"Generally it is seen that the spiritual life of most of the aspirants begins with this sincere query about the existence of God but the most unparalleled, pure, pious and extremely solemn life which we shall presently study, with great devotion, is the ideal, divine life of Swami Shivananda or `Mahapurushay, Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna's most revered and eminent direct disciple, whose spiritual life began with the intense longing to know 'what is samadhi, what is its nature and how can it be attained?' The beginning itself of his spiritual life was so extra-ordinary and not only the beginning but the process and progress, the culmination and completion of his spiritual practices, the evolution and manifestation of his spiritual fulfilment- everything is unusual, unique, rare and exceptional and yet this great life of `Mahapurushaje is such that it can give a clear and vivid idea of spiritual life to even ordinary aspirants like us and not only this but his entire life immensely inspires us to have an intense desire for such divine life and to put in efforts to attain it!"
We have great pleasure in presenting to the readers, the English translation of a significant Marathi biographical book on Swami Shivananda, one of the direct disciples of Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna written by Swami Shivatatvananda. Originally this book was published in Marathi in the form of a series of articles in the editorial column of a Marathi magazine entitled `Jeevan-Vikas ' published by Ramakrishna Math, Nagpur. Later on, considering the wishes and demands of devotees and admirers, it was published in a book form. It is the most comprehensive, authentic and critical estimate of the life, sadhana and teachings of Swami Shivananda, presented in a unique way. This book in Marathi is very popular and widely read. As Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna always used to say, 'Pure knowledge and pure devotion is one and the same thing', Swami Shivananda was indeed the living embodiment of pure non-dual knowledge blended with pure non-dual devotion along with equally pure non-dual work for the humanity, born out of selfless love and renunciation.
We hope, a deep study and serious perusal of this great monastic life in English will also help the seekers in finding new light, new path, new enthusiasm and new strength and inspire them towards the Truth.
We extend our hearty thanks to Mr. Bhagbat Chakraborti of Meteor Books, Kolkata, for helping us in publishing this book and Malti Prints of Aurangabad, for their efficient work of printing.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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