Swami Sivananda (1887-1963) was born in Pattamadai, South India, as Kuppuswami. He went to medical school in Tanjore and then took up a job as a doctor in Malaysia. Although he was a very successful doctor, when his wife died he renounced the world, went back to India, and became a Swami. Swami Sivananda performed austerities for many years and became enlightened through an intensive Yoga practice. Even so, he continued to help the sick, and after his serious sadhana, he continued extensive charitable efforts to bring the gifts of natural Ayurvedic medicine and spiritual literature to people.
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