You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.
Yoga has been practised in India from the ancient times .India has produced great yogis and saints . Masters are the learned ones who have reached such a peak of transcendental consciousness that they feel one with the Supreme. Since they have found their true selves they now seek to selflessly enlighten others to seek the divinity that resides in each human being. Through their close connection with the Supreme, Masters can successfully expedite the progress of their disciples in attaining the Highest Truth. The Masters’ teachings may differ for their views reflect the environment that was prevalent during that period of time but what unites them is that all their teachings bear the same stamp of spiritual truths. Each Master may have adopted a different route but in their unique way they have all shown how the Highest Truth can be realized. India has given the world the gift of yoga and spirituality.
Born in 788 AD in a village called Kaladi in Kerala Adi Shankaracharya was a philosopher of the greatest renown because he brought new life to the Vedas and restored them to their ancient glory. He revived Vedanta at a time when Vedanta philosophy was going through a period of darkness due to the excesses of ritualistic practice. His correct interpretations saw a revival in the status of the Vedas and so he was able to successfully advocate Advaita Vedanta. He founded the Dashanami monastic order and believed in worship of the Shanmata tradition. He established four Adi Shankaracharya Peeths and devoted one of the Vedas to each:
Born in Calcutta in 1863, Swami Vivekananda, showed a desire to unravel the spiritual and realize God even when he was a child. This is why he chose Ramakrishna as his Guru because he was sure that Ramakrishna would be able to demonstrate for him the reality of God. Ramakrishna introduced him to Advaita Vedanta and also told him that all religions are true. However, the best form of worship is service to man.
To Swami Vivekananda goes the credit of introducing Vedanata and yoga to Europe and America. He raised Hinduism to a world religion by introducing it at the Parliament of World’s Religions at Chicago in 1893 where he also gave an inspiring speech and called the people of America his brothers and sisters. Vivekananda also raised interfaith awareness. He founded the Ramkrishna Mission and Math.
Born in 1883, Swami Kuvalayananda saw the renaissance of the national movement and became a freedom fighter. He was influenced by Sri Aurobindo when at college and by Paramahansa Madhavdasji at a later date. Madhavdasji was a great yogi from Bengal but lived on the banks of the sacred Narmada at Malsar near Baroda.
Madhavdasji by far had the greater influence on Kuvalayananda as he encouraged his student to approach yoga scientifically. Kuvalayananda, studied the effects that yoga had on the human body and the health benefits that accrue from yoga practice. The experiments carried out at the laboratory at Baroda Hospital in 1920-21 convinced Kuvalayananda that yoga could propagate health and bring about spiritual motivation that could illuminate change in human society. He wished now to use yoga systematically to bring about health and healing to humanity. With this mission in mind he established the Kaivalyadhama Institute of Yoga at Lonavala, Pune.
Born in 1887 at Pattamadai, Tamil Nadu in 1887 Swami Sivananda was a Doctor in Malaysia but he renounced his medical practice in 1924 when Swami Vishwananda Saraswati initiated him into Dashnami Sannyasa. He practiced intense sadhana, yoga and learnt the scriptures. He became a wondering monk and toured the length and breadth of India. Wherever Sivananda went he tried to awaken the moral and spiritual consciousness of people. In 1936 he founded the Divine Life Society at Rishikesh with the main aim of spreading spiritual knowledge and serving mankind. Being a doctor he started the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy in 1945.
Swami Chidanand Saraswati ji’s motto in life is, “In the Service of God and humanity.” He left his home for the Himalayan jungles and forests in early childhood, in order to live a life devoted to God and in the service of humanity. He spent his youth in silence, meditation, yoga and austerity. Today, he is world renowned as a spiritual leader, visionary and divine guide.
Pujya Swamiji is President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, India, one of the largest interfaith spiritual institutions in India. He is co-founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), an international alliance of interfaith leaders working for water, sanitation and hygiene launched at UNICEF headquarters in New York. GIWA has been catalyzing awareness and action toward improved WASH through harnessing and re-channeling the strength and impact of faith leaders, as well as building bridges between leaders of different religions for interreligious dialouge and peace-building.
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Ph.D, was raised in an American family in Hollywood, California and graduated from Stanford University. She was completing her Ph.D. when she left America in 1996 to live at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there for 22 years, engaged in spiritual practice and service.
She was officially initiated into the order of Sanyas (monastic renunciation) in the year 2000, by His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, one of the most revered spiritual leaders in India and the President of Parmarth Niketan.
At Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, where she lives most of the year, she gives daily spiritual discourses and satsang, teaches meditation, provides counseling and oversees myriad charitable and humanitarian projects and activities.
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