H. H. Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) “Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate and Realise”
Born into a prominent family in South India, Swami Sivananda was spiritual from a young age. He was exceptionally bright and trained as a doctor, serving in Malaysia for several years where he successfully ran a hospital, served the poor, edited health journals and wrote on medical topics. Listening to the call of spirituality he moved to India and spent several years practicing austerities and meditating. He finally settled in Rishikesh and set up the first ashram there. His aim was to serve humanity in every way and with his spiritual magnetism, oratory power and strong voice he attracted disciples and always encouraged people to strive for spiritual development.
The spiritual strength behind the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, Swami Sivananda's teachings are a synthesis of all the formal doctrines of Yoga. He trained many exceptional disciples in Yoga and Vedanta - among them Swami Vishnudevananda, whom he sent to spread the practice of Yoga in the West.
Sri Swami Vishnudevananda (1927-1993) “Health Is Wealth. Peace Of Mind Is Happiness. Yoga Shows The Way”
Swami Vishnudevananda started his career in the army. Once, while looking for a lost paper in a waste basket, he saw a pamphlet entitled "20 Spiritual Instructions" by Swami Sivananda which began "An ounce of practice is better than tons of theory". This left such an impression that he took a 36-hour leave to meet Swami Sivananda in far away Rishsikesh in the Himalayas and thus began his spiritual journey.
He is the founder of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres, a world renowned authority on Hatha and Raja Yoga and author of the bestseller, “The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga” amongst several other books. He is one of the pioneers of Yoga in the West and was known as the “Flying Swami" for the different peace missions he accomplished around the world.