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The Himalayan Tradition

The Ancient Himalayan Tradition of Raja Yoga

The Tradition

The history of humanity is not the history of tool making or of social organization. It is the history of mind’s unfoldment. The Himalayan Tradition believes that even if one weaves no clothing nor owns a stone to crush wild nuts, one may be a saint, a sage, a philosopher, a wise (wo)man. And what use that we land a man on Mars but have conquered not the god of war who dwells within the mind, nor can curb our anger, nor can slow down our breath, nor can lower our blood pressure without the aid of an agency external to us? The Himalayan Tradition advocates complete self-sufficiency of a human being without dependence on any object external to his spirit and mind.

For this the Tradition teaches specific methods of training the human mind. It awakens the energy called Consciousness and instructs its disciplines into the meaning of “Thou art That” – till one’s very being knows, “I, indeed, am That”. The methods taught are scientific, systematic and entirely internal. And then comes the mystery of initiation, the direct conferring of the energy of Consciousness into the disciple till the disciple becomes a Master in his own right.

When Swami Rama demonstrated in a laboratory condition that he could alter the count of living or dead cells at will as the scientists drew his blood, he was asked, “Swami, how do you do that ?” And he answered, “They are my blood cells; are they not ?” The power, not a process, called Consciousness is realized within as the ultimate in yoga as it has been taught by the Masters of the Himalayan Tradition, in an unbroken lineage for countless millennia. The UpanishadsBhagavad Gita, and countless other scriptures are simply revelations of the truths thus experienced. The teachers of the Tradition have taught in all known civilizations of the world and have left their mark in the writings and records everywhere.

One trained in the Himalayan Yoga Meditation Tradition knows all the paths of meditation as they diverge from it and converge into the same as their origin. The teachers of the Tradition live for others only : that the suffering of many may be alleviated. They wander, as the Buddha said to his first batch of his disciples, “Wander, ye monks, for the benefit of the many, for the comfort of the many”. An Ashram of this Traditions beckons you to come and receive compassionate love in a world that causes much suffering. That love is Meditation, and its highest form is enlightenment.

If you would like to partake in the nectar of the Tradition the first step is to begin learning and practicing meditation. This website lists yoga retreats, classes and workshops where you may learn meditation, hatha yoga as meditation, and much more. You also might want to check the Teacher’s Blog area for articles on various aspects of yoga.


Our Center

The Meditation Center offers training in Raja Yoga, an integrated, scientific, experiential approach to improving a person’s ability to skillfully use mind and body in everyday life. It was first codified by the great Indian scholar and sage Patanjali in his famous work, The Yoga Sutras.

The Meditation Center serves as a resource of the Himalayan Tradition, which was established in the West by H.H. Sri Swami Rama of the Himalayas. The ancient methods taught in this tradition underlie the variety of meditation systems found in all faiths. Raja Yoga not only includes the physical postures and stretches that people often refer to as yoga, but also includes efficient breathing, control of the senses, enhanced concentration, the cultivation of personally healthy habits, training in social relationships, and higher stages of meditation.

Raja Yoga is particularly well suited to this culture since Americans like to experiment with techniques that increase their effectiveness and productivity. Raja Yoga encourages students to engage in personal experimentation, guided by skilled teachers, to improve insight and capacity through practical techniques that have proven worthwhile to thousands of students over the centuries.

The Meditation Center offers a range of courses on Raja Yoga. Students are taught in small groups by experienced instructors and are given personal, one-to-one attention. Teachers foster a sense of camaraderie in the classes so that students can help each other learn and grow.

As students progress, they improve their capability to be peaceful and productive individuals. If students choose to continue their studies, they can receive training to become yoga teachers and effective leaders of an emerging international community of compassionate citizens seeking social harmony and ecological balance.


Swami Rama, the founder of the Sadhana Mandir Ashram was born in the Himalayas and raised by his spiritual Master in the legendary caves of the yogis where countless generations of yogis have been trained and initiated into the deepest mysteries of the sacred science of yoga. A monk in the Shankaracharya Order, he held the highest position as a Shankaracharya, which he then renounced to continue to serve the Himalayan Tradition.

All sciences are open to a yogi. He was a scientist who offered himself for scientific experiments to be conducted on a yogi; philosopher who wrote forty five books; a poet who translated an epic in three months; an architect, sculptor, painter. The most well known names in the classical music of India gathered around him to accompany him in his music sessions. Dog trainer; horse trainer; it was a delight to watch him at tennis. Enlightened guide to disciples. Master of the Art of Life.

Uncountable thousands around the world came to him asking for gifts tangible and intangible. When he gave with the right hand, his left hand did not know. One meets people in all walks of life, in highest professions, who tell us how he blessed, guided, created their success in life. He would sit for hours in the company of a one-buffalo farmer while princes waited outside his chamber. When he granted funds for establishing the library of a University in the Garhwal Himalayas, he did it on the condition that his name would not be given any public association with it. As he prepared to leave his body, he left strict instructions to build no memorials, establish no shrines nor a museum, and do nothing else to commemorate his name. His memorial is in the hearts of his disciples who miss the love they received in abandon.

