Swami KUVALAYANANDA, founder of the KAIVALYADHAMA centre
The KAIVALYADHAMA Centre ( Kaivalya” meaning the ultimate step reached by the practising Yogi and "dhama" the abode) situated in LONAVLA in the state of Maharastra in INDIA is famous for its fundamental and applied research in yoga which began at the beginning of the 20th Century. Its founder, Swami KUVALAYANANDA wished to pass on the age-old yogic tradition which he himself had received from his master the great Bengali yogi PARAMAHAMSA MADHAVADAS MAHARAJ. In this optic, a research of the original manuscripts of the fundamental texts of yoga was undertaken, followed by critical editions in order to bring these texts to modern day readers. Alongside this work, he also wanted to throw a scientific light on the ancient science of Yoga. So this pioneer carried out his work surrounded by disciples, doctors and scientific researchers. These studies have been reported in the journal YOGA MIMAMSA since 1924 and continue today.
At the end of the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century, a large number of Indians were at the heart of the profound restructuring of Indian society, both of its cultural and spiritual values, resulting in the eventual independence of their country in 1947. At first attracted by political actions when side by side with Sri AUROBINDO, Swami KUVALAYANANDA eventually chose to provide his contribution via the diffusion of a rational, solid and authentic practice of Yoga to a large public.
Impressed by this prominent figure, the Mahatma GANDHI requested his guidance in his personal practices. The DALAI LAMA in exile wished to meet him. The Pandit Jawarharlal NEHRU took a close interest in his work and the government of the young Indian republic officially acknowledged the KAIVALYADHAMA Centre.
- PARAMAHAMSA MADHAVADAS MAHARAJ
PARAMAHAMSA MADHAVADAS MAHARAJ (1798 - 1921) born in Bengal, was initiated as a Sadhu (monk) and entered the order of Vaishnavism. His thirst for knowledge of Yoga practice pushed him to travel all over India on foot in search of different yogic experts for nearly 35 years. He achieved a very great success. Attaining a great mastery over practical Yoga. He then retired in solitude in the caves of the Himalayas for further spiritual progress. He spent a full 12 years there in solitude. In 1869, he joined up with a large Sadhu community (hermits) who elected him as their leader at Vrindavan in 1881. Thereby representing the four major schools of philosophy Bhakti, Advaïta, Vishishtha Advaïta Vedanta and Dvaïta Vedanta. At the age of 80 he finally settled down on the banks of the sacred Narmada river in the state of Gujarat. It is here that he began to teach the secrets of practical yoga to a few selected and deserving disciples. He held extensive knowledge of sacred and secret practices yet the objective closest to his heart was the spiritual uplifting of the masses. In 1909 he organized an All India Sadhu meeting to modernize the order of hermits.
Towards the end of his life crowds of people sought contact with him. It was he who, thanks to his open-minded attitude, lay the foundation for further study and investigation of Yoga culture. The modern revival of practical Yoga truly owes its inspiration to him.