Kaivalyadhama through the Decades
by Dr.G.Ramkrishna and colleagues
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 its credit. 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 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 two residential course, one of nine months duration leading to Diploma and other is six weeks leading to Certificate.
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.
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 augment the benefits, a Naturopathy Center has been established.
A naturopathy center has since been added to make therapeutic section more complete and self-contained.
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 Ahmedabad, 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 indirectly indebted to Kaivalyadhama by the virtue of the fact that they are run or guided by those whose affinity Kaivalyadhama varies in degree but not in kind.
Presently Swami Maheshananda , Chairman , is our spiritual guide. The working of the institution is guided by Shri.O.P.Tiwariji, disciple of Swami Kuvalayananda and the Hon Secretary of the Trust.
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.