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 mental cord in the rope of karma is stronger and finer than the action cord. It is easier to control action than thought. It is essential, however, that we learn to control the thinking process; otherwise freedom cannot be attained. By gaining control over the thinking process we can gain control over the impressions stored in the mind and eventually over our entire karma.
Through introspection (inspection within) one can discover the nature and origin of his thought. Mental functioning and internal motivations always precede external actions. We often do things mechanically out of habit, i.e., as a result of ingrained mental patterns. Through introspection we can learn to understand and see clearly our habits and their origins. The word personality has its roots in the Latin word persona which means mask. This refers to the masks used by players in ancient theaters to personify certain character types for the audience We make our own personality. It is a mask etched by our character which is itself determined by our habits. Through introspection we can change our habits and thus change our character and personality. In order to change habits we must be aware of our present condition and our goals. The goal is simply to be perfect. As we grow through introspection our conscience makes us more aware of our perfections and imperfections, and we gain greater control over our mind. If our acts and thoughts remain unchanged, then we display a distracted personality; we experience a lack of coordination between mind and body, between thinking and action.
To bring about the changes necessary to affect one's habit, one must attain the state of turiya or samadhi, which is resisted out of fear of the unknown part of the Self. It helps to recall that this unknown mind is of one's own making, that you are not your thinking process, you are the thinker. Without changing your habits, you cannot change your personality or your thinking process. Through introspection, through observation of what effect your habits, thoughts and actions have upon you, you can learn to distinguish between what is advisable and beneficial and what is harmful or dangerous for you. You can learn what is your real nature and what is not your real nature.”
- Swami Rama in Freedom from the Bondage of Karma pages 28-30