As a teacher of tireless effort and vision, Swami Vishnudevananda founded and led the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre for many years. Coming from a humble rural background, Swami Vishnudevananda studied in his early years under Swami Sivananda Saraswati, described in The Great Vision (1995) as “a living saint in action.”
Swami Sivananda Saraswati advocated looking inward to find resolutions to seemingly intractable problems. Swami Vishnudevananda once asked his master what he should do should he find himself in a situation where his duty to the ashram comes into conflict with obedience to the Guru. Swami Sivananda Saraswati counseled that being obedient to the Guru takes precedence.
Swami Vishnudevananda then asked what would happen if the duty were not fulfilled properly. In this case, said his master, it is adharma, or unethical. He went on to say that if a contradiction between dharma, or duty, and obedience to the Guru arises, then the best approach is to “pray and wait.”
This ties into the internal nature of many profound decisions, as well as pathways toward resolution. In another instance, Swami Vishnudevananda expressed a desire to change by traveling to Uttarkashi and learn advanced hatha yoga kriyas. His master questioned this choice, however, opining that changing the mind and the mental attitude was all that was necessary to achieve necessary growth.