Himalayan Yoga Teachers
Our Lineage
Swami Rama

Swami Rama
of the Himalayas
From his early childhood Swami Rama practiced the various disciplines of yoga science and philosophy in the traditional monasteries of the Himalayas. From 1938 to 1944 Swami Rama taught Hindu and Buddhist scriptures in several monasteries. Throughout his childhood and adolescence Swami Rama lived and traveled with the saints, yogis, and fakirs of Garhwal, Kumaon, the Kangra Valley, Kashmir, Ladakh, and Tibet, with retreats in other parts of India. Swami Rama studied closely with many spiritual adepts, including Gandhi, Maharshi Ramana, Sri Aurobindo, Anandamoyee Ma, and Rabindranath Tagore
At the young age of 24 years Swami Rama became Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham in South India, succeeding Dr. Kurtkoti to one of the highest spiritual positions in India. He renounced the dignity and prestige of this high office in 1952 to return to the Himalayas to intensify his meditative practices in the monasteries.

Swami Rama was a fully enlightened Master in the ancient Himalayan Lineage of yogis, who, in their high initiations, confer direct experience into the mystery of consciousness.

The yogis of our Lineage are the founders and the keepers of Shri-Vidya, the science from which radiate all paths of yoga and meditation.

Swami Rama's deep love for the Himalayan Yoga Tradition was reflected in his life and his work. He contributed materially and spiritually to the lives of millions of people all over the world. In 1970, Swami Rama offered himself for experiments at the Menninger Foundation where modern science was used to confirm the ancient wisdom that a yogi can have amazing control of the autonomic nervous system.

Swami Rama made significant contributions to science, philosophy and literature, including an inspiring account of his experiences with the great teachers who guided his spiritual development. Having reached the heights of spiritual enlightenment, he also strived with seeming endless energy to attain perfection in his actions in the external world. His life embodied the human potential to live in the world, yet remain above. His teachings and inspiration are the foundation of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition's Teacher Training Program.

As Swami Rama prepared to leave his body in 1996, he left strict instructions to build no memorials, establish no shrines, and do nothing else to commemorate his name. His memorial today is in the hearts of his disciples and students who carry on his work. What is most remembered about him is his great love for all and the magnetic power of his spirit, such that as he walked, one felt pulled to follow behind him. The full impact of his spiritual legacy will be realized perhaps in a century.


Swami Veda Bharati
(Mahamandaleshwara) Swami Veda Bharati
Disciple of Swami Rama of the Himalayas
Founder of the Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International (AHYMSIN) and Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG)
24 March 1933 – 14 July 2015


No biography of this sort could possibly convey the deep love and gratitude that thousands of people carry in their hearts for Swami Veda Bharati.

Usharbudh Arya (who later became Swami Veda Bharati) was born in Dehradun, India, in 1933, and spent most of this life 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 from the age of five, guided by his father, he sat for an hour of meditation daily. By the age of six and a half, all four thousand sutras of Panini's Sanskrit grammar were memorized. By the age of nine, his study of Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the six systems of Indian philosophy, the Yoga-sutras of Patanjali, along with Pali (the language in which the Buddha taught) was completed and he began formally teaching.

He formally taught his first course in the Yoga-sutras at the age of nine and, over 50 years later after a lifetime of study and contemplation, authored a comprehensive commentary on the first two chapters of the Yoga-sutras with his Yoga-sutras of Patanjali with the Exposition of Vyasa, Volume I: Samadhi Pada (1986) and Vol. II: Sadhana Pada (2001).

At 14, he was given a crowded reception by the learned Pandits of Haridwar, and successfully debated with the Pandits of Varanasi. At 16, he was a member of an All-India Scholars Council. He started publishing his writings at age 16, and at 17, was the leader of an all-India youth organization.

In 1947, he began his travels to teach in many countries around the world.

From 1947-1952, he toured North India, lecturing in colleges and to crowds of up to 20,000 in many cities. It was his custom for the presiding official to open the Vedas to any page and point his finger to a passage. Swami Veda would then expound on that passage for hours.

From 1952-1953, he toured Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania at the invitation of the Indian communities, and wrote a history of the Indian migration to East Africa.

From 1953-1956, he stayed in England and developed the Hindu Association of Europe and, under the auspices of the London Vegetarian Society and the World Congress of Faiths, lectured widely on India philosophy and culture.

From 1956-1962, he was in Guyana, Surinam and Trinidad, establishing ashrams, bringing education to remote villages and training cultural leaders in Vedic wisdom. In 1961 he and Lalita Arya were married and were subsequently blessed with three daughters, Sushumna, Stomya, Saumya, and one son, Angiris.

