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.
“Sit down and quietly think about what you have done in your life, because in the end, during the period of transition, you will have to face yourself. What have you done that is satisfying? Have you done anything selfless--totally selfless?
You go on doing your work and reaping the fruit, and then you hoard. In this way there can be no liberation. All the misery and chaos in the world is because of this. Somebody has an abundance; someone else doesn't have even a square meal. This disparity and the suffering that we find are created by ourselves.
How can you be peaceful if your neighbor's house is burning? How can you say you are at peace, and you don't feel any warmth? Those who understand life, understand the ripples of life. We are like ripples in the vast ocean of bliss.
If you are suffering, I am suffering, though I am not aware of it. How can I live without suffering? If my foot is suffering, definitely my whole being is suffering. We are all limbs of one huge, one great prajapati (being)--the whole universe. How can we live happily? Let us learn not to hoard, but just to give. To whom? Not to strangers. I'm not telling you something impractical. Give to those with whom you live.
Do not work for yourself; that is not the way of life. You will become selfish. Learn to work for others. If the wife learns to work for her husband, and the husband learns to work for his wife, they both will be happy. Problems come when they both become selfish, demanding, and expecting. Learn the path of selflessness. That is the only way of liberation.
Learn to give to each other, and then slowly that learning will expand to the whole universe. One day you will feel that the whole universe is your family, and you are one of the members of that family.
On the path of selflessness there is great joy.
Selflessness in the singular expression of love.”
- Swami Rama in The Essence of Spiritual Life pages 41-42