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.
“Saucha means cleanliness and purity, both of the body and the mind. Purity of the body is easily practiced, but purity of the mind needs a sincere, honest, and constant effort. And once the purity of the mind is attained, then one is fully prepared for the inner voyage. To achieve this state, one should cultivate constant awareness by being mindful all the time. To purify the buddhi, or the faculty of discrimination, is the most important task. When one remains always aware of one’s thoughts and learns to discriminate between pure and impure thoughts, helpful and disturbing thoughts, he develops the sense of determination and strengthens his will and thus does not allow the seeds of impure thoughts to grow within. When the faculty of discrimination is sharpened and a student knows that impure thoughts lead to greater bondage and create obstacles, he then strengthens the pure thoughts. With all sincerity and perseverance one can cultivate saucha in thought, action, and speech.
- Swami Rama in Choosing a Path page 125