Swami Sivananda, one of the greatest spiritual masters of the 20th century, is the inspiration behind the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres. Here are some selected quotes by the swami. 

There is a lesson in everything

This world is your best teacher. There is a lesson in everything. There is a lesson in each experience. Learn it and become wise. Every failure is a stepping stone to success. Every difficulty or disappointment is a trial of your faith. Every unpleasant incident or temptation is a test of your inner strength. March forward hero!

On Yoga

Yoga is Universal.

Yoga is for all. Yoga is universal. It is not a sectarian affair. It is a way to God and not a creed.

The practice of Yoga is not opposed to any religion or any sacred Church. It is purely spiritual and universal. It does not contradict anyone’s sincere faith.

Yoga is not a religion, but an aid to the practice of the basic spiritual truths in all religions. Yoga can be practised by a Christian or a Buddhist, a Parsee, a Muslim, a Sufi or an atheist.

To be a Yogi means to abide continuously in God and to live at peace with men. Yoga is union with God. Yoga is union with all. God dwells in all.

On Supreme Reality

Names and forms-all these are very superficial, external things; all these are ephemeral – they last for just a little while. All this is vain. One has to go beyond name and form, one has to attain that highest Bliss, to realize the soul which is the supreme Reality.

What is my religion?

I have renounced all sects
I have removed all creeds and dogmas
My religion is the religion
Of Truth and Love.
My religion is the religion of heart.
My religion is the religion
Of Upanishads and Vedanta.
My religion is the religion of OM.
My religion is the religion
Of service, sacrifice and renunciation.
My religion is the religion
Of goodness, kindness and tolerance.

Good and evil

The universe contains two dynamic forces, viz., good and evil. Good and evil are twin forces. They are twin born of the same father. They are “Dvandvas” or pairs of opposites. They have no independent existence. Evil exists to glorify good. Evil is destructive force. Good is constructive force. There is neither absolute good nor absolute evil in this universe. Evil has no independent existence apart from good. Wherever there is evil, there is good; wherever there is good, there is evil.. You can not expect absolute good in this relative world. You can find absolute good in Brahman alone.

On self-inquiry

Develop patience, tolerance, mercy and love. Inquire, ” Who am I ? “

On mind

The nature of the mind is to create distinctions and differences. It separates, divides, and limits.It is a storehouse of errors, cravings, doubts, delusions and the primordial ignorance