From 1962-1965, he returned to England, where he lectured extensively and helped develop the Hindu Center.

From 1965-1967, despite having no formal schooling, Swami Veda attained the high academic degrees: B.A. Honors (London), M.A. (London) and Dr. Litt. (Holland).

From 1967-1973, after coming to the USA and settling down in Minneapolis with his family, he taught Sanskrit and Indian Religions at the University of Minnesota, where he received the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1972. In that same time period, he made lecture tours to Fiji, Mauritius, East Africa and South India.

On Divali, 1969, in Minneapolis, he met his spiritual master, Swami Rama of the Himalayas, who initiated him into Surya-vijnana-diksha, one of the highest paths of meditative yoga – seldom given outside the Himalayan caves and rarely given to householders.

Swamiji chose to pursue the mission the Guru had given him: "Reducing the pain on earth through the power of meditation."

In 1970, he founded The Meditation Center in Minneapolis, where over 5000 people have received mantras in the Himalayan Yoga Meditation Tradition.

At some time, he began traveling twice around the globe each year to teach in numerous countries. In all parts of the world, spiritual seekers who came to him were not satisfied with only attending his lectures on yoga and meditation; they would invite him to come back the following year and in the meantime they would form meditation and study groups under his guidance. Over the years, he established many centers and taught sadhakas in many countries, including the United States and Canada, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Benin, Russia, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago, Ecuador, Guyana, and Curacao.

In 1981, he was appointed as the head of the Sadhana Mandir, his guru’s seat in Rishikesh at the banks of the Ganges, and before leaving his body in 1996, Swami Rama asked Swami Veda to be the Spiritual Guide of his 200-acre medical city, the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT) , in Jolly Grant near Dehradun, India. HIHT provides medical care for thousands of the poor people of Uttarakhand.

In 1983, he and his wife, Lalita Arya, established KHEL (Kindness, Health and Education, Laughter). KHEL’s mission is to provide children with equal opportunity education regardless of ethnicity, caste, religion, gender or sexual orientation and to support those with leprosy.

With all of the above undertakings, he also maintained a life of giving charitable assistance to the needy in various ways.

On December 4th, 1992, he took the Sanyasa Vows of a renunciate monk and was given the name Swami Veda Bharati, and in 1999, he was consecrated to the position of Maha-mandaleshvara in the Niranjani Akhara.

“He is a citizen of all earth, everyone's closest relative to whom anyone may confide anything. He is the kind shower when someone is suffering a drought of love,” Swami Veda Bharati wrote when describing a true sanyasi, and these words describe what he became.

In 1999, he was an invited speaker at the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions in Cape Town, South Africa.

In August of 2000, Swami Veda participated at the Millennium World Peace Summit at the World Council of Religious Leaders at the United Nations where the "Declaration for World Peace" was created. The ideas that he presented in that conference, gave rise to his recent book, What is Right with the World: The Human Urge for Peace (2010).

In January of 2001, Swami Veda and the Dalai Lama collaborated to bring the Hindu and Buddhist communities together at the Kumbha Mela, the largest gathering of people ever seen on the planet in which over 70 million people gathered at the Ganges in Allahabad.

Swami Veda participated in numerous interfaith dialogues, activities, and conferences throughout his public speaking and teaching career and has found the experience of meditation to be the common ground among all religions. Prepared on the occasion of the 2000 World Peace Summit of Leaders in Religion and Spirituality at the United Nations, his short work, "Unifying Streams in Religions," provides a fresh perspective for bringing the different faiths closer together.

In 2001, Swami Veda was the keynote speaker at the International Conference on Yoga and African Tradition in Burkina Faso. From that conference came the book Wanam: Africa & India: A Spiritual Dialogue (2009).

In 2002, he founded Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) in Rishikesh, India.

In 2003 Swami Veda proposed a resolution, "Religion for Preventing Terrorism", to be adopted by the World Council of Religious Leaders as a recommendation to the Secretary General of the United Nations.

In 2004, he was a delegate to the World Council of Religious Leaders in Israel-Palestine, where he submitted a proposal for UNESCO titled "Education and Parenting for World Peace.” In the same year he was invited to the conference in Barcelona, Spain.

In 2005, Swami Veda oversaw the ecological conference “Diving into Harmony” in Beijing, and toured the ancient Silk Road in China, where he was welcomed as a holy man and scholar by the curators of museums in Zhengzhou, Xian and Dunhuang, because of his capability to decipher and accurately interpret the ancient Buddhist texts, paintings and sculptures which they had in their care.

