Swami Rama

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Swami Rama
Born Brij Kiśore Dhasmana or Brij Kiśore Kumar
Northern India
Titles/honours Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham
Guru Bengali Baba
Quotation "Be happy and fearless. Remember that you are a child of Divinity. Loss and gain cannot even touch your shadow."

Śrī Swāmī Rāma (1925–1996) was an Indian yógī. Several Indian yogis have influenced Westerners including Swami Vivekananda, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Paramhansa Yogananda and many more. Swami Rama was one of the first yogis, however, to be studied by Western scientists. In the 1960s he was examined by scientists at the Menninger Clinic who studied his ability to voluntarily control bodily processes (such as heartbeat, blood pressure, and body temperature) that are normally considered to be non-voluntary (autonomic).

Early life and education[edit]

Swāmī Rāma was born Brij Kiśore Dhasmana or Brij Kiśore Kumar,[1] 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. From 1949 to 1952 he held the position of Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham (also Karveer Peeth or Karweer Peeth) in South India. 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, where he spent a considerable portion of his life teaching, specifically in the United States and Europe.[2][page needed]

First ashrams[edit]

After leaving the post of Shankaracharya and going back to the master, he afterwards travelled to Nepal in the Himalayas barefoot with nothing but a kamandalu and tiger mat. It was here where he created his first ashram. It is at the outskirts of Kathmandu on the way to Dhulikhel on the mountain of Janagal. He later granted it to Swami Vishuddha Dev. The ashram is known as Hansada Yoga Ashram. Now it is the headquarters of the characterology movement. However, other programs are also conducted there.[3]

Then in 1966, the original HIMALAYAN INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF YOGA SCIENCE & PHILOSOPHY was established by Swami Rama himself in Kanpur, India. 2016 is its 50th anniversary.[4]

Organization and achievements[edit]

He was the founder of the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy, which has its headquarters in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, and branches in the United States, Europe, and India. Swāmī Rāma also founded other teaching and service organizations, some of which are linked below. 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.[5] 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 several books in which he describes the path he took to becoming a yogi and lays out the philosophy and benefits behind practices such as meditation. 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.[6]

Ruling in sex abuse case[edit]

On September 4, 1997, almost a year after Swami Rama's death, when Swami Rama didn't have the opportunity to defend himself in the court, a federal civil Jury awarded nearly $1.9 million to a 23-year-old woman after concluding that Rama had forced her to have sex with him up to 30 times while she lived at the Himalayan Institute in 1993. In his closing statements after a three-week trial, Irwin Schneider, the Himalayan Institute's attorney, argued that even if the sex took place it was consensual. [7]

Selected bibliography[edit]


  1. ^ Webster, Katharine (December 1990). "The Case Against Swami Rama of The Himalayas". Yoga Journal. 
  2. ^ Tigunait, Rajmani (2004). At the Eleventh Hour: The biography of Swami Rama. Himalayan Institute Press; Honesdale PA.
  3. ^ Rama,Swami: Living with the Himalayan masters and Hansada Yoga Ashram.
  4. ^ ahymsin.org
  5. ^ Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust
  6. ^ http://www.swamiramasociety.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/BFB21.pdf
  7. ^ $1.9 Million Awarded In Sex Scandal An Ex-follower Of Sri Swami Rama Said He Forced Himself On Her.

Further reading[edit]

  • Walking with a Himalayan Master: An American's Odyssey, by Justin O'Brien (ISBN 0936663197)
  • At the feet of a Himalayan Master: Remembering Swami Rama vol 1 by Dr Prakash Keshaviah (ISBN 9788188157624)
  • At the feet of a Himalayan Master: Remembering Swami Rama vol 2 by Dr Prakash (ISBN 9788188157662)
  • A Multi Splendoured Sage: His holiness Dr Swami Rama of the Himalayas by K S Duggal
  • Swami Rama of the Himalayas: His Life & Mission by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait (ISBN 0893891495)
  • Swami by Doug Boyd (ISBN 0893891428)
Other works

External links[edit]