Rapid Growth of the Mission

Autobiography of Swami Sivananda

I started the Divine Life Society in 1936 for the spiritual upliftment of mankind. I trained many sincere students in yoga. For their quick spiritual evolution, I introduced the morning common prayer classes with group asana class. To the local poor people and thousands of pilgrims I gave medical aid by starting a free dispensary. Experts were sent to various centres to deliver lectures on bhakti, yoga and Vedanta.

A small temple was erected for prayers and worship. When a large number of students came for training, boarding and lodging facilities had to be provided for all the students and visitors; and thus Sivananda Ashram came into being.

The Yoga Vedanta Forest University came into existence when regular classes began to be conducted on all branches of yoga. To help the students all over the world, the University Press was established for printing necessary works on the practical side and half a dozen periodicals, -with a number of machines to • do the work automatically. The small dispensary grew into a big Sivananda Medical Organisation, with a General Hospital and a building of its own. Though the Divine Life Society continues to be the central organization, to fulfil the various functions that have developed to carry out organized work, many other institutions had to come into existence.

Now the ashram, a very big spiritual colony, looks like a huge factory with the wonderful, indescribable peace of the Himalayas. Spiritual aspirants who come to the ashram and stay there for months or for years, find that there is scope for spiritual progress both as workers in the different institutions of the ashram and as silent meditators in the temple precincts or in the jungle retreats of the neighbourhood, and each chooses his line according to his own bent of mind.