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 power of emotion arises from desires, and desires arise from the four primitive fountains, but there is another basic urge in human beings. This is the drive to know the Truth, the desire to love the Truth. This dormant inborn desire within does not arise from one of the four fountains. It is the source of positive emotions – joy, forgiveness, peace.
It is not possible for a human being to be free from desire, because it is the nature of the mind and the senses to be attracted to objects and ideas. This is not bad; it is a fact that can be used. Even that desire which is one´s greatest burden can be a means for his liberation if he learns to direct it properly.
When that force is directed toward the divine instead of toward the external charms and temptations of the world, then one´s journey is propelled by the power of love, for love is the strongest force. One can use that natural tendency to desire something as a means for attaining the highest goal in life.
When one does not allow his mind to be dissipated and agitated by the senses and the ego, then he finds that centre of love within. When that spark is ignited, it becomes a burning desire to reside always in union with the Divinity. Then that great conflagration burns away all little desires, and there is only one perennial flame burning in the altar of the heart.
- Swami Rama in Choosing a Path, page 70