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.
“Our whole lives in the external and internal worlds are motivated by our samskaras, the impressions left by our thoughts, actions, and choices. No one punishes us for our good or bad deeds, but our samskaras motivate our present actions. We sow what we reap. When we understand this motivating force in our lives, we cannot blame others, nature, or God for the lives we lead.
Our lives are our own creation. Our problems are our own. We shouldn't fight with ourselves over these problems, but try to understand them. We should understand our relationships with others. It is not helpful to blame others for what is not right in our lives. What have we brought to the relationship? Why have we chosen it? These questions lead to an expansive view of the situation, to compassion, and to selflessness.
Without a larger spiritual context, this world is not perfect. That is its nature. It is a world of change, death, and decay. Anything in this world cannot hold ultimate happiness because it goes away, breaks down, and changes. You cannot rely on this world, its objects, or relationships for happiness because they are not reliable. They cannot be reliable because they cannot last and remain the same forever. That is not the nature of this reality.
This world is a training ground, a school, a play. It is perfection in its imperfection. As a place to learn and grow, the worldly plane is incomparable. It is your consummate creation, shaped from your individual deeds, fitted to your individual needs."
- Swami Rama in Sacred Journey, pages 56-57