Sivananda Saraswati was an esteemed yogi who played an integral role in the development of yoga as a living science in the modern world and whose legacy continues in the Sivananda Yoga tradition. Born on September 8, 1887 in Pattamadai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India, Sivananda grew up devoted to academics, excelled in gymnastics and gravitated towards religious, humanitarian and spiritual endeavours. He went on to attend medical school in Thanjavur and subsequently worked as a physician in Malaysia, where he was known to sometimes provide free treatment for the poor and needy.
After years of experience in the medical field, Sivananda developed an interest in the metaphysical side of healing and decided to go on a spiritual pilgrimage throughout India. While on his travels, people heard of his energy, enthusiasm and unique teachings of intangible healing and his devotees grew in numbers. He eventually opened a charitable clinic, started an Ayurvedic pharmacy and founded his own yoga ashram on the foothills of the Himalayas. In addition, he created The Divine Life Society which communicated the ideals of truth, purity, non-violence and self-realization. “Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize,” was the motto behind his guidance.
Swami Sivananda breathed his last breath in 1963 at the age of seventy-five, but his legacy continues in his hundreds of published works of literature based on the teachings of yoga from both philosophical and medical perspectives. In fact, many of today’s yoga styles, such as Integral Yoga and the Bihar School of Yoga, actually originated from Swami Sivananda’s disciplines. One of his most notable disciples was Swami Vishnudevananda, who continued his teachings by establishing the Sivananda Yoga Centres and Ashrams throughout the world.
Here are the top 10 quotes by Swami Sivananda:
1. On Character and Self-Control
“Every temptation that is resisted, every evil thought that is curbed, every desire that is subdued, every bitter word that is withheld, every noble aspiration that is encouraged, every sublime thought that is cultivated, adds to the development of will-force, good character, and attainment of eternal bliss and immortality.”
2. On being Humble
“Humility is not cowardice. Meekness is not weakness. Humility and meekness are indeed spiritual powers.”
3. On Equality and Respect
“Be tolerant. Behold the unity of all faiths, cults, creeds and religions. Respect the views, opinions and sentiments of all.”
4. On Forgiveness
“Forget like a child any injury done by somebody immediately. Never keep it in the heart. It kindles hatred.”
5. On Peace
“Individual Peace paves the way for world peace. The attainment of inner calm is the greatest work you can do for humanity.”
6. On Love and Respect
“Your duty is to treat everybody with love as a manifestation of the Lord.”
7. On Learning and Knowledge
“Be for ever a student. He and he alone is an old man who feels that he has learnt enough and has need for no more knowledge.”
8. On the Consequences of one’s Actions
“A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.”
9. On Fear
“Don’t fear the darkness if you carry the light within.”
10. On Empowerment
“You are the Master of your own Destiny.”
Which of these sayings resonates with you? Leave your thoughts and comments below.