Swami Rama

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Swami Rama
Brij Kishore Dhasmana

Northern India
Died13 November 1996
ReligionSanatana Dharma
Senior posting
GuruBengali Baba
HonorsShankaracharya of Karvirpitham

"Be happy and fearless. Remember that you are a child of Divinity. Loss and gain cannot even touch your shadow."

Swami Rama (Svāmī Rāma; 1925 – 13 November 1996) was an Indian yoga guru.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Swami Rama was born Brij Kiśore Dhasmana or Brij Kiśore Kumar,[2] to a northern Indian Brahmin family in a small village called Toli in the Garhwal Himalayas. From an early age he was raised in the Himalayas by his master Bengali Baba and, under the guidance of his master, traveled from temple to temple and studied with a variety of Himalayan saints and sages, including his grandmaster, who was living in a remote region of Tibet.[3]

As a guru of yoga[edit]

When he was 28 he succeeded Dr. Kurtkoti, a leader of the learned monastic tradition, as the Shankaracharya at Karvirpitham in South India. Swami Rama demonstrated his knowledge of ancient texts to qualify; he held this position from 1949 to 1952.[4]

After returning to his master in 1952 and practising further for many years in the Himalayan caves, Swami Rama was encouraged by his teacher to go to the West. There he spent a considerable portion of his teaching life.[5][page needed]

Following on his intense Hindu spiritual training, Swami Rama received an academic higher education in India and Europe. In 1969 he went to the United States.

The phenomena recorded while he was a research subject at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, was spectacular.

During a series of biofeedback experiments in 1970 and 1971, Drs. Elmer and Alyce Green observed that Swami Rama could produce different brain waves at will, including theta and delta (sleep) waves, while remaining aware of his environment. He voluntarily stopped his heart from pumping blood for 17 seconds. The experimenters were surprised that, instead of stopping his heart, the Swami actually increased its speed to such an extent of 300 beats per minute that it was not pumping any blood since the ventricle had stopped and the atria merely fluttered. The effect on the circulatory system was thus the same as if the heart had completely ceased to beat.[6]

In another experiment at the same location,

He was able to create a temperature differential of ten degrees Fahrenheit between the two sides of his hand.[7]

Widely reported in the mainstream media, he acquired a reputation for "achieving" remarkable psychosomatic states. The result was a sharp increase of interest in his teachings.[8][9]


First ashrams in India[edit]

Swami Rama created his first ashram near Kathmandu in Nepal, apparently in the late 1950s. It was located on the way to Dhulikhel on the mountain of Janagal. After leaving the post of Shankaracharya 1952, Swami Rama had first gone back to his master. Then he went to Nepal in the Himalayas, traveling barefoot with nothing but a kamandalu and tiger mat. The ashram he started he later transferred and granted to Swami Vishuddha Dev. It is now known as Hansada Yoga Ashram, and is the headquarters of the characterology movement. However, other programs are also conducted there.[10]

In 1966, the original Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science & Philosophy was established by Swami Rama himself in Kanpur, India. The Institute's 50th anniversary was in 2016.[11]

Himalayan Institute in America[edit]

Swami Rama also founded in America a Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy.[12] Its original American location was Glenview, Illinois.

This Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy is now headquartered in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. It has branches in the United States, Europe, and India. Swāmī Rāma also founded other teaching and service organizations, some of which are linked below. Pandit Rajmani Tigunait succeeded Swami Rama as the spiritual head of the Himalayan Institute.[13]

Medical facility in India[edit]

One of his significant achievements is the establishment of a large medical facility in the northern part of India (Dehradun) to serve millions of poor people in the nearby mountains.[14] Until about 1987 the rural poor in this region did not have access to health care, water, sanitation, and education. Dedicated disciples of Swāmī Rāma have contributed to make his dream of a region free of poverty come true. Stories of his leadership style and the way he achieved his goals are documented in several books about Swāmī Rāma.[citation needed]


Swami Rama authored dozens of books, published in India and America,[15] which generally describe the path he took to become a yogi. He discusses the philosophy, practice and benefits of such practices as yoga and meditation. In an early co-authored book, Yoga and Psychotherapy (1976), Hatha Yoga is presented with reference to western psychology.

One of the common themes expressed in such books as Enlightenment Without God and Living with the Himalayan Masters is the ability of any person to achieve peace without the need for a structured religion. He was critical of the tendency for yogis to use supernatural feats to demonstrate their enlightenment, arguing that these only demonstrated the ability to perform a feat.[16]

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.


Swami Rama has been accused of sexual abuse.[17] In 1997, a woman won a lawsuit regarding multiple sexual assault through Swami Rama while she was attending the Himalayan Institute in 1993.[18]


  1. ^ "15 Yoga Gurus That Are Empowering The World Through Social Media". Influence Digest +. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  2. ^ Webster, Katharine (December 1990). "The Case Against Swami Rama of The Himalayas". Yoga Journal.
  3. ^ "Founding and Leadership", at Himalaya Institute website. Accessed 13 February 2019.
  4. ^ Ajaya, at p.xv, in Rama, Ballentine, Ajaya (Weinstock), Yoga and Psychotherapy (Glenview: Himalayan Institute 1976).
  5. ^ Tigunait, Rajmani (2004). At the Eleventh Hour: The biography of Swami Rama. Himalayan Institute Press; Honesdale PA.
  6. ^ Webster, Katharine (December 1990). "The Case against Swami Rama of the Himalayas". Yoga Journal (December 1990).
  7. ^ Rama, Swami; Ballentine, Rudolph; Ajaya, Swami (1976). Yoga and Psychotherapy: The Evolution of Consciousness. Himalayan Institute Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-89389-036-0.
  8. ^ Webster (1990), at p.61 [20]: quote re Menninger Foundation, media coverage.
  9. ^ Rama, Ballentine, Ajaya (Weinstock), Yoga and Psychotherapy (1976), pp. 25–26. "One of the authors of this book, Swami Rama... demonstrated an ability to alter his EEG pattern" (p.25) and his "heart ceased to pump blood for seventeen seconds" (p. 26). Recounted here are others with such abilities (pp. 22–28).
  10. ^ Rama,Swami: Living with the Himalayan masters and Hansada Yoga Ashram.
  11. ^ ahymsin.org
  12. ^ Rama, Ballentine, Ajaya, Yoga and Psychotherapy (Glenview: Himalayan Institute 1976), p. xv.
  13. ^ "Founding and Leadership" at the Himalaya Institute website.
  14. ^ Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
  15. ^ Twenty-eight books are listed at p.ii, in his Path of Fire and Light (1996).
  16. ^ http://www.swamiramasociety.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/BFB21.pdf
  17. ^ Cf., K. Webster, "The case against Swami Rama of the Himalayas", in Yoga Journal, December 1990
  18. ^ "$1.9 Million Awarded In Swami Sexual Case" in The New York Times, September 6, 1997

External links[edit]