The Himalayan Tradition comes to us from the Himalayan Mountains in India, which have been home to great sages for millennia. These great sages have lived and passed on knowledge of yogic techniques to disciples who then became masters passing on their teachings in an unbroken lineage since the Vedic period of 5000 years ago.
The great sage Shankaracharya established five centers of Himalayan tradition 1200 years ago in India.
The methods and philosophies of the Himalayan Tradition have withstood the test of time. Generation upon generation, have followed this path of pure meditation, and a huge reserve of knowledge has been built.
The purpose of the Himalayan Tradition is to awaken the divine flame within each human being, and the goal is for each student to become a master of the Tradition in coming to know his or her true Self.
It is the task of the teacher, through the Grace of the Guru, to selflessly help his/her disciples on the way of highest enlightenment. Passing on the knowledge is done experientially through the transmission of a pulsation of energy practices. Nadi-Shodhana, or purification of subtle energy channels, is chief among pranayama practice.
The student is encouraged to study the writings of the Tradition and read about experiences of the great masters of the past for himself or herself. The student is expected to look to the Tradition for support and make sense of what the teacher says.
The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation combines the wisdom of Patanjali's Yoga-Sutras (the most classical text of Yoga), the philosophy and practices of Tantras and the oral instructions and initiatory experiences of a long line of saints and yoga masters whose names may or may not be known. This tradition is a unified system in which all parts are integral and linked, rather than being merely an intellectual combining of these elements.
The principal tenets and practices of all known systems of meditation are contained in the Himalayan Tradition, and for the most part, have arisen out of Himalayan Tradition. For example, Vipassana emphasizes breath awareness, Transcendental Meditation concentrates on repetition of the mantra, and Hatha practitioners perfect the postures. The Himalayan meditator, however, learns to sit in correct posture, relax fully, practice correct breathing, and then combine breath-awareness with mantra. Swami Rama of the Himalayas has presented this tradition in its scientific format within his lectures and writings. He has initiated disciples to continue a degree of transmission.
Following are the major components of the Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation:
Purification of thoughts and emotions: In order to prevent internal disturbances from extraneous thoughts and sentiments during meditation, one is encouraged to practice purifications such as: The five Yamas (codes of conduct: Non-Violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, abstinence from sense-indulgence, and non-possessiveness), and the five Niyamas (moral practices: cleanliness in all aspects of one's life, contentment, practices that lead to perfection of mind, body, and senses, study that leads to the knowledge of the Self, and surrender to the Ultimate Reality). Other practices for purification of thoughts and emotions include brahma-viharas (or right attitudes), and prati-paksha-bhavana which are antidotes to disturbing thoughts. The emotional purification manifests itself in one's mental well-being, in the quality of one's daily contact with others as well as improved stillness in one's meditative postures.
Mindfulness: Himalayan Tradition teaches the method of asanas (postures) coupled with full awareness of the states of the body, breath, and mind in a detailed methodology. Central to the practice of asanas in this tradition is self-awareness, a deep self-observation in all states of body, breath, and especially the mind. This mindfulness is encouraged to become the way of life for students.
Breath Awareness: Starting with mindfulness, awareness of breath becomes specialized as the very first step in practice of meditation. Here it is essential to learn diaphragmatic breathing that is slow, smooth, without any jerks, and without a pause between breaths. Pranayama or breathing with awareness branches into many practices. Nadi-Shodhana, or purification of subtle energy channels, is chief among pranayama practice. Other practices include bhastrika, and kapalabhati.
Japa: Japa is recitation of one's mantra at one of many levels. The science of mantra is based on an understanding of sound vibrations which are primarily centered in the various stations of the kundalini and cannot be grasped without initiation. The ultimate purpose of japa is to go into supreme silence. A preceptor trained in the Himalayan Tradition leads the students into further and further refinements through nine major stages of mantra practice as taught in the Tantric systems.
