It is Swami Kuvalayananda, whose efforts are chiefly responsible for the worldwide spread of Yoga.
It is due to his efforts that this ancient discipline of Yoga became more acceptable to modern mind, trained on scientific and rational guidelines.
It is a fact that due to his scientific work, Yoga became more widely acceptable and accessible in the field of health & healing.
He was born in 1883, on 30th August; at a time when the national resurgence was slowly awakening the spirit of Mother India. In his college days he came under the influence of Sri Aurobindo, who was working as a young lecturer in Baroda.Subsequently, after his graduation from the Bombay University, he plunged himself in Lokmanya Tilak’s Home-rule movement.During his journey, he came in contact with the Indian masses, who were ignorant, illiterate, superstitious and sick in spirit and body. He realized what great role education can play in reviving them. To give concrete shape to his ideas, he joined the Khandesh Education Society at Amalner, where ultimately he became the Principal of the National College, in 1916.
His association with Jummadada Vyayamshala at Baroda and its mentor, Rajaratna Manikrao a great exponent of Indian Physical Culture; made him aware of the various indigenous systems of physical culture including Yoga. This exposure to Yoga, opened a new vista for him. His sensitive mind enthused with the physical and psycho-spiritual aspect of Yoga, led him on the path of spiritual quest. Awaiting on this path to guide him, was the great Yogin from Bengal, Paramahamsa Madhavdasji, who had settled at Malsar, near Baroda, on the banks of Narmada.The insight in Yogic discipline under the guidance of Madhavdasji, gave Swami Kuvalayananda’s career a sharp turn. He ventured into a new field using entirely a new approach. He tried to investigate the effects of some of the Yogic practices on the human body with the help of some of his students, in the laboratory of Baroda Hospital, in 1920-21. His subjective experience coupled with the excellent results of these scientific experiments convinced him once for all that the age-old system of Yoga, if understood through the modern scientific experimental approach, would help greatly in the spiritual and material resurgence of the human society.
This became his life’s mission.
KAIVALYADHAMA THROUGH THE DECADES
KAIVALYADHAMA THROUGH THE DECADES
A question was nagging the young Sanskritist, Physical educationist and ardent student of Philosophy and Spiritualism, Jaganath Ganesh Gune (b. 30.8.1883), Swami Kuvalyananda. , that was, “There is a world of difference between “ancient” and “archaic” in the sense that all that is archaic is ancient, but all that is ancient is not archaic. What is archaic carries with it the connotation of being somewhat obsolete also. Is yoga which is
unquestionably very ancient archaic, too?
He said “I stand convinced that yogic physical culture is a science and that it is worth the best of our attention.”
The fledging outfit of 1924 has now become an institution with global dimensions, thanks to the determination with which Swami Kuvalyananda built it up with the active and able assistance and participation of his immediate disciples and colleagues. The basic tenet of and perspective of the institution was couched in the following terms:
The specific aim is to co-ordinate the ancient yoga with modern science “Divorced from each other Science and Spirituality do not seem to be of much avail. While spirituality without science often tends to become a mass of superstition, science without Spiritual aims as is being increasingly realized, threatens to lead mankind to total annihilation. A propagation of Yoga after due research
in it goes a long way in bringing about a healthy rapprochement between sciences and spirituality thereby helping mankind to lead truly regenerative life”
The textual and traditional wisdom of Yoga is so full of technical terms that its import is mostly lost because of lack of understanding of their exact meaning.
The Philosophico – Literary research department (PLRD)
of Kaivalyadhama has been actively engaged in this pursuit and it has numerous publications to itscredit. Textual research which will enhance the quality of research in the field of yoga as a whole is basic input of the PLRD.
Collection of the manuscripts pertaining to yoga and preparation of critically edited texts – like Brihadyogi Yajnyavalkya Smriti, Goraksha Shataka, Gheranda Samhita etc., goes a long way in opening up new vistas of research in allied department as well. Reconstruction of extinct texts – like Vasistha Samhita is daunting task. Likewise, preparation of the authentic source books like the Yogic Concordance, Yoga Kosha and encyclopedia of Yoga is job for expert academicians in the field. The PLRD has acquitted itself credibility in this stupendous task with its publications. Others are in the course of preparations.
A crucial part of the Kaivalyadhama which really placed it on the International map is the Scientific Research Department (SRD) which initially functioned with rudimentary instruments. After all the Raman effect was also the product of extraordinary research conducted by Sir C.V Raman with many rudimentary instruments that he had himself devised. Swami Kuvalyananda also followed the same path in the 1920’s came up with astounding studies that at once galvanized scientific research activities in the field of yoga, some thing until then not so much as thought of even. When told about the method of research adopted by him no less a person than J.C Bose is said to have remarked to Swami Kuvalyananda: “Well I cannot vouch for your result as yet, but I have no doubt that you are
on the right track.”
The SRD has different sections like Biochemistry, Radiology, Psychology, Physiology and Physical Education all fully equipped with the latest instruments for attaining precision in the studies and experiment. The institute has permanent affiliation for its research with Pune University. It is also recognized as a research institute by Department of Scientific and Industrial Research , Government of India.
