Swami Rama, Celibate Father
Swami Rama, born Brij Keshore Kumar, spiritual director and founder of the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, Pennsylvania claims a lineage: "It links itself to an unbroken lineage of sages even beyond Shankara. Our Himalayan tradition, though a tradition of Shankara, is purely ascetic, and is practiced in the Himalayan caves rather than being related to institutions in the plains of India." He calls the tradition Bharati ("he who is the lover of knowledge") and says it is one of the 10 original swami orders of Shankaracharya and, among them, one of the four purest lines, most in alignment with Shankara's precepts.
His background is controversial and at least some of it is spurious. He claims he was born into a learned, wealthy Brahmin family, was orphaned at an early age and raised and instructed in Himalayan caves by his Bengali teacher and surrogate father, Sri Madhavananda Bharati. In 1949, he was appointed Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham in South India, an ancient high religious office at age 24. In 1952 he renounced this position, and, after an 11-month solitary meditation retreat in a tiny Himalayan cave, Swami Rama headed West. He claimed to have graduated from a homeopathic medical school in India and studied psychology and philosophy at Hamburg University, the University of Utrecht, and Oxford University.
By 1970 Drs. Elmer and Alyce Green had already demonstrated that ordinary people could learn to voluntarily control physiologic functions through bio-feedback such as brainwaves, muscle tension, heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature and blood flow in the skin. In 1970 and 1971 at the Menninger Foundation, Swami Rama demonstrated he could produce the same effects without a machine and on request he stopped his heart from pumping blood for 17 seconds. These claims are suspect however as they also claimed he telekinetically moved a knitting needle ie moved it from a distance with nothing but thinking. If true this would be a world changing event forcing a total paradigm change in scientific thought but no other confirmed tests have ever been made.
The Greens heard from a number of women who said they were sexually exploited by Swami Rama. "If someone is a saint, celibacy would be his normal condition," Dr. Green comments. "A lot of people have confused the siddhis - the powers to control body, emotions, and mind - with spirituality. But the siddhis can be an ego trap. A saint is a person who does what he says." Rather than being a saint, according to Green, Swami Rama is an advanced yogi and "a mortal with some ego problems." This begs the question of what a yogi actually is suppoed to be.
We do know, however, that the Swami could not control his penis and he has been regularly charged with having sex with some of his female devotees and has responded with nasty slurs and lies. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that the great celibate Himalayan Master fathered at last one child in his ashram.
As a guru, Andrew Cohen is unique. He was repudiated and rejected as a spiritual master by his mother but Swami Rama also has a unique distinction. He has been repudiated and rejected by his son. Robert Walter was 12 when he discovered that his father was the renowned Indian yogi Swami Rama. One of Swami Rama's earliest disciples in the United States, Shirley Walter, served as a founding director of the institute in the U.S. She also started the institute's center in Schaumberg, Illinois, and directed the center in Glenview, Illinois for many years. In early 1971, Swami Rama asked Shirley to meet with him alone and seduced her, despite her protests that she was married and he had taken vows of celibacy. She soon discovered she was pregnant. The Swami, who had taken vows of celibacy, frequently warned Robert and his mother, Shirley Walter, of the dire consequences should their relationship become known. Robert traveled with him to India and spent time at the Himalayan Institute's headquarters. There he lived among "His Holiness Swami Rama's" most devoted disciples, witnessing their extreme beliefs and cultish behavior. He learned that his father had had sexual relations with many women and after his father's death in 1996, he learned that Swami Rama had a wife in India and two children.
