The Pittsburgh Press - Feb 21, 1976
Perfect health comes naturally for Shri Swami Rama, a Himalayan yogi whose abilities to control his heartbeat, brain waves and body temperature have been verified by American scientists.
‘’Sometimes I am puzzled why people get sick,’’ said the 50-year old teacher whose olive skin and clear brown eyes glimmer with health. ‘’I have never been ill.’’
Loose-fitting Indian garments disguise a thickly muscled body more reminiscent of a steel worker than of the typical emaciated guru pictured in New Yorker cartoons.
A yoga disciple since the age of 3, Swami Rama eats only vegetables, nuts and grains and said he has never tasted meat or alcohol, although he does not disapprove of their use. He said he sleeps only two and half hours per day, but meditates a minimum of 6 hours and often s many as 14 hours.
Founder of an organisation which has started 21 yoga teaching centres throughout the world, including the Himalayan Institute in Bellevue, Swami Rama visited Pittsburgh to lead a week-end seminar at the Winchester-Thurston School in Shadyside. The seminar continues today at the yoga center in Bellevue.
Claiming to be the first yogi to subject himself to scientific experimentation, Swami Rama in 1970 astounded scientists at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kan., by speeding up his heart to 300 beats per minute, a condition which would lead to hospitalisation for most people.
In another experiment, scientists placed two thermometers an inch apart on Swami Rama’s plan and, after about 20 minutes of concentrating by the yogi, found them recording an 11-degree difference.
Swami Rama agreed to a private demonstration yesterday, but declined to perform feats just for a newspaper story. He indicated such publicity would open him to charges of trickery, but that his abilities can be verified with the Menninger Foundation.
He said every person has the ability to control his body with his mind, but that people block that ability through the ‘’conflict and confusion’’ that fills their minds.
‘’This is one of the great difficulties we face - we are not satisfied with the known. And we are not searching for more because we are afraid of the unknown,’’ he said.
Swami Rama’s teaching emphasised the technique of meditation which he said is necessary to allow the mind to focus and concentrate. He also stressed his belief that meditation in no way conflicts with any of the world’s major religions.
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