The entire month of February 2007 was devoted by his students and disciples worldwide to celebrate his 60 years of teaching and lecturing throughout the world. Delegates from all continents gathered at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, Rishikesh, to felicitate him in a series of conferences and cultural-philosophical events. At this time the Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International (AHYMSIN) was also formed with headquarters at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) and with centers around the globe.

Following in the footsteps of Swami Rama, Swami Veda maintained a keen interest in the scientific, medical and therapeutic studies of yoga, meditation and the neurophysiology of meditative states. He demonstrated his capability to change his brain wave patterns in various meditation states, as well as to influence external matter. For example, through his concentration, he made a machine that was programmed to produce random number, produce coherent numbers. Such experiments have taken place in laboratories at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (founded by the astronaut Edgar Mitchell) in California and at Bremen University in Germany. In one experiment at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, using concentration, he deflected photon beams in an interferometer (placed in a soundproof Faraday Chamber with a one foot thick steel wall between the machine and the experimenters), statistically the chance of this occurring was a million to one. See the publication Yogi in the Lab. Swami Veda also directed a laboratory at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) in Rishikesh, India, to study beneficial changes in brain wave patterns during various states of yoga meditation practices.

A poet, a scholar, and a prolific writer with more than 13 books and 30 booklets to his credit, he was also an inspired international speaker who has been interviewed by such broadcasting systems as CNN and the BBC. He also produced approximately 4000 hours of audio recordings on all aspects of spiritual life and philosophy.

His deep personal experience within the tradition of the Himalayan Tradition made him an expert in the practice of meditation. Swami Veda was a recognized master of the Vedas and the Upanishads and cultivated an authoritative knowledge of the religious writings and meditative practices of the world. He knew seventeen languages with different degrees of fluency. His ability to learn languages quickly was demonstrated in Italy, for example, when he learned Italian in one night by using yoga-nidra practice. These things helped enable him to instruct, and to confer mantras to people of different philosophical and religious faiths: Buddhist, Christian, Hebrew, Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs etc. from within their own scriptural and meditative traditions.

He served as Chancellor of HIHT University (now Swami Rama Himalayan University) in Dehradun, India.

On March 10th, 2013, after a lifetime of service to humanity and dedication to the perennial wisdom of the ancient sages, there was a special gathering at Swami Rama’s Sadhaka Grama and Swami Veda took the vow of silence for five years or more years. On the previous day, Swamiji had given a practice for “your next five years and for the rest of your life” and gifted people with the book Sadhana in Applied Spirituality.

He continued to nurture students through his silence.

Swami Veda Bharati took Mahasamadhi at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) in Rishikesh, India, on 14th July 2015. By the end of the day, the news had spread to reach initiates and disciples, students and devotees around the world.

“On this auspicious day of 14th July 2015, our beloved Swami Veda Bharati passed from his body... Please keep his intention in your mind – ‘Let every person feel loved,’" Swami Ritavan Bharati, who was named Ashrama Pramukha by Swami Veda, wrote.

Swami Veda continues to inspire and guide sadhakas around the globe.

Every year a Mahasamadhi Anniversary Retreat is held at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) in honor of him.

Some writings by Swami Veda Bharati can be read online at: http://ahymsin.org/main/swami-veda-bharati/

This is a partial list of the books by Swami Veda (some were published with his pre-sanyasa name Usharbudh Arya) and does not include the booklets, the e-books, and the many audios.

108 Blossoms from Guru Granth Garden
Blessings
Education and Parenting for Peace
Death, Your Servant: Mahabharata´s Bhishma, Examples from a World Classic
God
The Human Urge for Peace: What Is Right with the World
Introducing Mahabharata Bhishma
Kundalini: Stirred or Stilled?
Learn to Meditate: First Steps Toward Peace
The Light of Ten Thousand Suns
Mantras: The Sacred Chants
Mantra & Meditation
Meditation: The Art and Science
Meditation and the Art of Dying
Night Birds
The Perfumes from the Valley of Flowers
Philosophy of Hatha Yoga
Sadhana in Applied Spirituality
Sayings: Saying Nothing Says it All
The Song of Silence: Subtleties in Sadhana
Song of the Lord: Gītā in Yoga-vāsiṣṭha : with the Commentary Tātparya-prakāśa of Ananda-bodhendra Saraswati
Subtler Than the Subtle: Upanishad of the White Horse
Superconscious Meditation
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Vol I
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Vol II
Yogi in the Lab
Wanam: Africa and India, A Spiritual Dialogue
What Is Right with the World
Words Curved

Swami Ritavan Bharati lives a life dedicated to serving H.H. Swami Rama of the Himalayas and Swami Veda Bharati for the past forty-six years. By way of the blessings bestowed following the maha-samadhi of Swami Veda, he now serves as the Spiritual Guide of AHYMSIN (Association of Meditation Societies International), and Ashram Pramukha and Spiritual director of Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) in Rishikesh, India.

