Interview with Swami Rama

Father Ron Lenguin, May 6, 1979

RL: Could you tell us something about God from your perspective?

SR: Yes. According to me God is Truth, and Truth means that which is the same in all three times: in the past, present, and future; that which exists of its own, that which was never born, will never die. So, according to me ultimate Truth is called God.

RL: Is it possible for man to come into contact with this Truth, with this God?

SR: Yes, because man is fully equipped with all the potentials, he has all the resources to attain, and to achieve and to be in touch with that which is called godly part in man, because God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. So God is within human being too. How to attain that kingdom of God? Man is fully capable of doing this provided he knows how to attain that which is called kingdom of God within us. And as Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God," this sentence moved me so much then I started going within myself systematically, understanding my body, and understanding my breath, understanding various functions of my mind, and then understanding the superconscious state or Christ consciousness or what we call universal consciousness, and then I found out that any man who makes sincere effort can attain a state of freedom from all pains and miseries.

RL: You use the term, ‘great bibles.’ What do you mean by ‘bibles’?

SR: Such as, Buddhism has their bible, Light of Asia. Hindus have bible, Bhagavad Gita. Muslims have their bible, Koran. And Christian bible is called Bible, the main religious book, rather to say. So fundamentally all great truths are found in all great bibles. Actually, the difference lies in nonessentials, not in essentials. Every great religion has two parts: one is called essentials, and another nonessentials. The difference lies in nonessentials and not in essentials, not at all in fundamental truths. According to my research and study, I found out that there is no difference at all.

RL: Swami Rama, if I were to ask you, is there life after death, how would you guide me?

SR: I would just first, make my student aware that there are two parts of the self. One is called mere self, another is called real Self. For mere self we can say not self, and (other) real Self. These are two units. This I can describe. Body and mind are related with that something which is called life breath. There are two forces: inhalation and exhalation. These two forces are like two guards constantly guarding the city of life. And as long as they are functioning, we call it living condition. But when they stop functioning, body, senses, breath and conscious mind, this particular unit which is called mortal part of life separates from another part of life which is called immortal, unconscious mind and individual soul. These two separate. So according to me, first I will make my student aware of that something which is called death. What death means? Death means separation and not complete annihilation. So first I will make him aware that complete annihilation is not possible. Liberation is possible, but not complete annihilation. Soul never dies. Once we understand this truth, then we also try to study this particular fact, that what happened to that soul after death, what we call death. According to my study and experience I can say that our unconscious mind is a storehouse of merits and demerits. And when we leave our body here, cast off our bodies, our unconscious mind goes as a vehicle with us, and again we assume another form that is called body. This goes on until we attain that which is called enlightenment, perfection, or samadhi. So, if an individual soul comes and goes it’s just like changing a book cover, changing a pillow cover, changing a garment.

RL: What are the kinds of obstacles that we place in our way?

SR: What we call knowledge, what we call ignorance. According to me, ignorance is like darkness. But darkness has no existence of its own. It’s lack of light. Now, if I go and ask sun, sun that shines every day, and say, ‘Sun, have you ever seen darkness?’ Sun will say never. I cannot convince sun what darkness means. So I can see darkness has no existence of its own. Similarly, ignorance means lack of knowledge. It cannot have existence of its own. The human being, for lack of knowledge creates obstacles for himself, darkness for himself, and thus creates his own hellish atmosphere for himself. When he gets knowledge of the reality, tries to understand what reality and truth is, then he can get freedom from that condition or situation which is called ignorance. He can dispel that darkness of ignorance. That is possible.

We create obstacles for ourselves. The tendency of our senses is to dissipate mind because mind is in habit of identifying itself with the objects of the world forgetting our own true nature. We always identify ourselves with the objects of the world. This is one of the greatest obstacles we find in our daily life. We become too materialistic; we just understand only the objects of the sense pleasures. We are not aware of that which is called good, which is called reality, which is called truth. But once we become aware of this and become constantly aware of the fact that which is called Truth, which is not subject to change, death and decay, then freedom is there. It’s possible for us to attain that freedom here and now.

RL: You say that it is foolish to believe that God punishes or rewards us.

SR: He only judges. It (punishment) comes through action. As we sow, so we reap our own actions. And not only actions, but the fruits therein we receive, motivate us to do more actions. And we create a great whirlpool of actions and we do not know how to come out of that. A human being cannot live without performing the action, and certain actions we accept as duties, and when we start performing our duties, those duties make us slave, so we cannot come out of this whirlpool, and there is only one answer for freedom. And that is, if we learn to love our duties, then we can get freedom by doing our duties selflessly and skillfully, lovingly, we can get freedom, there is no other way. No one punishes us but our own actions and the way we receive the fruits of actions and again those fruits motivate us to do more actions.

Swami Rama of the Himalayas

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