Swami Rama

Average: 3 (20 votes)
Fast Facts
Spiritual Teacher
Main Countries of Activity: 
India, United States, Europe
Date of Birth: 
Place of Birth: 
Garhwal Himalayas, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Date Left His/Her Body: 
Other Related Gurus: 
Bengali Baba, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait


Swami Rama (1925 – 1996) was born Brij Kishore Dhasmana, to a Northern Indian Brahmin family in a small village called Toli in the Garhwal Himalayas. He became the lineage holder of the Sankya Yoga tradition of the Himalayan Masters. From an early age he was raised in the Himalayas by his master Madhavanada Saraswati, and, under the guidance of his Master, 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. From 1949 to 1952 held the prestigious position of Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham in South India. After returning to his master in 1952 and many years of further practice 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.[1]
He is especially notable as one of the first yogis to allow himself to be studied by Western scientists. In the 1960s he allowed himself to be examined by scientists at the Menninger Clinic who studied his ability to voluntary control bodily processes (such as heartbeat, blood pressure, body temperature, etc.) that are normally considered to be non-voluntary (autonomic).
Swami Rama was one of the rare ones of the 20th century. Swami Rama served millions of people. Though installing no successor, he is succeeded by at least seven swamis, several pandits, and many other teachers.

Swami Rama sacrificed a life of simplicity and serenity in the Himalayas to come out into the hustle and bustle of our modern world for the benefit of others. This service was most visibly given through a handful of organizations or institutions that were either founded directly by Swami Rama, or were established by students at his instruction or encouragement. However, he taught and served wherever he went, as an emissary of the Himalayan masters, often independent of any particular worldly organization.

He also quietly gave direct guidance to the leaders of many spiritual organizations with which he was not publicly affiliated. Some of these spiritual leaders are extremely well known internationally, and their relationship with Swami Rama was not a public matter.

Swami Rama submitted himself as research subject to scientifically prove the validity of yogic techniques. The results of these experiments gave the researchers much insight into the nature of the involuntary systems of the body and how they might be regulated voluntarily by other people as well. This has been one of the major cornerstones of the mind-body movement of the past few decades.

Less visibly, the results of these demonstrations set off waves of change in the fields of medicine and psychology. Swami Rama was like a first domino, which quickly becomes unnoticed as strings of domino-like change occurred in the scientific, professional, and social cultures.

Even less visibly, he touched the lives of many, many people as a modern, wandering teacher of the tradition of the Himalayan masters. He has taught in the cities, towns, and villages of well over 100 countries. It is amazing how many people have spoken of how their lives were so positively affected after even a single meeting with Swami Rama, whether it was in his last year in the body or 10, 20, 30 or more years before.

Having been born in the Himalayas, having spent many years with his own and other masters in the ancient cave monasteries, having studied and taught medical and spiritual subjects in leading universities, having lived the householder life with wife and son, and having demonstrated yogic feats to modern scientists, Swami Rama was eminently qualified as a messenger of the Himalayan masters serving modern people.

Teaching, giving, smiling and laughing, along with a profound presence of certainty were the ways he worked. He was one whom people wanted to follow, though his insistence was that students learn and live self-reliance.

On the evening of November 13, 1996, Swami Rama was in his apartment on the campus of the Himalayan Institute Hospital near Dehra Dun and Rishikesh, India. Shortly after 11:00 pm, he consciously dropped the body, entering into Mahasamadhi.
He was the founder of the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy which has its headquarters in Honesdale, PA and branches in the USA, Europe and India. Swami Rama 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 north-eastern part of India (Dehradun) to serve millions of poor people in the nearby mountains. Until about 15 years ago the rural poor in this region did not have access to health, water, sanitation and education. Dedicated disciples of Swami Rama have contributed to make his dream of a region free of poverty come true. Stories of his leadership style and the way he got these goals achieved are documented in several books about Swami Rama. He demonstrated development impact that attracted attention from all over the world [2].
Swami Rama concept of 'wellness' and not 'medical repair' of the human being is gaining ground in many countries in USA and Europe.[citation needed] He demonstrated the impact of holistic health aprpoaches on the Dehradun campus. On the campus in Dehradun, Swami Rama also established a Medical University with his most senior disciple Swami Veda Bharati (holding a PhD from The Netherlands)[3] being the Chancellor, Vijay Dhasmana as the Vice-Chancellor, and one of his most development orientated disciples - Ms. B. Maithili (Director of the Rural Development Institute) - as the Registrar.
Swami Rama authored several books during his life, in which he describes the path he took toward becoming a yogi and lays out the philosophy and benefits behind practises 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 a yogi to use supernatural feats to demonstrate their enlightenment, arguing that these only demonstrated the ability to perform a feat.



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Pro Opinions

Sincere Teacher

archana.anchal's picture

Swami Rama has been bought up by his Master, and has bee among the most Sincere spiritual masters, who take full charge of their disciples....
Best Regard

Swamy's picture

Sincere Teacher

Sai Ram. Yes, I read his book, "Living with the Himalayan Masters" and loved it. I was seeing a website of one of his disciples just a couple of days back (Swami J).


P.S: I am not a sanyasi and Swamy is a part of my given name.

Swamy | Sun, 03/29/2009 - 16:20

Great Yogi

subhash's picture

I had the opportunity to meet Swami ji and i feell He was one of the greatest Yogi we had.