Swami Shyam was brought up in the Vedic tradition of knowledge of the Self (Atma Gyan) and taught all those who came in front of him that this knowledge is universal and is the essence of all beings.
“You as Self-Existence alone are. I as Self-Existence alone am. He or she or it as Self-Existence alone is—pure, free, and indivisible. Amaram Hum Madhuram Hum is its name. That alone is.” —Swami Shyam
He studied this tradition and meditated on it from very early childhood. His father invited the guru Swami Ramanand to live in their family home in the village of Chandani in District Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh. Their house became a meeting place for satsang (the company of true knowledge) for those who lived in the region and Swami Ramanand initiated the young Shyam in meditation. He also taught the boy the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, the Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures. He told Shyam to meditate daily, and years later, Swami Shyam’s childhood friends, who were by then in their seventies and eighties, recalled playing in the fields and stopping everything to meditate at young Shyam’s behest.
Meditation and knowledge of the Self are the essence of Swami Shyam’s teachings. Throughout his life, he meditated, studied and taught meditation and established organizations for the continuation of this work—notably the International Meditation Institute (IMI), which he founded in 1971 in Kullu in the Indian Himalayas.
An inspiring speaker in English as well as his native tongue, Hindi, he brought new light to the technique of meditation and the philosophy of Oneness. His life and words were brilliant, energetic, creative, and spontaneous. Anyone who met him was struck by his effusive sense of humour and equally by his deep insight into all issues of human life. His presence itself exemplified the cool, serene, joyful, loving, and playful disposition of the sage. These characteristics of his enlightened state are keenly felt by all those who have shared in his presence and knowledge.
In 1986, Swami Shyam was awarded the Yog Shiromani by the President of India, Giani Zail Singh, for his work in the field of meditation and Self Realization. While in over fifty years of teaching, Swami Shyam addressed tens of thousands of people throughout India, Europe and North and South America, at international conferences, universities, and schools.
Equally, he brought freshness, clarity, and depth to translations and commentaries on ancient Sanskrit texts including the Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali Yog Darshan, Light of Knowledge (Vivek Chudamani), Panchadashi, Upanishads, Ashtawakr Gita, and Avdhoot Gita. A prolific writer, he produced over fifty books in English and Hindi, including Meet Your True Self through Meditation, Doubtless Meditation, Life Never Knows Death, Shyam’s Philosophy and You, the Leading Awareness, and hundreds of short writings on the knowledge of inner consciousness. All of these have been published by the IMI and many translated into other languages (French, German, Hebrew, Punjabi, and Norwegian).
In addition to prose, Swami Shyam wrote over ten thousand poems in Hindi. His poetry speaks of the knowledge of the universal Self, meditation, and the sense of love and devotion. It is written in classical meters, which are traditionally sung and many have been put to music. Twentieth- and twenty-first-century Hindi poets Mahadevi Verma, Gopal Das Neeraj and Laxmi Narayan have written introductions to his books. While many DLit, PhD, and MA theses have been written on his poetry and philosophy.
Alongside the written word, Swami Shyam’s inimitable spoken teachings have been preserved. Over 35,000 hours of his lectures have been recorded since 1971, plus, over 10,000 hours of videos. These include specially created DVDs of more than 150 talks given since 2008.
The basis of Swami Shyam’s teachings has always been meditation. The core of his teachings is the vision of Oneness, the knowledge of I, You, or Self. You are pure, free, forever, birthless, and deathless. This knowledge is unfolded through the practice of meditation and study and applied in the waking state.
His mantra is Amaram Hum Madhuram Hum, which he freely shared with tens of thousands of people over the course of his teaching. It means, “I am eternal, I am indivisible.” This is the essence of Swami Shyam’s philosophy.
Using Swami Shyam’s technique of meditation, his mantra and knowledge, along with clear understanding, all of us can unfold this vision of Oneness and deathlessness within us.