By the grace of Swami Rama of the Himalayas, he was conferred the monastic vows of sanyasa (swami) in 2007.

Though he holds many advanced degrees and certifications, he now resides in India giving attention to spiritual life. In addition to his duties as spiritual guide of the global AHYMSIN, for the past twenty years he has taught the practices of the Lineage throughout North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Southeast Asia. He also spends much of his time in guiding the International Himalayan Yoga Teachers Association (HYT-TTP) and in training numerous yoga teachers.

Swami Ritavan is gifted in guiding and conducting Silence and Meditation retreats within the cultures of each region. A man of few words, his primary focus is on the inner life. He continues the lineage of his gurus of the Himalayan Tradition serving the Lineage with single-minded devotion.

Swami Nityamuktananda Saraswati (Dr. Christa-Maria Herrmann ( PhD; MA; MEd; DAD; Dip theol; Dip Ed; etc.), German by birth (1945), naturalised British, originally studied Theology; her university studies soon expanded to Education, Psychology, Philosophy and Art and Design (Ceramics). In fact she has never stopped studying and never stopped teaching. Be it in colleges and universities; in workshops and international conferences, in Yoga Institutes and ashrams; or even on Silent Retreats etc. At the centre of her studies and teachings always is the subject of ‘Self-awareness’.

Life in Asia (Australia and America) awakened her interest in Eastern Philosophy (Taoism and Zen) and led to the Zen-arts of Raku (as an artist potter she exhibited worldwide) and Shiatsu (one of several complementary medicines she studied and practiced).

As artist and philosopher merged more and more, a unique combination emerged of deep involvement in Meditation, Sattipahana (mindfulness) and Ngal So; as well as the contemplative practices of Jnana Yoga and Vedanta. Throughout, she worked with several great spiritual Masters among them Zen-Masters, great Siddhas, the Tibetan Lama and Tulku T.Y.S. Gangchen, the great Yogi Swami Maheshananda and H.H. Swami Anubhavananda (Acharya of Vedanta) and M.M. (Mahamadeleschwara) Swami Veda Bharati, disciple of Swami Rama of the Himalayas.

In 1997 she made her Doctorate in Eco-philosophy on the subjects of the Mahabhutas (Five Great Elements) and has since contributed world-wide in conferences and workshops. The wisdom of the of the Mahabhutas, the five Elements, is a universal concept shared by many, if not all wisdom-traditions around the globe; including but by no means only, Yoga Philosophy.

Swami Nityamuktananda continuously travels around the world, sharing wisdom and spiritual practices including meditation and “The Five Elements”. All this from Norway to New Zealand, from Germany to Mexico; from Japan to Ecuador; from Singapore and Australia to Ireland.

She has been teaching especially in two centres in India, for many years: Kaivalyadhama, Yoga Research Institute, Lonavla as well as SRSG (Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama; Rishikesh Himalayas).

In 1997 she was awarded a ‘World-Peace Prize’ for contributions to World Peace (LGWPF/ NGO of UN).

Swami Nityamuktananda is the founder-member of the Council of European Grandmothers; estblished 2015 for reawakening the wisdom and values of the feminine principle, in order to create balance and harmony in all walks of life.

She is the author of several books especially an encyclopedic book on the Five Elements; as well as a simpler version, Simply Five Energy Fields, translated into Italian and German; soon to appear in Romanian and Hungarian.

Dr. Stephen Parker was initiated in the Himalayan Yoga Tradition by Swami Veda Bharati and was given the initiate name Stoma in 1971. Among the first teachers certified by the Himalayan International Teachers’ Association, H.I.T.A., he began teaching hatha-yoga in 1974. During that time he also studied Sanskrit with Swami Veda and South Asian languages and culture for his B.A. at the University of Minnesota. Stoma is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 hour level of the Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500). A member of the International Association of Y.T., he serves on the faculties of the Meditation Center in Minneapolis and the Swami Rama Sadhaka Gram ashram in Rishikesh, India. He is also a senior faculty member of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition Teachers’ Training Program (HYT-TTP). He has lectured on yoga, meditation, yoga psychology and spiritual practice in the U.S. and Canada as well as in Caribbean countries, Holland, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Lithuania, South Africa, Korea, Hong Kong and India. In 2004 he helped originate and teach the first course on yoga in an American medical school at the University of Minnesota Academic Medical Center. In 2007 he received preliminary vows of renunciation from Swami Veda and the Shankaracharya of Karvirapitha.

