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.
"A human being becomes the slave of his ego when he thinks of selfish gains. A selfish person dwells in a state of doubt since his conscience constantly reminds him of his wrong attitude. On the one hand, he is pulled by his selfish desires, and on the other, he is alarmed by his inner voice. He's torn apart by these two forces. But he who listens to the voice of his inner soul and performs his actions under the guidance of his discrimination rises above his egocentric awareness. He is the one who attains foresight, and thereby the power of discrimination guides him on the path of righteousness. A human being who lacks the power of discrimination performs his actions without being aware of their consequences. Most of the time, he is driven by his desires, whims, and primitive urges. He usually does not know what the truth is, and even if he knows, he fails to practice it in his thoughts, speech, and actions.
The power of discrimination is the greatest of all the benevolent forces within. With the help of contemplation and meditation, an aspirant should unfold this power and learn to distinguish right actions from unwholesome ones. He should execute his power of discrimination to analyze his own inner states so that he can be aware of his strengths and weaknesses. However, the recognition of these strengths and weaknesses should not be allowed to feed his ego or lead him toward self-condemnation. The purpose of this inner analysis is to unfold the good qualities and remove the unhelpful ones. The more an aspirant hides his weaknesses, the more they grow. One should acknowledge one's weak points and resolve to remove them once and for all."
- Swami Rama in Spirituality: Transformation Within and Without pages 108-109