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Basic Ideals of the Divine Life Society

by Swami Sivananda

Some seekers of Truth, who did not wish to be bound up by any creed or dogma, felt the need for establishing an institution which would neither seek to propound an exclusive spiritual cult, nor a particular religious movement, but embrace every essential truth found in all the religions of the world. They offered me their noble submission, and the Divine Life Society came into being, in 1936. In the beginning I had no desire to found an institution, but merely wished to spread the message of the Lord in a quiet, modest way. I was satisfied with printing some leaflets, containing the essential teachings of divine life, and allowing some publishing agencies to print a few of my books, for the dissemination of spiritual knowledge. But the Lord willed more, and more became increasingly more.


The consequential problems of twentieth-century materialism, war and unrest, clashing of religious dogmas and intolerance, had created a spiritual hunger in the people, which had got to be met with maximum freedom of conscience and belief. There had to be spiritual home for everybody, which sought no qualification but sincere aspiration, and which imposed no restriction but the dictates of one's own higher mind. There had got to be a universal abode, where everybody could profess one's own religion and grow according to the law of one's individual growth, respective of each other's cultural and spiritual backgrounds, breathing the air of freedom and universality, love and fellowship, goodwill and mutual understanding. A Christian was not required to change religion but to be a better Christian, a Hindu a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim. Such was the basic purpose of the Divine Life Society.


Divine Life is yoga in daily life. Yoga is spirituality in practice. I do not ask anybody to run away into the forests or caves. I have always said: "Serve one another. Have goodwill towards each other. Change the angle of vision-from self-interest to common interest, from materialism to spirituality, realizing the presence of God in all. Feel that you are one with the whole universe. Broaden your outlook. Purify your lower nature." This is the gospel of the Divine Life Society.

Stick to the ideals of truth. love and purity. Truth is reality - that which is enduring, permanent. Love is the indwelling substance in all. Without truth, love is brittle, and devoid of purity, love does not flower. A pure men only can have true love in his heart, and only he, whose heart is filled with love of God and his creation - because God is in all- can know what is truth, and is able to follow the path of truth. Therefore, truth, love and purity are the common ideals of the Divine Life Society.


My injunction has ever been: "Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realise; be good and do good; be kind and be compassionate" These words sum up the teachings of all the scriptures of the world. They are the basis of divine life. Love flows from the heart of one who meditates on God. Service is a natural expression of love. Realisation is the fruit. Goodness springs from divine life; they are synonymous. Being good means doing good, because one cannot be good by merely being good to oneself but by doing good to others. Thus, the Divine Life Society stresses the need of being intensely practical. Its approach to the life of man, to the progress of society, is dictated by practical utilitarianism.

Divine Life is the link that binds all humanity as one great family. It gives one the opportunity of understanding one's relationship with God, between one another, between oneself and the world. It is the key that unlocks the treasure of Self-knowledge, and enables man to understand the laws of life. It is the basis of all philosophies, the mother of all the religions, and the way of life that all humanity can follow. To spread the message of divine life among everyone, everywhere, is the central objective of the Divine Life Society.

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