Jul 31, 2021

Book Review: Living with the Himalayan masters by Swami Rama

Many years back, I came across an interview by Superstar Rajnikanth in a Tamil magazine. He had recommended a couple of his favorite spiritual books - Autobiography of a Yogi (I'm yet to read it) and Living with the Himalayan masters. Being an ardent fan of Superstar, especially for his spiritual angle, I promptly bought these books and added them to my bookshelf.

A book comes to you at the right time when you need it. Since this year, I have been picking up more books from the spiritual genre and Swami Rama's "Living with the Himalayan masters" caught my attention. 

It is an interesting collection of anecdotes and life stories that Swami Rama experienced in his spiritual life in the Himalayas. A fascinating read, that covers a wide range of topics ranging from Karma, spiritual path, enlightenment, power of the mind, Yoga, universal connections, etc. Each chapter is dealt with independently and this helped me to read and absorb the book slowly. Though the underlying messages are profound, Swami Rama has explained them in simple terms using his experiences, stories, and relatable characters.

I loved the chapters that emphasize how fear, attachment, ego, and desire come in the way of our spiritual journey. The examples were just brilliant.

A few of my favorite passages below

"Learn to perform your duties skillfully without aversion or attachment, and do not believe that anything can wash off your bad karma"

"It is important to make one's life creative and helpful, but before doing so one should make contact with own potentials deep within by disciplining himself and gaining control over his mind, speech and action"

"The whole search for enlightenment is to seek within, to become aware that you are complete in yourself. You are perfect. You don't need any externals"

"When we are inadequate ourselves but our ego is strong, we tend to blame others"

"The shortest cut to self-enlightenment is to cut through the ego; surrender before the Highest One"

"Meditation will become your very nature when you give up attachment, anger, and pride"

"Death is not painful but fear of death is very painful.......Death is a habit of the body, a necessary change"

I found answers to many questions that were lingering on my mind. I'm sure this book would appeal to people who are on the quest to understand the meaning of life, death, and our experiences. And the takeaways are completely dependent on the reader's search.

P.S. This book is available on Kindle Unlimited.

Habits for Life

The lifestyle choices we make in our 30s and 40s not only impact our health in our 60s and 70s but also the quality of lives of our children and grandchildren. Not only do we pay a price but our children and grandchildren pay a hefty price too. 

Let's think about those lifestyle habits we practice for days, months and years.
Smoking, drinking alcohol, chewing tobacco, excessive intake of processed/junk foods, excess intake of sugar, more caffeine, sedentary lifestyle, erratic sleep cycles, excess screen times etc etc.

If you believe there are habits you need to quit/ reduce/manage, take action now before it is too late. 

The intention of this post is not to scare anyone but only to give a gentle nudge.

Appa is only able to take liquid foods these days. Except for coffee, tea, milk, buttermilk and packaged fruit juices, he has never had any other liquid foods earlier. Now at 72 years, it is hard for him to accept new foods like sathumaavu kanji, ragi kanji, rice kanji etc. The moment I say this is a cup of kanji, his expression changes to complete resistance.

Trying home made fruit juices, milkshakes, soups etc, but all these are new to him as well. 

The biggest lesson/observation for me in the last few weeks is that the older we get, the higher the resistance to change. Sticking to same old habits and expecting a health improvement isn't gonna happen. Habits get hard-wired - especially our food preferences.

I know I keep repeating this often. If you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s, please do take charge of your food habits now.

Foods that you would like to introduce in your diet - be it millets, traditional rice varieties, vegetables especially native and gourds, fruits etc, start including them now and not wait until a certain age or wait until a lifestyle ailment strikes.

Foods that you would like to cut back or stop - be it processed and junk foods, deep fried snacks, sugar, sweets, caffeine etc, make the change right away and don't postpone for a later date.

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