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.
Lacking in foresight, people consider their present condition and circumstances alone to be the truth. Taking their present condition for granted, they refuse to explore the possibility of other states of existence. The conscious part of mind fails to grasp that which lies beyond the spheres of time, space, and causation.
There is a more illumined part of human beings that is aware, at least subliminally, that reality is more than what is known and seen. According to the scriptures, the unmanifest, and therefore unseen and unknown, aspect of reality is higher than the manifest world.
That which takes place in the physical world is a mere reflection of what has already taken place in the inner world. The nature of inner life changes the quality of external life. The way we think forms our personality.
Without proper thinking and discrimination, a human being fails to see his essential oneness with the Truth and, therefore, identifies with the external garment, the body. False identification with the body makes one a victim of pain and pleasure. Insatiable desire for pleasure and aversion to pain force one to keep transmigrating from one life to another.
A human being is a citizen of two worlds, and he or she has to develop the ability to have access to both without any confusion. Clarity of mind comes if you have learned to direct your mind according to your desire and goal.
The world within and the world without are two entirely separate realities. The external world dissipates energy, but the internal world showers blessings that fill the vacuum created by the world.
Conquering the inner world is more difficult than succeeding in the kingdom of life in the external world. One journeys from one success to another failure, for one is not trained to travel into the subtler levels of life.
When awareness expands, it expands on two dimensions simultaneously: one toward the internal Self, where there is peace, happiness, and bliss; the other toward the external world that is full of profusion and confusion.
The inner world is governed by the more subtle force of the Divine. Spirituality means allowing the inner world to remain illumined by the light of the Divine Force. The thoughts, speech, and actions of an illumined person are in perfect harmony. Such a person knows he is a citizen of two worlds simultaneously.
Have a balance between the internal and the external worlds. Do not be caught by the rigidity of external observances, which are actually nonessentials. Do not be affected by the suggestions of others, but learn to follow your own way that does not hurt, harm, or injure anyone.
Outsiders suffer a lot, but insiders can attain emancipation and enlightenment. Fortunate few are those who successfully create a bridge between the two realms, within and without.
- Swami Rama in The Essence of Spiritual Life pages 20-21