Know Yourself
Himalayan Institute
Swami Rama Links


Swami Rama did not install any individual person as his successor.

However, he did leave behind many students who are also teachers. Some of these teachers lead organizations, while others are entirely independent. Each serves humanity in his or her own way.

These teachers include at least seven swamis, several pandits, many professionals, such as doctors and psychologists, as well as numerous other teachers and trainers. Some are very well known in the worlds of yoga and meditation, or for the application of the teachings in their professional areas. Others work more invisibly, tirelessly serving those who come for classes or individual guidance. Still others are virtually unknown to the public eye or even to those involved with any of the public institutions founded by Swami Rama.

Unfortunately there has been vicious politics since Swami Rama left the body, as well as a great deal of conflict over the questions of who is successor, and who may teach. This politics has negatively impacted thousands of people.

  • As the clock moved closer to Swami Rama leaving the body, many were given direction for passing on the teachings, though a couple students have claimed sole successor ship.
  • Some students and their own devotees have worded promotional material in such a way that it appears they are the one given the job of successor, although none actually was.
  • People are led to believe that because one holds a certain position within any of several organizations, those individuals are "successor" of the lineage of the Himalayan masters, rather than being the one who came in succession of, or next after Swami Rama as the head of a particular organization. This has happened both in India and abroad.
  • There has also been a false claim that a particular location in India is the personal "seat" of Swami Rama and thus, of the tradition, and that the person in that physical location is therefore successor of the lineage.
  • One person claims that he was with Swami Rama "on his death bed" at the time he left his body, as if this story supported his claim of successorship. He was actually far away in a different city at the time.
  • While some describe themselves in promotional material as "successor," others elevate and set themselves apart from other students and teachers by using phrases such as "leading disciple" to describe themselves.
  • There is also competition for position in the minds of students on the basis of who met Swami Rama in an earlier year compared to others.
  • Some students claim that they are one of a chosen group of some 5-10 students authorized by Swami Rama to teach, and that no one else is included in, or may attain their level of authority, despite Swami Rama having given such authority.
  • A couple people are claiming personal authority to state that individuals directly instructed by Swami Rama to teach, are no longer authorized or qualified to teach.
  • An even cursory review of the teaching staffs of the various organizations will reveal the glaring omission of other names from the faculty rosters, with many of these being due to political cleansing processes.
  • Most sadly, some of the politics has been influenced by race, caste, religious, and nationality differences, matters which were non-existent for Swami Rama.

Ironically, Swami Rama wrote a letter of disaffiliation in 1993 to the board of directors of one organization, the Himalayan Institute of USA, after which he remained in his native India. His letter included the very clear statement "We will meet on the street as strangers." It was only after that disaffiliation letter that Swami Rama told the current head of the organization to stay and run the place, which is very different from being named spiritual successor of the lineage.

In the case of his ashram in Rishikesh, India, Swami Rama not only named no successor, but gave written instructions that after he left the body the property could be sold, with proceeds to go to the hospital near Dehra Dun, India. The trustees chose not to sell. Swami Rama's Ashram appears to have since become affiliated with the Meditation Center of Minnesota, USA, a group to which Swami Rama wrote their board of directors in 1990 that he irrevocably withdrew his support. Swami Rama's Ashram is not, in fact, affiliated with this organization, but remains independent. An additional ashram has also been constructed in Rishikesh, with attempts being made to create the appearance of affiliation with Swami Rama's Ashram. Once again, there is no actual affiliation.

In other cases over the years, Swami Rama quietly disaffiliated himself from other organizations, with little or no public knowledge, when the directions of those organizations changed.

To even consider a question of successor ship in the context of organizations, institutions, and their hierarchies is to speak with little awareness of the true nature of the tradition of the Himalayan masters.

Although Swami Rama named no individual person as his "successor", he is succeeded by many students who are also teachers, and thus, there are in a sense many successors.

While there has been much politics, these teachers collectively have a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge. If only they could work together, many people would be served.

[Top] Back ] Home ] Next ]