Shavasana: The shavasana (corpse posture) practices serve as ways of entering one's own subtle body. The interior exercises are detailed and go far beyond mere relaxations in complexity. They may be practiced at the levels of annamaya kosha (physical body), pranamaya kosha (energy body), or manomaya kosha (mental body) in a logical progression. The last shavasana mentioned leads to yoga-nidra (yogic sleep) at several different levels.
Dharana: Concentrations and pra-vrttis or resultant experiences are practiced on the path of realization. The preceptor teaches various methods of concentrations such as, (a) on various focal points within the physical body, (b) at chakra (energy) points, and (c) in the tattvas (subtle elements).
Dhyana: Meditation proper is the chief practice in Himalayan Tradition. Components that lead one into practice of meditation begins at the level of manomaya kosha, and can be entered in many ways, including japa, breath awareness, concentrations and initiation
Transmission: From time immemorial, the Tradition has been passed on experientially in an unbroken chain of master-disciple relationships. A meditation guide in this tradition is required to be able to create a common mind-field when leading a class or a group in meditation. The guide must be able to induce a meditative state by his/her mere presence and voice. A guide may only do so to the degree to which s/he is qualified and authorized.
May the reader receive the Grace of the Himalayan lineage and aspire one day to become a vehicle for such transmission
"Do your duties skillfully, selflessly, and grease them with love"
This was a favorite saying of this great yogi, scientist, philosopher, mystic poet and humanitarian, Swami Rama of the himalaya. This was not only a saying. His whole life reflected this philosophy in his work to help others.
He created a legacy of lifelong engagement to combine the ancient teachings of the East with the modern approaches of the West and through his contributions to improve the lives of millions of people in India, America and Europe.
Swami Rama was born in a Himalayan valley of Uttar Pradesh, India in 1925 and was initiated and anointed in early childhood by a great sage of the Himalayas. He studied with many adepts, and then traveled to Tibet to study with his grandmaster.
From 1949 to 1952 he held the position, prestige and dignity of Shankaracharya (spiritual leader) in Karvirpitham in the South of India. He then returned to the Himalayas to intensify his meditative practices in the cave monasteries and to establish an ashram in Rishikesh.
Later he continued his investigation of Western psychology and philosophy at several European universities, and he taught in Japan before coming to the United States in 1969.
The following year he served as a consultant to the Voluntary Controls Project of the Research Department of the Menninger Foundation. There he demonstrated, under laboratory conditions, precise control over his autonomic nervous system and brain. The findings of that research increased the scientific community's understanding of the human ability to control autonomic functioning and to attain previously unrecognized levels of consciousness.
Shortly thereafter, Swami Rama founded the Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy in the United States, with its headquarters in Honesdale, Pennsylvania as a means to combine the ancient wisdom of the East with the modern approaches of the Western civilization.
He played a major role in bringing the insights of yoga psychology and philosophy to the attention of the physicians and psychologists of the West. He taught students around the world while continuing his own writing and meditative practices. He has written many books, such as Art of Joyful Living, Book of Wisdom, A Call to Humanity, Enlightenment Without God, Living with the Himalayan Masters, Path of Fire and Light, Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita, Science of Breath, and The Wisdom of Ancient Sages. Among his latest literary works was a masterful, two-volume work The Valmiki Ramayana Retold in Verse.
Swami Rama's most remarkable and awe-inspiring project is The Himalayan Institute & Medical City. His bold vision to bring medical services to 15 million mostly poor people who have little or no health care in northern India began modestly in 1989 with an outpatient program in the Himalayan foothills of Western Uttar Pradesh. Today that vision has grown to include a fully operational 500-bed state-of-the-art hospital 20 kilometers from the city of Dehra Dun; an adjacent nursing school and the P.V. Narasimha Rao Medical College; a combined therapy program that joins the best of modern Western medicine and the time-tested wisdom of the traditional methods of healthcare; a rural development program that has adopted more than 150 villages; and housing facilities for staff, students, and patients' relatives. The hospital offers a range of services never available to people in rural northern India, or throughout most of the rural country.
