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 sense of the word dharma means to organize one’s life in such a way that individual action is in harmony with interpersonal relationships and with the community, local and global. It implies morality, righteousness, and virtue. A life that is led with unselfishness, harmlessness, compassion, non-possessiveness, and non-covetousness in personal relationships and toward the greater global community and earth itself, is a spiritually healthy life. However, if a person is selfish, harms others, brings harm in some way to the community, and feels a sense of possession of things and people, such a person’s life is contracted, and spiritual progress is hindered.
Another interpretation of dharma is the notion of destiny. Dharma is a person’s duty in life. Put another way, dharma is the path a person takes to best use this life to most effectively reach the goal of life.
A person’s dharma is related also to personal karmas and samskaras. What does a person need to earn, burn, and discard in order to move forward in spiritual life? What is the dharma that can effect that learning and burning? Whether that dharma is to be a carpenter, social worker, fireman, nurse, computer technician, mother or father, Californian or Italian, it doesn’t matter. From a general point of view, no dharma is better than another. From the standpoint of making spiritual progress, being a small vegetable farmer or street cleaner is as valid and efficient a dharma as being president or pope. Each person has a dharma that best suits his or her spiritual needs.
It is vital then to look for and establish a personal dharma that provides a personal set of values to follow and develop, and identifies those duties that will be helpful in the process of personal growth."
- Swami Rama in Sacred Journey: Living Purposefully and Dying Gracefully pages 42-43
Swami Veda Bharati took his Mahasamadhi July 14, 2015. He holds the prestigious title of Mahamandaleshwara in the Swami order of monks. Swami Veda was also the Chancellor of HIHT University, Dehradun, which was established by Master Swami Rama. He authored approximately 18 books on Indian spirituality including a 1500 page comprehensive commentary on two of the four chapters of Patanjali’s Yoga-sutras. Before taking the vows of Swamihood in 1992, Swami Veda Bharati was known as Dr. Usharbudh Arya.
“Disappointments, anxieties, fears.
Fulfilments, hopes, faith.
These alternate in our lives, or the two sets even remain on parallel tracks of the mind at all times, rendering some joy and some sorrow.
These days people are often heard talking of their anxieties and fears. Why not enjoy that which you have achieved instead of regretting what has been just so far beyond reach?
Make a list of all the fulfilments, pleasures, moments of laughter, causes for smiles you have had; savour them all. Enjoy what is there to enjoy; refuse to suffer what is there to suffer.
Do not feel so helpless. Your destiny was not made by God, nor by stars, nor by tarot cards. Your sankalpas, intentions and resolves make your destiny. In last lives you made your destiny for this life. In this life you have also been altering your destiny afresh, also making your destiny for future lives.
We bear and hear of so many anxieties and complaints about these ‘modern times’, about what is happening to ‘all of us’ ‘these days’. The cycles and parallel journeys of joys and sorrows are perennial. They have never ceased. Read the ancient story books, the Jatakas, Katha-sarit-sagara and all the rest that narrate the lives of ordinary people in the olden times. They all enjoyed the same things we do; they all suffered the same things we do, and had the same anxieties. This will be so ten thousand years hence when people will feel nostalgic for our present times as ‘those good old times’. It will be so, if you are planting the sankalpa for it to be that way. Or, we can change the direction of our individual and collective sankalpas. That is the secret for your future a year hence and a millennium hence.
It is your sankalpa that determines the course of your destiny. You sow an intention, water it, make it grow, your actions follow from a determined and concentrated mind and create your surroundings as you wished for them to be. But you must learn the art of sowing the seeds of sankalpa.
Something happens in the subtle world around your soul six months before an event occurs in the visible world. The thoughts you are planting at this moment will show their result six months, or longer, from now. Have you, with a well-groomed intent, chosen the thoughts you are planting? Did you choose them two years ago so that you would not have had to regret the results of your thoughts today? Bear this principle in mind and as my Gurudeva Swami Rama of Himalayas said: You are the architect of your destiny.
A sankalpa is not a fleeting wish followed by a whole different wish and a chain of all and sundry wishes. At the moment of sankalpa there is no anxiety.
Count your breaths for a few minutes (there is an art to it that you need to learn);
Let the mind thereby become totally calm, soothed, wrinkle-free, a chamber of silence and stillness;
Then send a quiet, yes, very quiet, message to the forces of the subtle world;
Having done so, leave it there, surrender it to the forces, to the divine will, and do not struggle.
You may repeat this process daily.
You will begin to sense what your course of action should be. You will find yourself taking that course of action. The ‘forces’ will send you unexpected helpers and help from unknown sources.
Stay calm all the way through; an observer, not a doer.”
Original article: http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1709/00.html