Sri Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati
Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati was born at Pattamadai, (Tamil Nadu) in 1887. After serving as a medical doctor in Malaya, he renounced his practice to search for his Guru in the foothills of the
Himalayas. He settled in the sacred valley of Rishikesh and was initiated into the DASHANAMI SANNYASA TRADITION in 1924 by Swami Vishwananda Saraswati.
In subsequent years he wrote hundreds of books and articles on yoga and spirituality to maintain and introduce yogic values in the minds of the general public. His emphasis was on breaking down the barriers which separated the needy from the teachings that could help them, whether this took the form of yoga for health, peace of mind or spiritual aspiration. This ideology continues to guide the work of the Satyananda branch of his lineage.
To this end Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati toured India extensively, inspiring people to practice yoga and lead a divine life. He founded the Divine Life Society at Rishikesh in 1936, the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy in 1945, the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in 1948 and the Sivananda Eye Hospital in 1957 and attained Maha Samadhi on 14th July 1963.
Sri Adi Shankaracharya
One of the greatest philosophers of India, Adi Shankaracharya founded Advaita Vedanta, which is one of the sub-schools of Vedanta. Adi Shankaracharya whole-heartedly believed in the concept of
the Vedas but at the same time advocated against the rituals and religious practices that were over exaggerated. On a closer introspection of the life history of Sri Sankaracharya, we find that
he also started the monastic order known as DASHANAMI and the SHANMATA convention of worship.
Born in a simple Brahmin family approximately in the 8th century A.D in Kaladi, Kerala, he was named as Shankara and is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva. It is said that Shankaracharya's mother Aryamba had a vision that the Lord himself told her, that he would incarnate in the form of her first-born child. As a child Shankaracharya was attacked by a crocodile. As soon as he recited the mantra, the crocodile left him. Shankaracharya began his life as an ascetic from then on. He proceeded towards further down south of India in search of a Guru.
One fine day on the banks of River Narmada he met a man named Govinda Bhagavatpada. Since Shankaracharya was much learned about the Vedas and the Puranas, GOVINDA BHAGAVATPADA agreed to be his Guru for attaining spiritual knowledge. Under his guidance Shankaracharya gained expertise in different forms of Yoga that included Hatha, Raja and Jnana yoga. He then received the knowledge of Brahma. Thereafter he was known as Adi Shankaracharya whose sole purpose of life was to spread the teachings of Brahma Sutras all over the world.
Adi Sankaracharya believed in the philosophy of "non-dualism". He believed in the fact that every individual has a divine existence, which can be identified with the Supreme cosmic power. Though bodies are diverse, the soul is one. The moment someone believes that the concept of life is finite; they are discarding an entirely higher and different dimension of life and knowledge. Self-realization is the key to attain Moksha and connect with God. Though he died young, he left an invaluable treasure of spiritual knowledge for future generations.