Scientist and Mahatma: Swami Rama Tirtha

Swami Rama Tirtha was a knower in direct experience of the non-dual truth revealed in the Upanishads, and was also an accomplished mathematician with a deep knowledge of the science and culture of East and West.He traveled to America in the early years of the 20th century before returning to the Himalayan region. His writings on the non-dual teachings, and the way to realization, are vivid and appealing to modern readers.

This book contains an account of his life, by Hari Prasad Shastri, who knew him well, and selected writing by Swami Rama Tirtha himself, including prose and poems.

We can all learn from his example, if we consider with care how we should apply in our own lives the principle he exemplified of total dedication to the supreme, seeing That in all. Although he was intellectually gifted, it was through devotion to the form of Krishna that he advanced swiftly on the path to Self-realization.

Here is one of the poems:


Apply to the door of thy heart the key of Love;
Recklessly give away all it contains, and enjoy the game!

Martyr the rider of the ego by self-control
And enjoy the riderless vehicle of pure Consciousness.

Burn thy home and property
And, like Nero, play thy flute and enjoy the flames.

Why suffer from thirst?
The bottle of the Self is full of the wine of Bliss.
Break the seal of egoity and drink the wine.

The kite of my love has gone beyond the sky
Since I let go the string of reason.

If you would know true bliss, say: ‘I am Rama’;
Convert time and space into Rama by contemplation.

Here is a further passage from his recorded teachings:

Question: What is the best form of religion and the best method of practising it?
Answer: The best form of religion is to do away with egoism and to merge in the universal Self to such an extent as to be oblivious of the little self. Not only one particular country but the whole world, nay, the whole universe, shall be benefited through absorption in the real Self. Springs of peace, power, bliss and cheerfulness shall burst forth and the pleasant aura of felicity and energy shall radiate from a religious man. The best way to practise religion is:
1) to ponder over the elevated and sublime teachings of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita again and again, and to practise them in daily life.
2) to be in constant company of saints and spiritually evolved persons who by their practical wisdom can inspire peace and tranquillity within you.
3) to make sincere efforts, at least five times a day, to remove ignorance and sinful ideas from our hearts. In other words, we should realize ourselves to be above body, mind and intellect, and shift our mental abode from the desert of worldly attachments and selfish desires to the flower garden of Reality. We should live in Divinity and meditate on such Divine thoughts as the following:
‘I am the Sun, the effulgent Sun. The particles of dust get colour and brilliance from Me. The source of celestial talk is My word. The spring of Divine Light is My sight.’

This is a book that can be studied carefully by sincere students of non-duality to deepen our understanding of how to see the principles of non-duality underlying all, and how to apply them in our own efforts to uncover the light of truth within.

There is a further account of Swami Rama Tirtha’s life, and translated poems by him, in ‘Songs of Enlightenment‘.