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.
“Purification and transformation is more important than sharpening the intellect for external achievements. A purified intellect can give one a better perspective of life. It can guide human destiny in the right direction. Purification of the intellect is not possible through the intellect itself. The intellect is clouded with the information it receives through sense perception. Such an intellect cannot rise above the limitations of time and space. It is the light of divine illumination that can guide the intellect beyond the realm of the senses and the material world.
People are still experimenting with the objects of the world. This experiment seems to be an unending process. So far humanity has not set up a definitive lifestyle to create happiness. Many people in the past have experienced the higher reality and have concluded that happiness lies within, not in the material world. However, their experience has not become the experience of all. Out of many, only a few follow the footsteps of the enlightened sages. They are the ones who attain happiness. They live in the world yet remain above it. Without inner illumination, external life cannot be made pure and ideal. External life must be illuminated by the divine light within. Freedom from pain and misery can be achieved by unveiling the secret of inner life. Once this is unveiled, we receive the divine message. The moment the veil is lifted and the ego is attuned to the higher self, our thoughts, speech, and actions follow the will of the Divine. Once there is balance between divine will and our worldly activities, we enjoy freedom here and now. One who has free access to the world within and without becomes a citizen of both worlds. He attains freedom, and eternal peace is his.”
- Swami Rama in Spirituality: Transformation Within and Without pages 126-127