclaimed him as a very kind and sympathetic doctor. In serious cases, he kept vigil all night. In his private practice, Dr. Kuppuswamy used to attend to the poor and often not charge them even visiting or consulting fees. Instead, he would give them money for a special diet or cover their own expenses after discharge from the hospital.
Filled with a tremendous desire for spiritual growth and enlightenment, Kuppuswami left his work at Malaya and reached the foothills of Himalaya. There in the holy town of Rishikesh (which means “the abode of the sages”), Kuppuswami discovered his Guru, Sri Swami Visvananda Saraswati, who gave him Sannyasa (a monk’s vows of renunciation). The Guru named the doctor Swami Sivananda. After an intense Sadhana (spiritual practice) and austerities, Kuppuswami became one of the most prolific Masters or a Yogi of the recent era.
Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati, After serving as a medical doctor in Malaya, renounced his practice to search for his Guru in the foothills of the Himalayas. He settled in the sacred valley of Rishikesh and was initiated into the Dashnami Sannyasa tradition in 1924 by Swami Vishwananda Saraswati.
Swami Ashram gave the world great Yogis like Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Swami Chidananda Saraswati, Swami Vishnudevananda and a lot of others who went to different corners of the globe to teach the simple way of Yogic living that Swami Sivananda has taught. He wrote hundreds of spiritual books and articles on Yoga to introduce the Yogic values in the minds of a common man.
As a major spiritual voice of his time, Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati guided thousands of spiritual seekers, disciples, and aspirants all over the world. He founded the Divine Life Society at Rishikesh in 1936, the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy in 1945, the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in 1948 and the Sivananda Eye Hospital in 1957 and attained Maha Samadhi on 14th July 1963.
One cannot get knowledge without Guru. I feel privileged enough to have come across a lot of writings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati. And also in my strive to get the knowledge of Yoga till now, I feel that the contribution of Swami Sivananda has been the best as a Great Master and a Great Yogi, the parallel of which cannot be drawn. I bow down here to Him for his blessings.