Shri Swami Shivanand

His Holiness Sivananda whose birth name was Veeranagouda was born at Ron, Dharwad(district) in a well to do family in about 1858 A.D. His parents Linganagouda and Basavamma were pious, virtuous, kind and generous. He was a silent child. This state of silence of Sivananda continued till the ninth year of his age. He was in his self-study in childhood and early boyhood. When Nagalinga swamy of Navalgund picked up an adge from carpenter's workshop near by and showed it to Sivananda, saying that he would cut him into pieces with it. Sivananda did not fear it at all, instead he bent down his neck and asked Nagalinga swamy to cut it off telling him that the body is completely non-existant. This event shows that Sivananda was completely fearless. Once when he was returning home with bundle of fodder on his shoulders stood on the way muttering to himself who is carrying the bundle? Who are seeing him? Who is the witness to all these?

Sivananda was married in his boyhood by his parents, inspite of his protest against his marriage to a little girl, which he told his parents, would die in a short time after the marriage and it happened accordingly. The little girl died in a short time after the marriage. This indicates that he foresaw the events. This and similar events prove that he was perfect in both kinds of austerities i.e. jnana tapas and siddhi tapas.

After finishing his primary education he studied English to some extent. He worked as a Kanarese primary school teacher near Doni, Dumbal villages of Mundaragi Taluka and Sotakanahal of Navalagunda Taluka of Dharwad district for some years. Even then he was always in spiritual delight. He came in contact with a great realized saint named Sri Rudraswami Maharaj of Banahatti, a village near Sotakanahal. Conversation between the two were taking place on spiritual matters occasionally.

Usually he was going to a large and wide brooke called Bennihalla which had a deep whirlpool in it. Accidentaly once he fell into the said whirlpool. Scarcely any animals like oxen, calves, buffaloes, persons whenever caught in the whirlpool escaped. But Sivananda came out with a sudden jump while swimming in the whirlpool through luck. People attributed this escape of his from the whirlpool to his power of mystical feets.

Later Sivananda went over to Manihal, Ramadurga state district Belgaum as he became adopted son to a widow of his near relation of right holder Hakkadar Patilki Service. He worked as police patil for 11-12 years. During this period he was absorbing himself in spiritual bliss, most of his time. He carried the duties of police patil without any sort of attachment to pelf, power and honour, with the aim of doing good to the people. His daily routine work was : He went up the Manigeramma hill nearby the village in the early mornig, after the night duty of patrolling of police patil for delighting himself in the contemplation on the soul. The hill was thickly crowded with thorny bushes and trees and carnivorous wild animals like country tigers or panthers. He did not fear these animals.

