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Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi (“Bhagavan”) was a 20th century South Indian sage who continues to radiate peace and Self-awareness to the global community of spiritual seekers. You do not need to join any organization, adopt any belief system, or worship anyone or anything to experience this transmission of bliss and clarity. Bhagavan simply points you toward your innermost Self, the unchanging reality underlying all that exists. It is as if your life and the world is a movie; Bhagavan’s practice of asking Who Am I? allows you to find real happiness through the realization you are the screen itself, not the projected movie.

Sri Bhagavan was intensely active, and yet so concealed was his activity that casual visitors and those who failed to perceive believed that he gave no “Upadesa” (spiritual guidance provided by a guru or spiritual teacher) at all or that he was indifferent to the needs of seekers. It is generally agreed that Realization is possible only through the Grace of a Guru.

Sri Bhagavan was as definite about this as other Masters. Therefore, it was not enough for the sadhaka (aspirant) to know that his teaching was sublime and his presence inspiring; it was necessary to know that he was a Guru giving diksha (initiation) and upadesa (instruction).

Submission to this Guru is not submission to any outside oneself but to the Self manifested outwardly in order to help one discover the Self within. “The Master is within; meditation is meant to remove the ignorant idea that he is only outside. If he were a stranger whom you were awaiting he would be bound to disappear also. What would be the use of a transient being like that? But as long as you think that you are separate or are the body, so long is the outer Master also necessary, and he will appear as if with a body. When the wrong identification of oneself with the body ceases, the Master is found to be none other than the Self.”

Spiritual Instruction

Ramana Maharshi provided spiritual instruction by providing darshan and sitting silently together with devotees and visitors, but also by answering the questions and concerns raised by those who sought him out. Many of these question-and-answer sessions have been transcribed and published by devotees, some of which have been edited by Ramana Maharshi himself. A few texts have been published which were written by Ramana Maharshi himself, or written down on his behalf and edited by him.

Ramana Maharshi also provided an example by his own devotion to Shiva, which has been extensively described by his devotees, such as walks around the holy hill Arunachala, in which devotees participated, and his hymns to Arunachala.

Ramana Maharshi described his Self as a "force" or "current", which descended on him in his death-experience, and continued throughout his life.

Ramana Maharshi used various terms to denote this Self. The most frequently used terms were sat-chit-ananda, which translates into English as "truth-consciousness-bliss"; God, Brahman and Siva, and the Heart, which is not to be confused with the physical heart, or a particular point in space, but was rather to indicate that "the Self was the source from which all appearances manifested".

Ramana Maharshi considered the Self to be permanent and enduring, surviving physical death. "The sleep, dream and waking states are mere phenomena appearing on the Self," as is the "I"-thought. Our "true nature" is "simple Being, free from thoughts."

Arunachala - The Spiritual Heart of the World

Each of the spiritual centers of India has its own character and line of tradition. Among them all, it is Tiruvannamalai (Arunachala) that represents the most direct, the most formless and the least ritualistic of paths, the path of Self-enquiry, whose gateway is silent initiation. This is expressed in the old Tamil saying: “To see Chidambaram, to be born at Tiruvarur, to die at Banaras or even to think of Arunachala is to be assured of Liberation.” “Even to think of” because in the case of the direct path physical contact is not necessary. Hence, it was no accident that the Ramana Maharshi made Tiruvannamalai and its sacred Arunachala Mountain his home.

The Maharshi called Arunachala the spiritual Heart of the world. Aruna, which means ‘red, bright like fire’, does not signify the mere fire that gives off heat. Rather, it means Jnanagni, the Fire of Wisdom, which is neither hot nor cold. Achala signifies hill. Thus, Arunachala means ‘Hill of Wisdom’.


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