Guided by the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, the hospital, medical city, and rural development program are considered models of healthcare for the whole of India and for medically under-served people world-wide. It is also costly, with total project expense approaching $1 billion dollars."The Lord of Life in the Universe is within me. I am not the body, but a shrine of that Lord, the Lord of Love and Life. Through my thoughts, speech and actions, I will emanate love". So spoke to us our beloved teacher, master and friend: Sri Swami Rama of the Himalayas.
Swami Veda Bharati (formerly Dr. Usharbudh Arya)
has spent the past 60 years teaching and providing spiritual guidance around the world. He was raised in the 5000-year-old tradition of Sanskrit-speaking scholar-philosophers of India, and has been imparting Vedic wisdom from the age of nine. Author of the most comprehensive commentary on Patanjali's Yoga-sutras and many other books, Swami Veda is a poet, scholar, and international speaker par excellence.
He attained the highest academic degrees, B.A. (Honors) (London), M.A. (London), Dr. Litt. (Holland) between 1965 and 1967. From 1967-1973 he taught as Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions at the University of Minnesota where he received the Distinguished Teacher Award.
In 1969, he met his Spiritual Master, Swami Rama, and was initiated into one of the highest paths of Dhyana (Meditative) Yoga
Since that time he has established or guided many yoga centers throughout the world including Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Africa, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, China, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore and many Centers in the USA (New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and California).
Before leaving his body in 1996, Swami Rama told Swami Veda to direct his Ashram in Rishikesh, and also to be the Spiritual Guide of his 200-acre medical city, the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, Jolly Grant, Dehradun, India.
In addition to his scholarly and spiritual work, he established in 1983 KHEL (Kindness, Health and Education for Lepers; Kids' Health, Education and Laughter) where four hundred children of lepers and other indigent population receive nutrition, medical care and education.
In March of 1999, the Swamis of India conferred on him the title of Mahamandaleshvara, placing him among the thirty or so most prestigious swamis in all of India.
Having cultivated an authoritative knowledge of the religious writings and meditative practices of the world, and being versed in 19 languages with varying degrees of fluency, Swami Veda is able to teach meditation to people of different faiths - Buddhist, Christian, Hebrew, Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs etc. - from within their own rich scriptural and meditative traditions.
On August 27-29, 2000 Swami Veda participated at the MILLENNIUM WORLD PEACE SUMMIT at the United Nations where more than 100 world spiritual leaders created a "Declaration for World Peace."
Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG)
When not traveling to his many teaching seats in various countries, he taught, guides, writes, and completed research work in Rishikesh, India at his ashram Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG).
SRSG offers a variety of training programs including teacher training and in-residence advance study programs in Yoga Philosophy and Spirituality.
To visit the SRSG website please click on the link SRSG Homepage.
Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral
was born near Dehradun, India, in a family of Sanskrit scholars.
He holds a Ph.D. in yoga philosophy and Sanskrit from the University of Varanasi, India.
A disciple of H.H. Swami Rama of the Himalayas, he has been trained by Dr. Swami Veda Bharati for the past sixteen years and works closely with him in teaching meditation and yoga philosophy in Asia, Europe and North America.
H.H. Swami Rama sent Pandit Dabral to the US in 1992. In 1994, Swamiji appointed Pandit Dabral as spiritual director of his Himalayan Institute in Chicago where he served for four years. Trained and authorized by Swami Rama to give initiations, Dr. Dabral has initiated many hundreds of people.
An inspiring speaker, he guides students in meditation in various centers in North America. Pandit Dabral is a senior teacher and coordinator of the International Himalayan Yoga Teachers Association and their teacher training program.
He travels internationally to initiate and teach.
Panditji is an experienced teacher in the Himalayan Tradition who is capable of bringing the authentic teachings of the yoga masters to all types of students. People of all ages enjoy his accessibility and humor. His knowledge of Sanskrit and the yoga scriptures is vast and comprehensive yet he is able to explain complex ideas in ways that are easy to understand and apply to daily life. He brings the experiences and knowledge of the Himalayan sages to life.