He was giving interpretations and explainations of the works philosophical of Sriman Nijgunarya of Shambhulinga hill of Kollegal Taluka. Sivananda was married by his parents for the second time and a son was born to him in 1904 in accordance with his prarabdha. The said son was named as Ninganagouda. Sivananda carried on his usual life of the realized one, not at all distracted by any worldly happenings in his life like a lotus leaf in water. Whenever heavy rains fell he sat at his home for delighting himself in the contemplation of the soul. One day when he was thus sitting at home the red ants in large numbers were biting his body for 4-6 hours, but he was unaware of the biting. When he came down from that state he began to feel the sensation of the red ants. The red ants were removed by his younger sister Yallamma. Most part of the skin of his body was plattered as the blood in those parts of the body was sucked up by the red ants. There is a Sabari temple just two miles away from Sureban by the side of the hill. There is small valley also. Sivananda once sat there in the temple for self meditation for 10 days on the Vijayadashami festival days. He used to be in meditation for 18 hours from 3 A M to 9 P M on Padmasana(Lotus posture). On the last day at about 2 A M when he was returning back from answering the calls of nature and going to the pond near by the side of the temple, a dreadful demon appeared sitting on the front roof of the temple. He was not at all disturbed or frightened. He went straight to the pond as if unnoticing the scene, without being moved in any way, took his bath as usual returned to the place of meditation and sat on lotus posture. At that time two divine or celestial persons appeared before him and talked to him, asking his name and native place and the reason of being there. After receiving short answers from him, they disappeared wishing him every good and welfare. The celestial beings gave salutations and bowings to him addressing him a great saint. Once when he was sitting himself in the contemplation of the soul on the hill top of Manigeramma, the then raja Rajasaheb of Ramadurga state happened to pass by that hill along with his retinue and saw Sivananda sitting in a cottage. There were wild beasts, thorny bushes and trees around him. Rajasaheb asked his retinue if they knew of him. Some of them told him that he was Sri Veeranagouda, the then police patil of the village Manihal and that he led a saintly life. Then the rajasaheb fired a false or missed shot so as to pass over the cottage, where Sivananda was sitting. Sivananda was unmoved as rock as he was delightfully absorbed in the contemplation of soul. The rajasaheb camped that day at Manihal-Sureban. Sivananda met rajasaheb in the evening. The rajasaheb asked Sivananda, where he was in the morning and what he was doing?. Sivananda said that he was engaged delighting in contemplation of the soul, on the Manigeramma hill. The raja asked Sivananda, what events took place on the hill top on that day in the morning. Sivananda said that it was a strange question and asked, how could any external events or internal thoughts be known to a person, who is delighting in the contemplation of the soul. Once when he was sitting on the hill for delighting himself in self-bliss, a large cobra climbed up his body and sat on his thigh rising its hood but Sivananda was unmoved as rock as he was delightfully absorbed in the contemplation of the soul.After some time he left Manihal with the intension of living on the Shambulinga hill near Mysore. But some of his disciples and devotees along with Sri Gulappa Holeyannavar of Naganur and Sotakanahal of Navalgund taluka met him on his way to Shambhulinga hill at Navalungund. They prevailed upon him and made him come over to Naganur in 1905. An hermitage was built there. He dwelt there in that hermitage and carried on his usual practice of delighting himself in the contemplation of the soul. Sometimes he used to be in that state for 2-3 days without food. No external functions of senses of knowledge were carried on. His eyes were quite wide open and the state of his mind was that of the fourth state. He did not know of anything external, though his eyes were quite wide open. Once when Sivananda was in Turiya state his body walked out of the dwelling place to thorny and milky shrubs (euphorbia nivalia) round about the old tank of Naganur and had entered into thorny shrubs without his ken. After sometime he had come out of the thorny shrubs but no hurts were found on his body. Sri Siddharudha of Hubli town sometimes was sending for Sivananda from Nagnur at the time of fairs in Shravana and Mahasivaratri. Then Sivananda was often attaining Turiya state and in this turiya state he was staying in for 2-3 days. With reference to such state of Sivananda, Siddharudha said that he was like a man carrying two water pitchers significantly that he maintained spiritual perfectness and carried on mundane transactions in just and righteous ways. Sri Sivananda was being taken out in procession in floating carriages along with Sri Siddharudha. Sivananda went over to Gadag to stay there according to the wishes of the people coming to him from Gadag and other places. His daily routine of work was: Sitting for meditation, delighting in the contemplation of the self, preaching 3 times a day. Then a well was being dug up in the field where the building was constructed. He was sometime doing digging work as a sport so to say. He fell ill and at that time he was poisoned. As its effect worked hard on his body, he was taken to Naganur for rest and cure. Even in this serious condition of his body he instructed those whoever came to see him on spiritual matters. Sivananda's life spent thus teaching and preaching spiritual truths not at all limited to any traditions, castes, creeds etc. He was brought to Gadag. His illness became serious but he was calm and peaceful. His eyes were open and without any movement, as they were accustomed to be in his usual practice of meditation. At the age of 80, he expired in Brahmi muhurtha on 1st of July in Adhika Shravana masa of 1939.