The ancient vedic teaching tradition is transmitted from Master to Disciple. There are brilliant Masters in this tradition who have given the vision of truth. The Masters of Vedanta belong to the sacred Guru Parampara, the unbroken traditional lineage of sages.
Swami Sivananda Saraswati (1887-1963), born in the illustrious family of Sage Appayya Dikshitar and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind. His passion for service drew him to the medical career. He discovered that people needed right knowledge first of all. It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of the body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify himself for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down in Rishikesh, practiced intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, saint, sage and Jivanmukta. In Rishikesh he set up the Sivananda Ashram in 1932, the Divine Life Society in 1936 and Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in 1948. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta was his mission in life. A prolific writer, he wrote over 300 books including excellent English translations of the Upanishads and other ancient texts.
Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati (1917-1993), disciple of Swami Sivananda, was born of noble parents at Ernakulam (Kerala), South India. While working as a journalist, a chance assignment took him to Rishikesh where he came under the spell of Swami Sivananda. He was initiated into the Sannyasa order in 1949. He pursued further studies of the scriptures under Swami Tapovanam Maharaj in Uttarkashi. Then he embarked upon a Jnana Yajna Mission (lectures on scriptures) and gave eloquent discourses in English on the Bhagavad Gita and other holy scriptures. He traveled extensively in India and abroad to spread the message of Vedanta. His missionary zeal led to a renaissance of Indian culture and heritage.
Swami Dayananda Saraswati (born in 1930), disciple of Swami Chinmayananda, was born in Tamil Nadu, South India and is a distinguished, traditional teacher of Vedanta. His depth of understanding and nuanced appreciation of Western culture makes him that rare teacher who can communicate the vision of non-duality to modern listeners. He is able to make one see, with immediacy, the truth of oneself as the whole.
Swami Vishnu-devananda Saraswati (1927-1993), born in Kerala, South India. In 1947, he came to the Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, in the Himalayas. There he lived and worked with his Master, Swami Sivananda who saw in his young disciple special tendencies towards Hatha Yoga. With training directed towards this discipline, Swami Vishnu-devananda became an expert in Hatha Yoga techniques (asanas, pranayamas, mudras, bandhas and kriyas). He was appointed the first Professor of Hatha Yoga at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy.
In 1957, Swami Vishnu-devananda was sent to the West by his guru with the words, “People are waiting’ and established several ashrams and centres around the world. Swami Vishnu-devananda has also committed himself to the cause of world peace and brotherhood. To demonstrate his concern and the importance of the individual non-violent struggle for peace, he has flown around the world dropping leaflets and organized peaceful demonstrations at designated trouble spots. He was especially known for his peace mission to Belfast, his flights over the Suez Canal, and his ‘bombing’ of the Berlin Wall with leaflets and flowers.