One of the greatest adepts, teachers, writers, and humanitarians of the 20th century, Swami Rama (1925-1996) is the founder of the Himalayan Institute. Born in Northern India, he was raised from early childhood by the Himalayan sage, Bengali Baba. Under the guidance of his master, he traveled from monastery to monastery and studied with a variety of Himalayan saints and sages, including his grandmaster who was living in a remote region of Tibet. In addition to this intense spiritual training, Swami Rama received higher education in both India and Europe. From 1949 to 1952, he held the prestigious position of Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham in South India. Thereafter, he returned to his master to receive further training at his cave monastery, and finally in 1969, came to the United States where he founded the Himalayan Institute. His best known work, Living With the Himalayan Masters, reveals the many facets of this singular adept and demonstrates his embodiment of the living tradition of the East.
Truth is that Divine Force that dwells in every individual’s heart. It is the all-pervading, eternal Reality, uniting all individuals, and finally, linking all of existence in one divine awareness. That Divine Force is called God.
Belief in the existence of God indicates that one is searching for the Truth. The Truth is that which remains unchanged in the past, present, and future. The Truth is unborn and immortal. To know Truth, one needs to purify one’s thoughts, speech and actions. Purification is of utmost importance, because only through a purified mind can an aspirant think clearly and contemplate.
Once we are determined to search for the Truth through purified thoughts, speech, and actions, we are certain to find the way and reach the goal. Truth itself becomes our guide, and without making a mistake we will find ourselves on the right path.
One who believes in God and surrenders to God attains freedom here and now. He knows that he belongs to God, and that God belongs to him. His awareness shifts from the world to God, and he lives a life free from insecurity and fear. He has an unshakable faith in divine protection.
The scriptures constantly remind us that as the ocean accepts a river and makes it its own, God accepts seekers. It does not matter which path they follow or from which background they come. The only requirement is the desire to know the Truth. Once that desire is awakened, all means and resources come together. Water finds its own level. Likewise, a true lover of God finds God.
The highest philosophy is to know that the Truth and God are one and the same, and the highest practice is to search for Truth through one’s thoughts, speech, and actions.
There is something beyond religion. Though essential in the preliminary stage, it does not allow one to be one with the whole. It is like a moth that eats Kashmir wool, trying to prove to other moths that Kashmir exists. Everywhere in the realm of religion I encountered locked doors. If ever one door should chance to open, I was ultimately disappointed by what lay behind it.
God’s existence does not depend on our proofs. There is something wrong with the philosophers and the theologians, for they have the curious notion that God is a kind of hypothesis that can be analyzed and discussed.
I have seen people struggling with death because they do not admit its existence. God to me is a real annihilating fire and indescribable grace. I accept both.
It is easy to believe in God, and to believe in God is definitely better than not believing, however, that is only half way. It is something great when you come to know that:
God is in me. The Lord dwells in me. I am a finite vessel, and Infinity dwells within this finite vessel.
The human being is great, not because he can speak and narrate things, and not because he can feel. He is great because wherever he goes, the Lord travels with him.
No one has seen God. Highest of all, love without object, is God. How to know him? How to enjoy?
Seeing God in everyone and working for others is one way of enjoyment, but that is not so easy. You will have to practice. Remember the Lord all the time and sooner or later, you will be transformed.
The day you come to know that the Lord is within you, you will be free from fears. Then where are you? Where do you exist? If you have that consciousness that you exist separately from the Lord of the Universe, then it means you deny the existence of the Lord of the Universe.
God is all—a personal God, a universal God, and that which is beyond. Start from a personal God, go to the God within, then to the universal God, and finally beyond.
To love beloved God in any object is knowledge, yet to understand God in the heart is real Truth. It is a vain attempt to search for God. Who can there be more wonderful than myself—that is the Self of all.
Those who crave to see God are foolish. When I see him smiling through the face of man and child, and highest of all in myself, I am born a million times, and die a million times, too.
No God is greater than thyself.
- Swami Rama in The Essence of Spiritual Life: A Companion Guide for the Seeker pages 5-7