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.
“In this age of high technology, no community or race can maintain its existence without associating with other communities and races. So there must be better understanding among human beings. We have to share one another's losses and gains. We have to learn from each other's experiences for our own growth and promote the growth of others. Rising above superiority and inferiority complexes, different groups of people must work together toward a common goal--that of peace and happiness. Different nations, religions, and cultures of the world must recognize their strengths and weaknesses.
The contribution of science and technology cannot be underestimated. Science has made the world quite small. Physical distances do not separate people the way they once did. Although people have begun sharing each other's material products, they do not share their thoughts and feelings. It appears that because material objects have brought them together, people have begun to regard each other as a means for gaining material benefits. Because of a lack of spiritual awareness, people consider this world to be the sole reality. Consequently, they are busy in the race for material development. Their materialistic worldview feeds their egos and creates inequality, discrimination, and odd complexes in our society.
The human race is suffering from ego-born narrow-mindedness. Discrimination exists, based on religion, color, and nationality. In the same locality, people are being discriminated against just because they are European or Asian, black or white, Hindu or Muslim. As long as these man-made divisions exist in our society, there is no hope for peace and happiness. We must understand that we are born as humans and all other identifications are superimposed on us later. Loving others and receiving love from others is our birthright. True freedom means loving all and hating none, including all and excluding none. In order to cultivate our humanity, we have to reach out to the hearts of our fellow beings.”
- Swami Rama in Spirituality: Transformation Within and Without pages 122-123