Swami Sivananda, who was called Kuppuswamy in his purvashrama, the stage before attaining sannyasa, left for Malaysia to serve the people working in rubber plantations. After having served them, mostly free of charge, for a considerable time of his life, he felt his calling was to progress spiritually.
Swami Sivananda came to Rishikesh, where he attained Self-realization after rigorous practice of yoga and meditation. He established the Divine Life Society, which is also called Sivananda Ashram, where he taught yoga of synthesis: a system he developed that integrates various yoga systems.
Swami Sivananda emphasized the need to let go of ego, which blocks the path toward Self-realization. "The goal of life is God realization" was his proclamation. Author of more than 200 books on subjects including yoga and meditation, Swami Sivananda passed in 1963.