The life of Swami Rama is shrouded in controversy. There is even some debate as to his birth name and claims that the truth has been deliberately obscured, though the reasons for this are not fully explained. Sources do agree that he was born in 1925 in Utter Prasdesh to an aged Brahmin couple. It is also agreed that he was taken from his parents and adopted by guru Bengali Baba at a very early age, where he spent his childhood in the cave monasteries that litter the Himalayan Mountains. It is believed that while he was here he was living with monks, saints and sages who would influence him greatly. Reports state that he was ordained as Swami (monk) at fifteen years of age and appointed to a high position, a position that he relinquished in order to marry and have children, returning to the mountains some sixteen years later.
Rama in the USA
Swami Rama is recorded as entering the USA in 1969, seemingly riding the wave of interest in gurus and transcendental meditation promoted by the Beatles and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Rami did amass a small following after his arrival but his popularity really gained momentum after he agreed to be a research subject at an institute in Kansas. Here he demonstrated the control he had over his body, he showed how he could stop his heart and then restart it. He also demonstrated how he could lower and raise his body temperature at will and could also manipulate his brain waves. These discoveries and the publicity surrounding them lead to an upsurge in followers including those in the scientific community. It also led to him making appearances on daytime television across the United States on some of the most popular network shows.
Downfall of a Guru
Despite all of the good work that his popularity allowed him to do, the charitable organisations, hospitals and other good works became overshadowed by the controversy that was to come. In 1990 he received a bout of bad publicity that claimed financial improprieties and abusive sexual relationships with some of the women that had been his followers. In the years following he was sued in a sexual abuse case. The financial losses as a result of the case and his failing health forced him to return to his spiritual home in the Himalayas. He passed away as a result of lung cancer in 1996.
Swami Rama is widely regarded as being the man that brought the ancient wisdom of the great sages into the modern world and for making the different forms of yoga accessible to all and the benefits and spiritual rewards that come with the practice. He has left behind many writings in which he sets out his teachings for all to discover so that they too may find enlightenment and peace. He was at the forefront of mind body research, including research into telekinesis and the power of the mind to control things outside of the body. His teachings continue to be used around the world by those seeking a form of personal transformation.