Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) was born in Pattamadai, South India, as Kuppuswami. He went to medical school in Tanjore and then worked as a doctor in Malaysia. Although he was very successful, when his wife died he renounced the world, went back to India, and became a swami. Swami Sivananda did intense sadhana (spiritual practice) and performed austerities for many years before his illumination. He was an adept of Advaita Vedanta and also promoted Hatha Yoga. He did significant acts of Karma Yoga (selfless service), most notably helping the sick, sharing the gifts of natural Ayurvedic medicine, and publishing hundreds of spiritual books.