Swami Rama said, “We remain in the known for only a short time, but the unknown is always with us.”
What is this unknown? The unknown is that which exists before birth and after death.
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.
"One of the main causes of self-condemnation is that instead of forming your own opinion, you live and act on the opinions of others. In your relationships in the world, you are so controlled by the opinions of others that you assume their opinions as your personality. This is a sickness. If you allow the world to be your mirror, your whole life and personality will be determined by the opinions of others.
Accept yourself as you are but keep working with yourself. Don’t suddenly become upset if somebody says you look ugly. Don’t become confused if one person says you are good and another says you are bad. Likewise don’t expect others to praise you all the time and tell you that you are beautiful and wonderful.
Learn not to be affected by or swayed by others’ opinions. It is a weakness to depend on external sources. Learn to admire yourself rather than depending on appreciation and admiration from others. You are depending on external sources that are giving you fake suggestions and allowing your life to be controlled by those fake suggestions. You always look to others to know about yourself and to understand who you are.
Now form your own opinion and see yourself as you are. If you don’t begin to turn over the pages of the book of inner life, the study of the external world will only confuse you more. If you learn to admire and appreciate life, you will not be affected by external influences or opinions of others. Just be what you are and don’t try to pretend to be what you are not." - Swami Rama in Yoga the Sacred Science, volume 2