Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Saga Appayya Diskhita 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; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a Health Journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission.
It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of 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 at Rishikesh in 1924, practiced intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, Saint, Sage and Jivanmukta.
In 1932 he started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organized. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 he undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 1953 he convened a 'World Parliament Reliogions'. He is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read his works is to drink at the fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July, 1963 he entered Mahasamadhi.
Teachers of subtle truths have always employed the story form of instruction to impart to students knowledge of realms beyond the ken of human perception and intricate aspects of philosophy as well as crucial lessons in ethics and the way of moral living. Worshipful Sri Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj was always fond of employing this method of spiritual and ethical instruction for bringing about spiritual awakening in people. Swamiji has written several such books of instructive and illuminating stories, among which the present volume entitle 'INSPIRING STORIES' forms a very valuable book of guidance upon right conduct, philosophic thinking, human psychology and spiritual life in general. As such, it will be an invaluable addition to the personal library of students eager to know more about the secrets of life on earth and life beyond.
Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, as an exemplary Sannyasin, was one of those stalwarts in the spiritual field who considered the spirit of renunciation in a world of phantasmal presentations as of paramount importance. One would find that in all his writings there is an under-current of 'renunciation'. Though he has tirelessly attempted in his supremely requisite qualification, namely, renunciation, one can safely conclude that there is no feature of spiritual life more misunderstood, misconstrued and misinterpreted than the demand for renunciation as a response to the call of the higher life. The illusion before the eyes of man is so inscrutably constructed that not even the wisest of people have found it easy t extricate themselves from its powerful clutches penetrating into the very vitals of one's being. This insistence on an interesting and important factor in the leading of the truly spiritual life is to be considered the explanation for this book commencing, at the outset, with a not-much-known but awakening message through the very first story.
Though the nature of these stories, parables and anecdotes is basically oriented from the point of view of a noble spiritual life, they will also serve definitely the useful purpose of being suitable non-detailed texts that may be prescribed in educational institutions.
Shivanandanagar, ---THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
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