Stoma has been a licensed psychologist in private practice in St. Paul, MN since 1985. He also serves as Adjunct Assistant School Professor of Counseling and Psychological Services at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN. He teaches on the faculty of the Introductory Workshops of the Minnesota Society of Clinical Hypnosis. In addition to authoring journal articles and book chapters, Dr. Parker edited volume two of Swami Veda’s definitive scholarly work on the Yoga-sutras of Patanjali and he has been a peer review editor for the Journal of Men’s Studies, the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, the International Journal of Yoga Therapists and Yoga Mimamsa. He is also the author of Clearing the Path, The Yoga Way to a Clear and Pleasant Mind: Yoga, Neuroscience and Emotion (2017) published by AHYMSA publishers and distributed by Lotus Press.

Stoma is also a mantra initiator (2008) and he is a member of the AHYMSIN Adhyatma Samiti, or Spiritual Committee.

Pandit Dabral was born near Dehradun, India, in a family of Sanskrit scholars. He holds a doctorate in Yoga Philosophy and Sanskrit from Varanasi, India. A disciple of H. H. Swami Rama of the Himalayas, he has been trained by Dr. Swami Veda Bharati and teaches Meditation and Yoga Philosoply in Asia, Europe and North America.

H. H. Swami Rama sent Pandit Dabral to the United States in 1992, and in 1994 appointed him as Spiritual Director of the Himalayan Institute in Chicago. Trained and authorized by Swami Rama to give initiations, Panditji has initiated many hundreds of people.

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.

An inspiring speaker, Panditji guides aspirants in meditation in various centers in North America. He is a senior teacher and coordinator of the HYT-TTP (Himalayan Yoga Tradition, Teacher Training Program) and is also a member of the AHYMSIN Spiritual Committee. He travels internationally to initiate and teach.

Maryon Maass is an experienced Yoga (Himalayan Tradition and Iyengar), a Feldenkrais and, Qi Gong teacher. She lived in Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG) Ashram in Rishikesh, India, for several years, training in the subtleties of body and mind, through the observation of the breath, habits and emotions. She returned to California, USA regularly to teach with an inspiring, calm, compassionate manner, and with the intention to increase awareness for self-exploration, and self-healing for her students there. Maryon feels that the journey inward is completely safe, and encourages a gentle view into the window of the universe from where ever you may be looking from.

Her teachers are Swami Veda Bharati, Judith Lasater, Master Hong Liu.

Sofia Foteina-Chatzikokoli

After her graduation from "The American College of Greece" and her studies at the Economic University of Athens, Pedagogics at the Nursery school of Athens, Rudolf Steiner in France, Maria Montessori Method in London, "Self- Awareness", "Minimal Movement" Café Ecole Method by Constantin Foteinas, and "Accompagnonage", the accompaniment for the transition at the last phase of life- also by C. Foteinas- she continues her studies, since 2010 until today, in India, Rishikesh, with Swami Rama of the Himalayas, Swami Veda Bharati and Swami Ritavan Bharati, and is certified by the "Association of Himalayan Yoga Meditation Societies International" and by "Himalayan Yoga Tradition- Teacher Training Program" RYT 500. The certification is recognized by "Yoga Alliance" and "CYA International".

She is specialized in "Children Yoga" and "Yoga for Pregnancy". Besides Greece, she teaches parents that gather from all parts of the world in Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama Ashram, in Rishikesh, to practice the Himalayan Yoga. She has also taught in Merano and Florence, Italy.

She co-operates in the "Meditation Project" in Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama Ashram, in Rishikesh, where decades of meditations of gradual difficulty are transcribed and translated from English to 27 different languages- as were given from Swami Veda Bharati.

In Athens, she co-ordinates the "Himalayan Yoga Meditation of Hellas" as asked by Swami Veda Bharati.

She has translated in Greek, together with Chryssanthi Foteina-Kissadjekian, Swami Veda Bharati’s book, "The Night Birds"- published by Café Ecole Editions- and are translating now "Kundalini, Stilled or Stirred" also by Swami Veda Bharati.