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.
“Often a thought comes into your mind and you become absorbed by that thought because of your habits and lack of training. Then, after a few minutes or hours, you suddenly wake up; you wonder what has happened and why this thought has controlled you. You need to practice to be free from the strong grip of those thoughts that do that to you. If one thought comes and then another thought comes, and if this continues indefinitely, then what becomes of your mind?
Then your mind is a catalog of thoughts, which includes desires, wishes, and wants, and you can put them into various categories, such as inclinations or sensations. You can certainly create a hell that way! Every individual makes hell for himself. You create hell wherever you go, because wherever you go, your mind goes with you. As we said earlier, the world created by you is the mind. When you use the word "mine" and emphasize your individual identity, you strengthen your sense of "I." That is a mental habit; you strengthen that vibration by repeating and repeating "I." But this sense of "I" is ignorance; it is what keeps you from expanding your sense of self. By taking off this shackle and barrier for yourself, you are beginning to understand your essential nature. You create this barrier of the ego out of insecurity.
But human beings have a tendency to blame others for their difficulties; first of all they blame nature, and then finally, God. They do not want to take responsibility themselves. They do not think, "If I am ignorant, why should God be responsible for my ignorance?" Most human beings do not think that. If you are suffering, why should others be responsible for your suffering? In reality, you are the sufferer; you created suffering for yourself. When you take this sort of responsibility---the moment you understand that---you gain a new courage, and it is a courage and a strength that you need.”
- Swami Rama in Path of Fire and Light, Volume 2 pages 42-43