• Râmana Mahârshi

    Râmana Mahârshi was born on the 30th December 1879 in Tiruchuzhi (India) and died on the 14th april 1950, in Thiruvanamalaï.

    Countless people who went to Tiruvannamalai during the life-time of Maharshi Sri Ramana had this experience. They saw in him a sage without the least touch of worldliness, a saint of matchless purity, a witness to the eternal truth of Advaita Vedanta (Indian traditional wisdom).

    The life story of Sri Ramana Maharshi is remarkable. At a young age he experienced his own death. He did not actually die, but had a fully conscious experience of death of the body, which included awareness of himself as something other than the body, an eternal stream of energy. From that day forth he was no longer an average village boy. Despite his family’s best efforts to keep him in a somewhat normal life, he left home with just a few rupees, heading for a sacred mountain he had heard about from an uncle. That mountain, Mount Arunachala, was revered by Hindus as the actual body of the god Shiva. It rises above the ancient temple city of Tiruvanamali in the heart of southern India. It is saturated with power, certainly with energies that were anchored there long ago, and probably further enhanced by the life of the great sage who first arrived at the age of 16.

    When Ramana arrived at Tiruvanamali, no one knew what to do with him, but that really didn’t matter because all he wanted to do was to be himself into union with the Self. It is said that he meditated in the temple basement for months at a time, taking food only rarely and allowing rodents to gnaw at his shrinking body. Somehow he survived and emerged from the temple, taking up residence in a cave on the mountain. By this time devotees were aware of him and supplied meager food for the blessing of being in his presence. He was silent for most of the 23 years he spent on the mountain before being persuaded to come down into a modest ashram that was taking shape to accommodate those who wanted to be near him.

    Once in the ashram, his teaching began. He preferred to teach through the mere power of the silence that surrounded him. Devotees would sit for hours soaking up the peace and awareness that seemed to emanate from him. But of course many were insensitive to this form of learning and brought their questions to him. He responded with a teaching that sprang directly from his experience and cut to the heart of the most basic questions of the spiritual path.

    The fundamental issue from Ramana Maharshi’s perspective is : Who am I?

    Sri Ramana explains that the eternal is always present in our natural state, but we miss it because we are captives of the mind. To escape the grasp of the mind one needs to turn attention inward toward the mind: to see the mind for what it really is, a charlatan, something that appears much more substantial than it really is. The technique he offered was simply to continually trace thoughts back to their origin, to see from where they actually arise. This search brings one eventually to the « I thought », the thought that « I » exist as an entity separate from God and all creation. It is natural enough that such a thought should arise, but Ramana encouraged his followers to try to get to the root of this thought,

    From where did it come? From where does it come minute to minute? Looking for this one finds first that there is no mind as a substantial entity that creates all thought. Rather there is just a stream of thought and every thought can end once its essential reality is questioned.

    Question: When a man realizes the self, what will he see?

    Answer: There is no seeing. Seeing is only being. The state of Self-realization, as we call it, is not attaining something new or reaching some goal which is far away, but simply being that which you always are and which you always have been. All that is needed is that you give up your realization of the not-true as true. All of us are regarding as real that which is not real. We have only to give up this practice on our part. Then we shall realize the Self as Self; in other words, « Be the Self ».

    Bibliography:

    Ramana Maharshi published several doctrinal treatise in tamoul. Only one has been translated in sanscrit: "Upadesha-sâram"

    Receiving numerous people, the answers to the asked questions were published in different books:

    “Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi”, covering almost every spiritual topic imaginable recorded in English by Swami Ramananda Saraswati (Sri Munagala S. Venkataramaiah) during the years 1935 to 1939

    “Self-Enquiry”, an English translation by Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan of the question and answer version of Vichara Sangraham,

    “Spiritual Instruction”, an English translation by Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan of Upadesa Manjari, a Tamil work containing seventy questions and answers recorded by Sri Natananandar.

    “Sri Ramana Gita”, composed by Sri Vasishtha Ganapati Muni

    “Day by Day with Bhagavan” : diary by Devaraja Mudaliar

    “Letters from Sri Ramanasramam”, by Suri Nagamma

    “Maharshi and His Message”, by Paul Brunton

    “Who Am I?” : the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi by Ramana Maharshi

    “The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi”…

    …And much more !!!