In order to attain samadhi, the yogi takes a vow of celibacy. The word celibacy does not mean mere suppression of the sexual urge. Brahmacharya means walking in Brahman, the absolute Reality or pure Consciousness, being conscious of Brahman all the time. Brahma means shakti, the primal force within, and charya means how to direct. A brahmachari is able to master and direct his energies toward the attainment of the highest state of consciousness. Brahmacharya is not limited to the control of the sexual urge but also involves the control of mind, action, and speech. - Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Rama, pp. 240-241
On September 4, 1997 in the United District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania a jury returned an award against the defendant Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the USA in the amount of $275,000 in compensatory damages and $1.6 million in punitive damages for the sexual misconduct of the Himalayan Institute's former 'spiritual leader' Brijkishor Kumar, popularly known as the 'Swami Rama'. The award was in favour of the 19-year-old Jasmine Patel (Jasmine Patel, plaintiff Vs. Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the USA).
Jasmine Patel was 13 or 14 years old, when she was introduced to Swami Rama by her parents who treated him as their enlightened spiritual guide and family guru. In the summer of 1989 Jasmine joined the Institute's 'Self-Transformation Program' from when the swami started abusing her, ending up in full-blown sexual relationship, the American Court order states. It also states, several other women's similar experiences with Swami Rama.
In the above quoted verdict, the American jury found that Swami Rama (a) had engaged in sexual relations with the plaintiff Jasmine Patel, (b) he had abused his position as the plaintiff's guru to secure her consent to the sexual relations; (c) he had breached the standard of care and fiduciary duties inherent in the relationship between him and the plaintiff; (d) he had intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the plaintiff; (e) had acted maliciously and with conscious disregard for the welfare of the plaintiff; (f) and he was acting within the scope of his agency relationship with the Himalayan Institute when engaging in sexual relations with Jasmine Patel.
Apart from holding the Himalayan Institute liable for compensatory and punitive damages on a respondent superior theory, the American jury also imposed direct liability on the Institute, finding that (a) it had been negligent in allowing Swami Rama to be a sexual predator for a number of years; (b) the actions and inactions of Himalayan Institute constituted the intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (c) the Himalayan Institute had acted maliciously and with conscious disregard for the welfare of the plaintiff.
These sleazebag gurus just go on as if their scandals and lack of realisation haven't been exposed to the public. Many of their followers are too invested to leave and new ones will never be told and the money keeps rolling in.
The 1st Convocation of the 'Swami Rama Himalayan University' was held on 1st April, 2016 in the University premises. The Honourable President of India Dr. Pranab Mukherjee, graced the occasion.
According to some reports, Swami Rama is survived by a daughter and two sons, two of whom have been acknowledged in 'At the Eleventh Hour', a biography of Swami Rama written by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, the current head of the Himalayan Institute of the USA. The two are his son Mohit Dhasmana, and daughter Devyani Mungali, by Swami Rama's former wife in India, Lilu Kumar. Lilu and Mohit Kumar have been involved in several lawsuits in India, notably Original Suit No. 865 of 1997 filed in the Court of the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Dehradun, challenging the current leaders of the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, founded by Swami Rama.
Miranda Marbaniang, another woman from Shillong, India, claims she is Swami Rama's oldest daughter. Swami Rama's devotees and followers have not acknowledged either Robert Walter or Miranda Marbaniang as the guru's children, as he was supposed to have taken vows of celibacy (Sannyas).
Swami Rama founded the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy, based in Pennsylvania with centers worldwide, as well as various service and teaching organizations. He was also one of the first Yogis to be studied by Western scientists. Journalist Katharine Webster spent two years investigating the allegations of sexual abuse against Swami Rama, publishing an article in a 1990 edition of Yoga Journal or Click Here for an HTML version that documented the experiences of women abused by Rama.
"He would fixate on a woman and make her a sort of valet, and then he would tell her it was necessary to perform these acts to further her spiritual development," said Cliff Rieders of Williamsport, one of the woman's lawyers.
The Himalayan Institute is now under the control of the sleazebag Pandit Rajmani Tigunait and their website naturally doesn't mention Rama's fucking of this students or his lies and cheating. Apparently none of that has affected his Himalayan yoga credentials. In 2012 the Institute received a warning letter from the FDA formerly recorded at https://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2012/ucm306349.htm listing a series of violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations for dietary supplements. Swami Rama sold theoretical snake oil, his disciples sell literal snake oil.