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 first mantra of the Ishopanishad throws light on all three angles of the triangle of life and serves as a guide to man's all-around development. Its ideals are worthy of our thoughtful consideration and practice: to see God in our own heart, to become pure in our actions, and always to feel that God is one and all-pervading.
We have seen that the essentials of the first mantra are: see the same God in all and everywhere; perform actions and enjoy pleasures without attachment for the sake of sadhana, and do not deprive others of their rights through your own selfishness.
The second mantra is closely related to the first. It further elaborates the ideals of the first mantra, telling how a man should pass his life. The second mantra teaches, "Desire to live for a hundred years, but the usefulness of life does not lie in indolence and carelessness." By living a life of unattached action and performance of duties, a man can attain that end of mental calm and great peace for which his life is intended. By such a life, which is a life of sadhana, man is never blemished or shackled by his actions. Thus the second mantra concerns nishkama karma, or non-attached action.
No man can live without performing action.”
- Swami Rama in Book of Wisdom: Ishopanishad pages 59-60