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Ramana Maharshi

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Ramana Maharshi

Venkataraman, later known as Bhagavan Shri Ramana Maharshi, was born on the auspicious day of Arudra Darshan, 30th December 1879. He grew up like any normal boy. His father died when he was twelve. Together with his two brothers he went to live in the family of an uncle of his father's, not far from Madura, South India. Venkataraman was sent first to Scott's Middle School and later to the American Mission High School. There he read the Bible. He was not really interested in going to school. His amazingly retentive memory covered up his laziness: he was able to repeat a lessons from hearing it once read out.

There was one unusual thing about him, though, and that was his abnormally deep sleep. Whatever one did to wake him up, he knew nothing about it till they told him when he was awake again.

One day, when he was about 17 years old, he attained enlightenment through a remarkable experience. He was sitting alone in a room on the first floor of his uncle's house, when quite sudden a violent fear of death overtook him and drove his mind inward. He started dramatizing the occurrence of death, up to and including rigor mortis, but remained in full consciousness. He found out for himself that he was Spirit transcending the body, that I is one with the deathless Spirit, the Self of every human being. He said that absorption in the Self continued unbroken from that time on.

He renounced everything, left his uncle's home and started the wandering life of a sadhu. For him that meant Tiruvannamalai, where he lived for quite some time and practised severe Tapas in an underground vault in the thousand-pillared hall, and the sacred hill of Arunachala, one of the oldest and most sacred of all holy places in India, where he stayed for the remainder of his earthly life. He declared that Arunachala was the spiritual centre of the world.

In the ashram, which was formed around him, he taught non-duality, the purest form of Advaita Vedanta, which tells us that to see the Self one must be the Self. According to Ramana Maharshi, the best and only means to obtain Self-knowledge is the enquiry Who am I?.

He went into mahasamadhi on 14th April 1950.

Bhagavan Shri Ramana Maharshi

Books, edited by Arthur Osborne and published by Rider & Company, London

  • Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge
  • The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi
  • The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi

Books, published by T.N. Venkataraman, Shri Ramanashramam, Tiruvannamalai, S. India

  • Talks with Shri Ramana Maharshi
  • Letters from Shri Ramanashramam

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