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.
"We look at our world and wonder how we will create peace and freedom. We want to successfully fulfill our responsibility to train and educate the children, those tender buds, who are given to us to nurture and raise.
In answering these questions, it is clear that family life is important, because the foundation for life is established in childhood, especially in the first seven years. This sets a pattern for the duration of the rest of our lives.
A great man once said, 'Give me only the first seven years of life; the rest you can take.' He meant that these first years are of the greatest importance in determining the course of life.
If childhood is healthy, then we have established a good foundation as human beings, and we are able to care for ourselves, contribute to society, and share our love with others. This means also that we can take the next step in life, the step of being able to explore the spiritual dimensions of ourselves.
However, if these first years of childhood are unhealthy, then they create problems and conflicts that we must overcome later in our lives, and which may even interfere with our ability to attain our goal. It is possible to resolve these problems and conflicts, although to do so may consume much of our adult lives.
But life is like a school, and we cannot go on to the next level until we have completed the basic lessons. Families are the central training grounds for the entire life, the first step in a child’s spiritual development. Parents are their children’s first gurus, and if they complete their duties wisely, then the child moves on to other levels of learning."
- Swami Rama in Love and Family Life, pages 3 and 4