Eminent sage in the field of Yoga Swami Kuvalayananda was born in Dhaboi; Gujarat on 30 of August 1883. Jagannatha Ganesa Gune was his childhood name, and his parents are Sri Ganesa Gune, a teacher by profession, mother Srimati Saraswati housewife- a traditional Karhade Brahmin family. Educator at heart, a scientific reseasoning mind is what kuvalayanadaji is known well. In spite of financial challenges, he succeeded gloriously in achieving scholarships and accolades. He is known for pioneering research in the field of scientific foundations of yoga. This pioneer and rationalist yoga masters is famous both in India and abroad. Arthur Koestler expresses that, Kuvalaynanda reminds him of Einstein. He says;” He had the same peculiar look in his large brown eyes that are speculative, puzzled and naive at the same time.” His interest in discovering the scientific basis behind these yogic processes became Swamy Kuvalayananda’s life's work and to propagate yoga to a large extent established Kaivalyadhama Health And Yoga Research Center at Lonavala, Pune.
Swamy kuvalayananda's first guru was Rajaratna Manikrao, a professor who trained him in Indian System Of Physical Education for three years, i.e. from 1907 to 1910. Later, in 1919, he met the Bengali yogin, Paramahamsa Madhavdasji to whom he completely surrendered who greatly influenced Kuvalayananda's career the yogin who lived for 123 yrs. And it was in those last two years of his guru Madhavdasji's guidance, kuvalayananda learnt The insight into Yogic discipline, i.e. till 1921. Soon he started, i.e. from the 1930s, training large groups of yoga teachers to spread physical education in India and be fit.
Scientifically-minded Yogi, Swamy kuvalayananda had in-depth knowledge of ancient history, Spiritually, an expert in Sanskrit and physical education as well. He likes the ideals of Sri Aurobindo, Lok Manya Tilak for their patriotism. It was during those days when people were struggling for freedom, Swamy Kuvalayananda dedicated his life for the people and decided not to accept service under the British government and to remain celibate lifelong. He felt the need to educate people as education plays a vital role in the overall wellbeing of the nation. Therefore his aim in life was to; to prepare a patriotic younger generation through training. Also, wished for the excellence of the individuals by implementing physical education along with general education, as well as to combine science and spirituality by coordinating yoga with modern science. He studied the deep relation between Yoga and health of individual and society. After starting scientific research in 1920 on yoga, he got them published for the first time in a monthly magazine namely Yoga Mimamsa, in 1924 the first scientific journal devoted explicitly to scientific investigating into yoga. On the 7th of October, 1924 –Vijayadasami day he founded the Kaivalyadhama Health and Yoga Research Center at Lonavla. It was a place of interest to visit by various scientists from India and abroad and to meet him as well. The magazine was liked by one and all, Scientists, scholars and the lay public as it provided scientific, philosophical and authentic accessible information on Yoga and had a profound influence on modern yoga.
Part of his aim; to serve through proper education; he organised Khandesh Education Society at Amalner. Later, it was closed due to the prevalence of nationalism in the institute by the British government where Kuvalayananda was serving as the Principal of the National College. Later, In 1920-21, he with his students support investigated the effects of Yogic practices on the human body in a laboratory at Baroda Hospital.
Among the many books Swamy has written, few books are; “Asanas”- written especially for physical culturists. The contents of his book reflect a rare synthesis of expertise in three fields namely, physical education, Sanskrit, and yoga and book Pranayama and Yogic Therapy -in collaboration with Dr S.L. Vinekar are well known. He has also published more than 84 experiments performed in the Kaivalyadhama Laboratory. Krishnamacharya, S. P. Nimbalkar, are yoga teachers famous for their specialities in teaching who were his students. He was survived by three successors: Dr P.V. Karambelkar, Sri Om Prakash Tiwari, and Dr Vijayendra Pratap along with many friends.
Kuvalyananda’s message to humankind is:-
It is the ability to adhere by dharma that differentiates man and animal. Because hunger, sleep fear and intimacy are common in both animal and man. A man without dharma is as good as an animal. Therefore conduct is to be assessed by self-observance daily; by asking himself; “In what respect am I compared with the beast and in what respect am I compared with the pious man?“
He left the above message on the blackboard in his bedroom at Kaivalyadhama, Bombay before his last breath.
On18 April 1966, Swamiji died at the age of eighty-three after a short illness. He left messages one on his office table, and one in the prayer room. They are as follows:
“The wise are those who look inward for permanent peace. One should accept whatever comes ones way, without losing heart.”
“If one wants to live then should learn to die. For the Yogi, praise and insult are verily poison and nectar. The wise declare that abuse is nectar and praise the gravest poison. “