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.
I have not come to teach you religion, for that you already have. I have come to teach you something that you do not have, that which is missing. And that´s called a personal philosophy of life, which will support you no matter where you go. So I will tell you something about the mind and what is beyond the mind. I would like to give you both views, eastern and western, and try to explain to you the various aspects of mind and its modifications, so that there is no confusion and you can start working with yourself. We human beings are fully equipped and we can all attain the goal of life here and now. But sloth or laziness is the greatest of all sins. You have to work hard to learn anything. To learn English I had to work hard. Without working hard how can you accomplish anything? You have to know the language first, then you have to know the practice and finally, you have to follow it.
If you want to work with yourself, you should start practicing and watch your activities and not be trapped by self-created misery that rises out of sloth. The question is have you decided? Are you determined to work with yourself? How long will it take? Ten minutes a day to work with yourself. In the external world you can get lost easily, but within, there is no chance of getting lost. Why are you afraid? Afraid of whom? Actually, all the fears are within you, are created by you, all the fears are yours. You have never examined them, that is why you are suffering. Therefore, O human being, learn to work with yourself. East and West meet here, and a day will finally come when all of humanity will say with one voice that the mind is the source of all problems and the mind is the source of all pleasures. They have been trying their best to explore something they do not understand. And this is true.
Whenever you sit down and examine you mind there is some image in your mind. Image within is called imagination. And you are brooding on that image and when that image passes, another image comes. Often, this is how we think, “Who does my neighbour think she is? She thinks that she has plenty of money. She thinks that she is better dressed than I am, that she has bigger diamonds than me. Who does she think she is?” All the time you go on thinking this way and waste your time and energy. Thus, the purpose of human life is defeated, because no one teaches you how to use this brief span of life such that life becomes productive, creative and fulfilling. But there is a way. This brief span of life can be utilized, and in this lifetime itself one can attain the purpose of life, one can become self-realized.
Many of us think that the mind cannot be tamed, cannot be polished, cannot be used, cannot be made useful. This is not true. Some of the great men have done it. Many of us want to, but we don´t practice. We have to understand something about the mind. You can easily understand the mind by understanding your thought patterns. A thought comes, then another thought comes, then another, another, another and this keeps on going. If you study your brain wave patterns you will find that there is a space between two thoughts. If you can eliminate this space between thoughts, there will be only one thought.
Cleansing the mind, purifying the mind, means learning to train it, just like training or breaking in a shoe. If you learn to train your attention, you can do wonders in the world.
- Swami Rama in Conscious Living: A Guidebook for Spiritual Transformation pages 55-57