A philanthropist who created a Medical City in four years where there were only farmers’ fields, and gave subtle hints on surgery to surgeons. A superb administrator who taught leaders how to lead and managers how to manage. Equally at home in the East and the West, he was a both a scientist and an accomplished mystic, a siddha. Above all, he was a direct descendant of the lineage of yogis, going back thousands of years, who are the founders and keepers of yoga, the source of all paths of meditation, and who confer the direct experience as initiation into the mystery of Consciousness.

Swami Rama has left many disciples behind, none anywhere near his stature and calibre, to carry on the various assignments of his work. What we all most remember about him is the magnetic, charismatic power of love, such that as he walked one felt pulled to simply walk behind him. The full impact of his spiritual legacy will be realized perhaps in a century.

Coming to his Ashram even for the first time one experiences the special energy, inspiration and the pull to a mental silence.

02 Swami Veda Bharati, Founder of The Meditation Center

Swami Veda Bharati was the founder and Spiritual Guide of both the world-wide organization, Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International (AHYMSIN) and the Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama in Rishikesh, India. He was also the Spiritual Guide of Sadhana Mandir Ashram, his master’s ashram in Rishikesh and of the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust near Dehradun, India. He was born into a Sanskrit speaking family and raised in the centuries old Sanskrit tradition. From the age of nine he has captivated audiences with the depth of his knowledge and intuition in the Vedas and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. All of his knowledge has come intuitively through which he has attained the highest academic degrees; BA (Honours) (London), MA (London), D. Lit. (Holland), and is the author of many books.

He was initiated into one of the highest paths of meditation and yoga by his master, the celebrated yogi Swami Rama of the Himalayas.

His immense experience and scholarship enable him to lecture on a wide variety of topics. He is able to conduct meditation in seventeen languages. His ability to guide his audiences to calm states and meditative stillness is well known to his students in the various centers he has established all over the world.

Swami Veda Bharati combines the best of the ancient and the modern. He is an inspired and loving teacher, a prolific author, poet and an international lecturer.

With his unique personality he radiated peace, divine love and joy wherever he was. He was honored by the Swamis of India who conferred on him the title of Mahamandaleswara, placing him among the top 30 or so Swamis of India. The only title above Mahamandaleshwara is that of Shankaracharya, a title that was bestowed on his master the Honorable Shri Swami Rama of the Himalayas.

03 Swami Ritavan Bharati, Spiritual Director

Swami Ritavan Bharati is the Spiritual Director of both the world-wide organization, Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International (AHYMSIN) and the Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama in Rishikesh, India. He is also the Spiritual Director of The Meditation Center.

Swami Ritavan says,
“Swami Rama’s life is a reminder for each of us, “…have a burning desire to know, to seek, to experience – the source of life, the meaning of life.” And, throughout Swami Veda’s life, we all have witnessed such a Life-journey take many forms, in many places. In my journey, I was fortunate and blessed to find these two par-excellence life-guides, and return to the relationship of guru-disciple from the previous life. To return to the path of sadhana, spiritual disciplines to know samadhi, to aspire for moksha; and in that freedom as paramahamsa, to live with elegance and love, just as these luminaries of wisdom.

Such journeys cannot be reduced to words; for each is a lived story of loss and gain, weaving a tapestry called “life.” Each stage of dharma, each of the purusharthas (4 ashramas) unfolded with all the attachments and pains, gains and sufferings, all the spectrum of desires – filled and unfulfilled. Yet, a common thread, a riverbed of purpose, recalled in ageless teachings: “This life is one of sadhana with abhyasa (practice), and vairagya (nirvana).”

From that awakening as a re-birth at the age of 20-years: that baptism of light, that solar-flare of initiation, the following decades unfolded as Guru-seva:
The first decade as a brahmacharya: reading, studying, listening, and learning to serve. Much of this decade was spent as an ashramite at The Meditation Center under Dr. Arya’s direct tutorage, as well as frequent trips to Chicago to be with Swami Rama.

The second decade as a grihasta: After our Vedic Wedding by Dr. Arya, we assisted at The Meditation Center, and then departed for Honesdale – the Himalayan Institute. Along with completing the Eastern Studies Program, we worked and participated actively in the ashram community, where our three children, among the other faculty’s children, were known as “Baba’s Kids”.

The third decade as vanaprastha: Returning to Minneapolis to teach and manage The Meditation Center; the children departed for college, and my travels to the two ashrams in India became more frequent.

The forth decade as sanyasin: Returning to the monk’s life at The Meditation Center, devoted fully to teaching and serving the Lineage by guiding students around the globe and spending more time at SRSG in Rishikesh.

And, now the fifth and onward decades of service – seva, the ultimate love of life in the Oneness with All Life, as we all have experienced through our two illustrious models: Gurudev-Swami Rama, and our saintly Beloved-Swami Veda.

As many tears poured forth as did mantras from this dharma-megha, this cloud of yearning. Knowing intimately only these two luminaries of the Tradition, nothing more was needed. They reminded me again and again, becoming a billionaire in this life was easy, just remember God’s name in each of the millions of moments, God’s bank-vault continually opened as a single stream of bountiful awareness. Mantra(s) have been my constant companion. And, now upon entering Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama we are all reminded of those blessed words from Gurudeva to contemplate: “Serve, Love, Remember.”

May the entire global AHYMSIN community remember a favored mantra from our Beloved Swamiji:

Saumya-pleasant minded, so that “Every Person may feel Loved.”

“saumya, saumya-tarashesha
saumya-bhyas tvate sundaree
para-paranam parama
tvameva parameshvare”