The dissemination of knowledge gained thus through academic and scientific studies was accorded equal priority by Swami Kuvalyananda. He was no votary of conserving knowledge through secrecy, on the other hand, he believed consolidated through dispersal and extension. The most important vehicle that he devised for this purpose was the internationally renowned journal Yoga – Mimamsa. Complimentary to this was publication of books, monograph, charts, booklets and the like
As far back as in 50s Swami Kuvalyananda was invited by then Government of the United Provinces to train the few teachers for teaching yoga in schools. He responded to the invitation enthusiastically and conducted camps for the purpose of the imparting the training, an activity he continued with great gusto. A more decisive way of institutionalizing the teaching of yoga was to start a regular college, an ambition realized in 1951 in the form of Gordhandas Seksaria College of Yoga & Cultural Synthesis in Lonavla. Both theoretical and practical training in yoga is
provided here to the students who in turn impart training to multitudes outside within country and abroad. The college conducts various courses such as Diploma in Yoga Education a one year academic course, which is the only Teachers Training Course in Yoga recognized by the National Council of Teachers Education, Government of India. The
Certificate Course in Yoga is held in Jan and in May for a period of six weeks, a Advanced Yoga Teachers Course designed for Yoga teachers for deeper studies is held for a period of one month in from March 15th and a Diploma in Yoga Therapy , a first of its kind course which is affiliated to Pravara Medical Trust , A Deemed University starts from 15th August for a period of 18 months. Three preparatory courses are also being introduced from 2011, they being on Yoga and Ayurveda, Traditional Texts in Yoga and Orientation course for Yoga Teachers for Spa’s. The college also conducts various in-service training course for school teachers. It is responsible to execute various schemes of the Government of India such as Promotion of Yoga in Schools –
NCERT Scheme, Promotion of Yoga in School health – Department of AYUSH, and specially designed training for Navoday Vidyalay wherein teachers are deputed to teach the students and the teachers in 20 schools every year. Special courses for international students, like Chinese, Korean and Japanese are also conducted by the college. The Diploma In Yoga is recognized by the National Council for Teachers Education , Government of India.
Right from beginning Swami Kuvalyananda organized the institution as spiritual center on one hand and a therapeutic center on the other. It may be recalled that in late 20’s Swamiji was invited by no less a person than Mahatma Gandhi to treat him for certain ailments and also to obtain instructions regarding his exercise and diet. In fact, Swamiji went to the Nandi Hills near Bangalore, Karnataka, and stayed with Gandhiji to give him treatment for quite a few days and then followed it up with regular correspondence. Prominent amongst Swamijis students were Pandit Motilal Nehru, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya and many others.
For ages now the value of Yogic System in treatment, rehabilitation and prophylaxis of certain diseases has been well known and rightfully acknowledged.
With this in mind, Rugna Seva Mandir, a department devoted exclusively to the treatment of various diseases through Yoga, has been functioning at Kaivalyadhama. Since 1924, its year of inception. With the passage of time the number of patients seeking the advantages of Yogic therapy increased and the need was
felt to establish a full-fledged Yogic Hospital to cater to them. This became possible due to the munificent donation by Shri Amritlal Gupta, who personally experienced the benefits of Yogic therapy. The Shrimati Amolakdevi Tirathram Gupta Hospital and Helath Care Centre is a result of his magnanimous donation. This is the first ever hospital of its kind in India where Yogic
treatment is given under complete medical supervision and results assessed on scientific lines with the help of a research laboratory. Since Yoga helps balance the mind and body leading to better health, people began to understand that it was a means of preventing ailments. Thus, the increased awareness of the benefits of Yoga necessitated the conversion of the hospital into a full-fledged Health Care Center. The aim now is to provide people with an efficient system of Health Management through Yogic practices. To broaden the sphere of health and wellness, a nature cure centre was added in 1991 and a Ayurvedic Centre in the year 2007. The state of Maharashtra has permitted communicated leave to its employees to attend the workshops at the institute vides its GR.
The Kaivalyadhama Ashram in Lonavla served as the nucleus for forming the Shriman Madhava Yoga Mandir Samiti under whose aegis the research departments of the institutions functions. This has so since 1944.
There are center else where too, like in Mumbai, Bhopal ,Rajkot, whose functioning is in tune with the overall functioning of the institutions of Kaivalyadhama.
France and USA have their own Kaivalyadhama Centre. There are also other which are not directly under the guidance of the Kaivalyadhama, but nonetheless are
affiliated to the institute, Yogi Yoga in China and Macau Yoga Association and Real Yoga in Singapore.
The working of the institute is guided by the Governing Body, which has Swami Maheshananda as the Chairman and Shri.O.P.Tiwari as the Secretary. An advisory body Chaired by Former judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Shri.B.N.Shrikrishna has experts from various fields which advises the Governing Body on important policy matters.
It is no exaggeration to say that Scientific Yoga in the single largest contribution of Swami Kuvalyananda and that Kaivalyadhama is embodiment of that pursuit.