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.
"When you expand the field of the mind, the dream state and the sleep states come under the waking state, within its realm. Then you are in turiya. This is not easy. When you learn to expand your mind both horizontally and vertically, you make it a cross. The symbol of the cross is unique and can be interpreted in many ways. A yogic way of interpretation is that there are two main hemispheres in our subtle body: upper and lower. These two hemispheres meet and form a cross at the heart center between the two breasts.
Expanding the mind means visualizing the vast width and height mentally. Draw an unending line horizontally and lead your mind to try to reach the limitless ends. Do the same vertically. Make the base of your spine one end and draw the line upwards. It is just like trying to climb the stairs into the infinite sky. It will become an eternal cross and there will be no end.
Yet, you have to learn to go even beyond that. Let your dreaming state become the waking state and your sleeping state also become the waking state, with the help of the technique of yoga nidra, and thus attain turiya, the state beyond."
- Swami Rama in Path Of Fire And Light, Volume 2, pages 75-76)