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.
"There is no need to condemn yourself by thinking, “I am bad, I am bad, I cannot do anything.” You waste so much time in condemning yourself. Who are you to condemn yourself? You don’t belong to yourself. Your body is made of five elements. You cannot create the body again, so your body does not belong to you. Your pranas do not belong to you; your mind does not belong to you; your soul does not belong to you. Who are you to claim that this is bad and that is good? Both claims are not helpful. One feeds the ego, the other cripples your creativity.
Do not condemn yourself. You have no right to do that. You are created by Providence and you should learn to respect its creation. When you stumble against yourself you will also stumble in the external world. Don’t hurt yourself. Be strong.
How come you are picking up the habit of having an inferiority complex? It means you feel you are a lump of flesh, a bag of bones, and a tumbler of blood with a mechanical brain inside your skull. You are more than that. You are a luminous soul, a spark of the eternal fire of Atman. You are the way you think and you become the way you think. Stop having that inferiority complex. What you eat, do, and think is limited to the body, breath, and mind.
The Buddhist scriptures say that if you hate others, nothing happens to the hated person, something happens to you, to your mind, to your heart. You can learn to love somebody, even one whom you hate, by understanding that he is a human being like you. Who am I to hate that person? Stop hurting and hating others, for it injures you. If you constantly injure yourself, it can lead you to an action that can never be forgiven by your own mind, by your own conscience. You are constantly killing your conscience. Stop doing that.
The Ishopanishad tells you not to kill your conscience. When you kill your conscience, how can you love others? You should learn to appreciate, admire, and love yourself, and then emanate that love to others.
If someone else injures you it can be treated, but if you go on injuring yourself, who will treat you? The greatest sinner is he or she who constantly kills his or her own conscience. The Upanishads declare it.
Remember that fifty percent is my job and fifty percent is your job. I do my job and you do yours. Suppose you don’t do your job; I will still continue my efforts to help you grow.
A human being commits many mistakes because he is not perfect. When you sit down in meditation, have a little dialogue with yourself. What did I do today that was not right? What did I say that was injurious and harmful? This way of keeping track of ideas, thoughts, action, and speech is called housekeeping.
A human being is like a multistoried mansion. In this mansion there are many subtle and finer forces of life. To manage such a magnificent mansion, you have to supervise all the levels of the mansion, not only the primitive fountains of food, sex, sleep, and self-preservation.
Those who are ignorant get lost in gross objects that are subject to change, death, and decay. They are not aware of the finer forces of life that are the real interior functionaries of this mansion of life. Body is only a gross tool. Breath is finer, and finest is the mind.
Actions are actions, and you should not identify yourself with your actions. You should learn to build a personal philosophy and remain free from any guilt.
When you have a dialogue with yourself and find that you have committed a mistake, do not repeat it. Why brood on mistakes and create a deeper feeling of guilt for yourself?
If actions that you consider to be injurious or obstacles to the path are not repeated, then you are free. A guilt feeling comes because you are creating a law for yourself, or society is creating laws for you. If you follow the law of life, there is no reason for you to have a guilt feeling.
You are your own judge, but don’t be obsessed by don’ts. Life was not meant for don’ts. The more you make your life calm, the more it becomes purified, and the whole philosophy changes. This is a process of self-transformation that actually helps you to grow, unfold, and attain.
Those who know all about their mind and its various aspects, enjoy and attain the beauty of life. Life should be appreciated. No one has the right to condemn it.
What is good and what is right, thinking makes it so. Surrender the mind for a while to God consciousness, and you will find peace."
- Swami Rama in The Essence of Spiritual Life