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.
“The first mantra of the Ishopanishad throws light on all three angles of the triangle of life and serves as a guide to man's all-around development. Its ideals are worthy of our thoughtful consideration and practice: to see God in our own heart, to become pure in our actions, and always to feel that God is one and all-pervading.
We have seen that the essentials of the first mantra are: see the same God in all and everywhere; perform actions and enjoy pleasures without attachment for the sake of sadhana, and do not deprive others of their rights through your own selfishness.
The second mantra is closely related to the first. It further elaborates the ideals of the first mantra, telling how a man should pass his life. The second mantra teaches, "Desire to live for a hundred years, but the usefulness of life does not lie in indolence and carelessness." By living a life of unattached action and performance of duties, a man can attain that end of mental calm and great peace for which his life is intended. By such a life, which is a life of sadhana, man is never blemished or shackled by his actions. Thus the second mantra concerns nishkama karma, or non-attached action.
No man can live without performing action.”
- Swami Rama in Book of Wisdom: Ishopanishad pages 59-60
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.
“The mantra glides, soaring through the skies of the breezes of breath in the rarefied atmosphere. In the stratosphere beyond the mind it streaks across the shining cosmic rays, like a falling star descending to our earthly mind. The bells ringing in your ears are not of the bronze of this earth.
A pillar of light rises from the firm ground of your posture and penetrates into heaven. The faith here moves no mountains; it makes steady the fragments of your limbs.
While in subterranean caves, fires burn unseen, volcanoes explode, the underground lakes and streams churn unhindered, the body sits rock-like and the spirit moves. The breath of God gently stirs the reservoirs within.
The waves that strike your shores, the tides that swell from head to toe, the Pacific depths that rise in the voice of Sophia, who makes your mouth her dwelling, sings:
These are your friends from the lands of Eternity.
The journey is not too long, only a few incarnations.
The ocean is not too wide, only a few aeons.
Patience, brother soul, you will reach as others have in the past. When pranas become your friends and your mantra glides in the stratosphere beyond, the mind knows that the other shore is very near and that the boat of your body will reach the land of lands. The land of reality and light.”
- Swami Veda Bharati in The Light of Ten Thousand Suns page 70