Gurur brahmaa gurur vishnuh
Gurur devo maheshwarah
Tasmai sree gurave namah
Guru is the Supreme Creator! He is the Sustainer and the Great Lord in whom everything dissolves! He is the Ultimate Reality! To that Preceptor, I pay my obeisance!
This has been the chosen prayer of the Hindu race from time immemorial. Beginning from the ages of Vyasa, Valmiki, Vasishtha and Vishwamitra to the present day, Mother Bharat has produced gems of preceptors and therefore She is rightly known as Brahmaraajarishi ratnaadyaa – one who adorns a garland of pearls of Brahma Rishis and Raja Rishis.
To whichever religious denomination a Hindu may belong, Acharya to him is Divinity embodied. And to a true Hindu, not only the Acharya of his own sampradaya or sect, but all the Acharyas of all sampradayas are various manifestations of the Supreme Being. And, all the true Acharyas of the hindu society have stressed the uity of godhead and the validity of various means of god-realization propounded by different preceptors at different times, according to the needs and conditions of the society. They have all pointed out that harmony and peace, not conflict and competition are the key-note of spiritual life.
In the modern times, there moved in the midst of spiritual seekers of the land, a great mahapurusha who sought to re-establish the unity of religions as well as integration of various means of god-realisation. He was none other than Swami Sivananda Saraswati, the Himalayan Saint, whom the whole world gratefully remembers in his centenary year.
Swami Sivananda did not want to establish his own sect or sampradaya. He did not preach any new religion. Through his sadhana and preachings, he rejuvenated and revitalized the eternal religion of the Hindus, based on eternal values and not merely on external, ritualistic practices and ways of worship. These values being universal, the propagation of them not only vitalized the religions that have sprung up in Bharatavarsha, but also those in other parts of the world. In short, the path shown y Bhagavan Sivananda was the path of Divine Life nourishing and nurturing the religious and spiritual endeavours of the entire humanity. No wonder, the Divine Life Society established by him has today spread its wings all over the world and people of all countries and clime are drawn towards it.
Starting his career as a medical practitioner in Malaya, young Kuppuswami, whose sole aim in life was removal of pain and suffering of all ailing beings realized that his mission would find its fulfillment only in renunciation and surrender to the Divine Will. He gave up his lucrative career and retired to the Himalayas, setting up his humble abode in Rishikesh. Soon, the thirsty spiritual aspirants in India and abroad discovered the Divine Light emanating from the Swarg Ashram in the Himalayas and started making pilgrimages to the sacred presence of the Modern Rishi. The compassionate and kind heart of the Himalayan Sage opened up to everyone and the seeds of the divine Life Movement were sown in the Himalayas. While the Sivananda Ashram, with its various service wings, became a comforting resort to all afflicted souls, the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy produced spiritual literature sufficient to inundate the whole country and overflow abroad. Today the service institutions and publication centres of the Divine Life Society in various parts of the world are rendering incomparable services to the humanity. More than three hundred works written by Swami Sivananda summarises the entire spiritual literature produced by all the great Acharyas in the past and encompasses all aspects of life. His method of Integral Yoga, synthasising Karma, Jnana, Bhakti, Raja and Hatha Yogas and his devotional outpourings crossing the barriers of language and creed have become universal possessions of the whole mankind.
TATTVA DARSANA feels proudly privileged to join the millions of devotees of this great master in paying our humble homage to him in his centenary year. What we have tried to give in the following pages are a few drops from the ocean of wisdom of Swami Sivananda to wet the parched throats of spiritual aspirants and to give them a taste of his spiritual attainments, and to present a glimpse of this Great Himalayas of Spirituality. Those who are gifted are bound to delve deep into his life and literature and, drawing inspiration therefrom, transform their own lives into humble offerings to the Divine. May Sri Gurudev’s Grace bring peace and harmony into this world!
– Our salutations and prostrations unto all Acharyas beginning with Dakshinaamoorty, the Preceptor of Preceptors, with Shankaracharya in the medieval period, and upto our Great Acharya!
Author – Professor Sadhu Rangarajan