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 sun, the moon, the stars, and all the lights that you can imagine in the entire external world are but fragments of that one great Light that is within you. It is the light of knowledge, the light of discrimination, the light of understanding, the light of life, the light of sharing and love, the light of Being that you are. “Thou art that.”
The light within is like a ripple in the vast ocean of bliss – that which we call Brahman, the Absolute, Infinity, the Highest. You yourself are that ripple, you are a wave. You should always have confidence that the light of life really is within you. Physics corroborates this philosophy; it also says that light is like a particle, like a wave. It repeats the ancient philosophy that tells us that life is a wave born from the ocean of bliss, playing in it, and subsiding again into it.
There is nothing that is truly subject to death. The Vedas, the most ancient scriptures in the library of humanity say that after this universe goes into annihilation, it returns again. The sun, moon and stars shine again in the same way that they did before. Essentially nothing dies; we also do not die. How can we die? To think that we die is a weak philosophy. If God is everywhere, what dies? Where is that which dies? The idea that one is completely annihilated is philosophically inaccurate.
You need to understand something about life and the universe first before we discuss practical spiritual techniques, because no technique is complete if you do not have an individual philosophy. If you do not understand these things before undertaking spiritual practices, these questions will preoccupy your mind, disturbing your practice. Thus, your individual philosophy should be well understood.”
- Swami Rama in Path of Fire and Light: Volume 2 pages 1 – 2