Service to Women

From the Autobiography of Swami Sivananda

This mission of service to sincere women is very dear to my heart. I do not have money. I have no knack to collect money from the public, from rajahs, zamindars and businessmen. I do not go out collecting money in the name of service. Occasionally, I receive a little money from devotees. I spend this voluntary donation for the spiritual upliftment of those who are around me and those who keep themselves in close touch with me from various centres. My books are sold in large numbers in many parts of the world, but I do not earn anything from the publications. I lavishly give away my books for free. I do not know business. For starting an institution purely for ladies, I do not have resources or facilities at present.

Some orthodox people and sannyasins say that women are not fit for the path of renunciation. My view is different. They too are eligible to tread the path of yoga and renunciation. Several times I have thought of concentrating more on rendering real service to mankind by starting an ashram exclusively for ladies. That will be a boon to the world. In the absence of proper support from the world for an ideal institution exclusively for women, I have permitted many educated and cultured ladies to live in this ashram. I personally attend to their needs and train them in all branches of yoga, bhajans and kirtans. Many have learnt yoga exercises and derived incalculable benefits.

Among them, there are many from foreign countries also. I give them initiation into the order of sannyasa. After some training in the ashram they go back to various centres and they continue their sadhana and service to the world. The Divine Life Society branches have ladies’ sections in all parts of the world, where they have ample scope not only for their own evolution but also for serving womankind. The ladies who stay in the ashram have all comforts and conveniences. They have all facilities, liberty and freedom. In the absence of a separate ashram exclusively for women, this institution has become an ideal centre for their spiritual evolution. May they all prosper and enjoy peace, divine glory and splendour.