Sri Swami Sivananda Maharaj, the guru of Swami Satchidananda, is one of the greatest modern-day Yoga masters. Born on September 8, 1887 in South India, he was a brilliant student and an accomplished gymnast who was strongly inclined toward spiritual study and practices. Renown for his wisdom, interfaith outlook, and warm humor, he summarized the full depth and breadth of the yogic teachings in six words: “Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realize.”
His passion for service drew him to pursue a medical career in Malaya. One day he had the opportunity to treat a wandering Sannyasin (renunciate or monk) who then gave him instruction on Yoga and Vedanta. From that day, his life changed and he gradually became more introspective and continually pondered the great questions of life. He soon felt the need to serve people on a more profound level, not just healing their physical body, but helping them find a cure for all suffering.
He returned to India and in the holy town of Rishikesh he met his guru who gave him sannyas (a monk's vows of renunciation). After taking these vows, he began an intense ten-year regimen of spiritual practices. Even before the end of that period many seekers felt drawn to him, seeking his instruction and guidance.
In 1932 he founded the Sivananda Ashram; in 1936, The Divine Life Society; and in 1948, the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy - all for the purpose of disseminating spiritual knowledge and training people in Yoga and Vedanta. The author of over 300 books, his disciples are found worldwide and include people of all nationalities, religions and creeds. A number of his disciples are renown spiritual masters in their own right.
Sri Guruji Reverend Jaganath is the founder and spiritual head of Yoga Life Society. He is a direct disciple of world renowned Yoga master and leader in the ecumenical movement, Sri Swami Satchidananda, the founder and spiritual guide for the Integral Yoga Institutes and Satchidananda Ashrams worldwide.Guruji has taught at universities, prisons, Yoga centers, and interfaith programs both here and abroad. He was a principle instructor of both Hatha and Raja Yoga for the Integral Yoga Teacher Training Certification Programs for over twenty years and co-wrote the training manual used for that course. He established the Integral Yoga Ministry and developed the highly regarded Integral Yoga Meditation and Raja Yoga Teacher Training Certification programs.
He served for eight years as chief administrator of Satchidananda Ashram -Yogaville and founded the Integral Yoga Institute of New Brunswick, NJ. He is also a spiritual advisor and visiting lecturer on Hinduism for the One Spirit Seminary in New York City.
His Holiness Sri Swami Satchidananda (Sri Gurudev) is a world-renowned spiritual teacher and Yoga Master. A much-loved teacher, well-known for his combination of practical wisdom and spiritual insight, he dedicated his life to the service of humanity, demonstrating by his own example the means of finding abiding peace.
Not limited to any one organization, religion or country,
Sri Gurudev’s message of peace, both individual and universal has been heard worldwide. He received many honors for his service, including the Martin Buber Award for Outstanding Service to Humanity, the B’nai Brith Anti-Defamation League’s Humanitarian Award, the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award, and the prestigious U Thant Peace Award.
In 1966, the Integral Yoga Institutes were founded under his direction and today there are Integral Yoga Institutes and Centers throughout the world offering classes and workshops in all facets of the yogic science including Hatha Yoga, meditation, nutrition, stress reduction, Teacher Training Certification Programs and retreats.
Sri Gurudev advocated the principle that, “Truth is One, Paths Are Many.” He sponsored innumerable interfaith symposiums, retreats, and worship services around the world. Witnessing the genuine peace and joy experienced by the participants, he was inspired to create a permanent place where all people could come to experience their essential oneness and the peace that is their True Nature. The Light Of Truth Universal Shrine (LOTUS), dedicated to the Light of all faiths and to world peace, was opened in 1986. It is located at Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia, a residential and teaching center that serves as the international headquarters for the Integral Yoga Institutes and Centers.
On all Yoga Life Society altars, along with the photos of the gurus mentioned above, you will see a framed Sanskrit OM. This symbol represents our own lineage of masters reaching far into the past as well as the masters of all faith traditions and times. This is based on several key sutras in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which state that Ishwara (the Absolute, God), is the guru of all gurus, and can be designated by the mantra OM.
OM (A, U, M, in Sanskrit) represents the creation, evolution, and dissolution of all beings and of creation. This powerful mantra is often cited as being an equivalent to the Absolute. It’s presence on our altar emphasizes the foundation teaching, “Truth is One; Paths are Many.”