The word swami means master; it means striving for the mastery over one's smaller self and habit patterns, so that the eternal Self within may come shining through. The act of becoming a swami is not so much an acting of becoming, of adding on, of allegiance, as it is an act of setting aside, of renunciation. A swami is a monk, one who has set aside all of the limited, worldly pursuits, so as to devote full time effort to the direct experience of the highest spiritual realization, and to the service of others along those lines. Renunciation is not anti-world, in any sense of the world being a bad place. Rather, it is a matter of priorities about how one will spend his or her time, the twenty-four hours in a day, and the seven days in a week.
Represent your culture. Your heritage. Be proud of the tongue your great grandmother spoke. Be proud of the land your parents left behind; the home they long to go back to. Be proud of the thousand and some stitches that go into your people’s clothing. Be proud of the foods that took thousands of year to perfect. Be proud of the skin color that you carry with you- it weighs more than any flag. Be proud of your culture, because when you go out into their world, They won’t care about what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve become. They’ll tear you down and look at you with disdain, they will speak slowly to you so you “comprehend” what rubbish they have to say but won’t give a damn that your vocabulary spans two oceans, four languages, and countless generations. Be proud of where you came from because, be it from a mile away, or a conversation face to face, they will treat you like the dirt they step on, when you are silken rugs of Iran, the dunes of Rajasthan, the lakes of Pakistan, and the sounds of Delhi. Be proud.
There is no designated time for anything in your life. You don’t have to have your first kiss at any certain time, you don’t have to get married in your 20′s and you don’t have to do anything just because other people think it’s best. In fact, you will be much better off if you just do what your heart says. The day you stop caring what other people think is the day their opinions don’t mean anything, because you’re not there to give them weight.