About the Author:
Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Saga Appayya Diskhita and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind. His passion for service drew him to the medical career; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a Health Journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission. It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify himself for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practiced intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, Saint, Sage and Jivanmukta. In 1932 he started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organized. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 he undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 1953 he convened a 'World Parliament Reliogions'. He is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read his works is to drink at the fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July, 1963 he entered Mahasamadhi.
His Holiness Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati is, as it were, an ornament of not only the glorious Himalayas, and India but of the entire world. From the cool heights of his Himalayan Ashram, "Ananda Kutir," the great Yogi stood as a mighty dynamo radiating Divine Love, Joy and Piece to millions upon millions of bleeding hearts all over the world, a Yogi, who shines as a brilliant pole-star in the spiritual firmament of the universe, guiding the tired and restless traveler towards the haven of Peace, Bliss and Knowledge.
As a great saint and philosopher, his spotless purity, saintliness of life, magnetic and voluminous writings were unparalleled in record; he was not only an eminent and popular author of Hindu religious and philosophical subjects, but is an authority on those subjects. He was not only a man of letters and vast erudition, but also one who had in a full measure realised the incalculable benefits of Yogic practices in the course of a strenuous struggle of over fifteen years of intense dispassion and rigorous austerities in the holy regions of the Himalayas. Moreover, his priceless writings through the medium of some of the well-known and influential newspapers, magazines and journals not only in India but also abroad and in America coupled with his own unique and powerful personality and realisation have won for him an enviable place of honour in every spiritually, religiously and philosophically inclined home in India. In fact, if the political India of the present day can be proud of at least one Gandhi, the spiritual India can be reasonably proud of at least one Sivananda!
The object with which this book is published is twofold. Year in and year out large numbers of Europeans and Americans, men and women, came out to India to learn Yoga under an Adept and practise the same in India itself. In the course of their endless wanderings and searches for but to resort to the Himalayan Ashram of Swami Sivananda. But unfortunately owing to several causes these travelers could not remain long in this country. They went back home learning something here and something there, in bits, but nothing from one Yogi only, which alone could be said to be of some solid and practical utility to them.
The Westerners, interested in Yogic practices, had naturally to take resort to books and other literature on the subject, which were either unintelligible to them or, as was more often than not, had been written by persons whose aim in writing books was, in ninety-nine cases out of every hundred, to show off their learning rather than to teach Yoga and make the subject intelligible and interesting to the public. This is the difference between books written by Swami Sivananda Saraswati. Moreover, unlike several others, Swami Sivananda Saraswati was a practical Yogi, who fully realised the fruits of Yoga and was therefore best suited to write books on the subject from his own practical experience. The present book has been of the students of Yoga in Europe and America, who need a practical but non-technical presentation of the subject in a language which is accessible to the beginner in the path. We hope the book will amply serve this most sacred purpose in view.
May the unfailing blessings of Swami Sivananda pour forth I profusion over the heads of all the readers in the West and East, nay, North and South, and lead them on to Satchidananda, which every one is seeking at heart!------THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
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