When I came across books of Swami Sivananda in the beginning of 2006. 1 was amazed to know that he was so practical in his approach even so many years ago. He is very much alive through his many books which were written by him.
The finest book on Siva written by a foreign author " The man to God man" set my pulse racing. I read it many times and could not help myself asking, "Is it true? Can it be true?" Such generosity! Such openness! Such Simplicity! Such greatness! I felt over whelmed by his great personality. Through I am fully aware that a lot of books have been written by various great sages on his great personality but I can't stop myself from writing about his modern, secular views. The young generation of today desperately needs such a dynamic yogi who by sheer selflessness of his character elevated millions of disciples, common men. He endeared himself to one and all by his powerful love which was his very basic nature.
Unlike other preachers, he laid no importance on clothes, their color or style. He said, “My disciples may wear eastern or western dresses, they will work for the welfare of others." The inner personality of a person is for more important than the outer dress. A common man does not want to be different from others in his attire and this freedom of dress puts him at ease with himself in society. Selflessness is the most important characteristic of a spiritual person.
In Rishikcsh Ashram of Divine life society many people come from diverse religions. Siva gave equal importance to all religions their saints. He sang Kirtans which included verses from all religions. This shows Siva's broad vision, spirit of universal brotherhood is inculcated deeply in all his disciples. So all foreigners feel at home there. When I happened to go to Rikhia Dham tapasthali of swami Satyananda (Siva's disciple) I saw Christ kutrir, Christmas tree along with Ragunath Kulir. Nearly one and a half thousand foreigners were taking part in Satchandi Yag% 2006.
A foreigner named Sivananda as Sevananda because of the untiring zeal of Siva to serve others. Siva never lost any opportunity to serve even an animal what to say of a human being. Lepers, sick people got his special attention. He slept with many cholera and typhoid patient without caring for catching infection. He was a doctor, so he treated all pilgrims, sadhus and saints who crossed Rishikesh. He preached by practice. When anyone donated him some money, he spent it either on medicine for other patient or for feeding them fruit; and milk. Later on when Divine Life society was established he spent this money on publication of spiritual literature.
“Dissemination of spiritual knowledge is most important service. "
- Swami Sivanada
Swami Sivananda laid great emphasis on distribution of spiritual literature free of cost. Who so ever came in Siva's Ashram, he autographed many books and gifted them to the visitor. He sent his book and pamphlet; without being asked. And a person who was surprised by this unexpected gift was overwhelmed by Siva's generosity and intensity of his Sankalapa. Inspite of low of funds his enthusiasm did not diminish. With a deep faith in God he said that God will himself provide for the society if it was doing good work.
He always helped the poor and needy. He kept a lot of coins in his pocket and donated generously to the poor and old beggars. He bought fruits. ice creams. Flower from the poor vendors, hawkers and shopkeepers am distributed it to Ashram people. By his generosity and cosmic vision Siva guided each and every one who happened to meet him according to one's value requirements and aspirations. He has all sorts of disciples ranging (from youngsters to old people. He gave a lot of useful advice to young and the old alike, married or unmarried, widows or widowers, he had the unique capability of gauging an individual's bent of mind and therefore advised accordingly. It is great misconception that all God men are against marriage and children. But after reading Siva’s books 1 feel enlightened. As he has glorified the institution of marriage as well as sanyasa.
The Ashtang Yog of" Sivananda starts with seva with selflessness and ends at Realisation. he has insisted, laid a great emphasis on selfless service for purification of heart. At any stage of life, in any circumstances selflessness is a virtue cherished and aspired by one and all. The true love knows no boundaries does not demand anything in return, it grows only by giving, giving and giving. The old dictum of ' Be good. Do Good" is very important teaching of Siva.
I am quoting the practical Ashtang Yog of Siva which is true and practical even today.
Swami Sivananda's yoga, which he has significantly called the ‘ yoga of synthesis' reflects a harmonious development of 'hand', 'head'& heart through the practice of Karma yoga, gian yoga and bhakti yoga. The widest possible dissemination of spiritual knowledge is the primary object of Divine Life society. On 14th July 1963, this great soul entered Mahasamadhi; but his spirit still guides the Nobel work initiated by him.
Serenity, Regularity, Absence of Vanity
Sincerity, simplicity, Veracity
Equanimity, Fixity, Non-Irritability
Adaptability, Humility, Tenacity
Integrity, Nobility, Magnanimity
Charity. Generosity. Purity
Practice daily these eighteen ities"
You will soon attain immortality
Brahman is the only real gentility
Listen, go and sow some good now and generosity.
You will abide unity in diversity
You cannot attain this in the university
Or even Oxford University\