About the Book
Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi - The Sage of Arunachala - was drawn by the power of the Arunachala Mountain in Tiruvannamalai at the age of sixteen and spent His entire life at its feet.
Throughout the history of mankind, spiritual giants have appeared on very rare occasions to exemplify the Highest Truth, guiding followers by their conduct in every moment of their lives; Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi was such a giant!
His preference to communicate through the power of overwhelming silence was so deep and vibrant that it was successful in calming the minds of the overzealous seekers who were attracted to Him from all over the world.
The infinite silence of His presence was a reflection of His teaching of 'Self enquiry' (vichara).
Numerous devotees around the world are daily experiencing His promise of 'continued presence', which in turn has inspired many to devote themselves to the path of peace and love.
About the Author
M. Sivaramkrishna, Professor and Head (retired), Department of English, Osmania University, Hyderabad and Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at Telugu University, Hyderabad, has published widely and contributed entries to Commonwealth Literature (Macmillan, London) and Encyclopedia of Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi, Delhi). He has also edited The Great Gatsby (Oxford University Press, New Delhi) and Indian Poetry in English (Macmillan, India). He has written books and articles extensively on Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda. He also edited Tenor; a biannual journal of creative and critical writing. He was also on the Advisory Board (Telugu) of the National Book Trust, New Delhi.
This is not a biography of Bhagawan Ramana. Quite a few biographies exist such as the ones by B. V. Narasimha Swamy and Arthur Osborne. Instead, I have focused on incidents which reveal the practical aspects of Bhagawan Ramana's basic spiritual outlook: how he responded to human contexts which are not separate from the so-called spiritual quest.
Literature on Bhagawan Ramana is very vast. I selected only a few aspects which I hope will be of interest to readers. The day-to-day life of Bhagawan seemed to me much more interesting man abstract ideas. This does not mean that he was an abstract thinker. I wanted to highlight the fact that Bhagawan Ramana followed the natural way of self-enquiry. Every incident in this sense becomes an illuminator of the path to peace and joyful living. Bhagawan was humane and it is this aspect mat is reflected in his life and message.
I have drawn from Ramanashram Publications for the content. But I have not reproduced anything verbatim. I thank me authorities of the Ashram.
Finally, this book was possible only because of what I learnt from 'Sri Ram' my anonymous mentor. Mere thanks are not enough for him.
Dr. Sumita Ray was of immense help in the final shaping of the book. I thank her for her involvement in the preparation of the book.
Mrs. Prabha did the DTP work with care and dedication. My thanks to her.
I thank Mr. S.K. Ghai for accepting this for publication.
The celebrated psychologist C. G. Jung observed that “what we in the life and teachings of Raman a Maharshi is the purest of India; with its breath of world-liberated and liberating humanity, It is a chant of millenniums.” In a similar vein, the doyen of contemporary consciousness studies, Ken Wilber, describing India one of the most astonishing and profound geographical sources of spiritual awareness on the planet,” says that if he were stranded a desert island and had to take a book with him, “Talks with Ramana Maharshi is of its two or three I always mention.”
150 years after his advent, Ramana Maharshi is today in the and consciousness of almost every seeker as a perennial inspiration. Like the sacred Arunachala Mountain in Tiruvannamalai, he shines with singular splendour. Serene, unruffled, rock-like in the steadiness of an eternal Truth, he bodied a Presence that communes without language and a peace that percolates to the depths of one's being, illumining its erior in the most natural way. Natural because experiences came to him before they were confirmed by books and scholars!
The most crucial experience came when he was 17 years old. Born on 29 December 1879 (Ramakrishna was still alive), in Tiruchuli, Tamilnadu, he was named Venkataraman. A good athletic frame, gregarious by temperament, loving and lovable there was, nevertheless, nothing to set him apart from the other boys. Perhaps, the exterior was a facade. For deep down, there was a luminous spark which needed the right kind of ignition to blaze forth as the radiant breath of the Eternal.
Then came the remarkable experience. He was in robust health and nothing prefaced the event. On that day, he later recalled, he “sat alone” in a room on the first floor when “a sudden and unmistakable fear of death seized me. I felt I was going to die.” For this feeling nothing was there in the body as a warrant. He knew there was no physical basis for the fear.
Venkataraman did something unique. Disregarding the paralysing fear, and the thought of rushing for help never struck him, he started enquiring into the nature of the reality of this fear. The 17 -year-old imitated “a corpse to lend the air of reality” and visualised everything that happens thereafter: the corpse, the consigning to flames, the residue of nothing but ash. “With this death of the body,” he asked himself “am 'I' dead? Is the body I The body is silent and inert. But I feel the full force of my personality and even the sound of 'I' within myself - apart from the body. So I am a spirit transcending the body. The material body dies, but the spirit transcending it cannot be touched by Death.” And the profound Truth dawned (never to set at an, dusk), “I am therefore the deathless spirit.”
The transcendence of the fear of marana, death, unfolded in the Presence of Ramana, the radiant Face of Eternity. And, he declared. later, the vichara rooted in and roving around 'I' was not intellectual gymnastics, or a sterile, stoic indifference and :l:'!x:lrunent; it was unique in a sense. The Buddha saw a corpse, Paramahamsa Ramakrishna seized a sword to kill himself defiantly at the denial, apparently, of Mother Kali to reveal Herself. Maharshi registered the experience of death on his body and consciousness and came back to report that the presence of Death is not as Shakespeare would have it, “the unseen land from which no traveller returns.” On the contrary, death is not 'the end but a bend a door to eternality. The existentialist's despair of ' no exit' mental construct.
The mystic poet Kabir put it tersely, “Death after death the dies/but no one knows how to die/the servant Kabir died a death/as he won't have to die again.” And this is precisely Ramana Maharshi did.
The heard now the insistent call of Arunachala Shiva - the word sent horripilations all over the body, left everything behind, heeded the call and reached Tiruvannamalai. He remained for the rest of his 'life' there - an achalam. Unmoving but moving imperceptibly the minds and hearts of countless seekers, who thronged to the mountain and later to the ashram; Paul Brunton, Arthur Osborne, S. S. Cohen, Major Chadwick and above all the renowned Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni who declared him as
azawan Ramana,' Annamalai Swami, Muruganar, the renowned Telugu writer G. Venkatachalam and so many others.
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