Saturday, December 14, 2019

Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharishi and his Path

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi was born in Tiruchuzhi in the year 1984. He was a normal and athletic boy.

One fine day when he was lying on the bed alone at home he went through a near-death experience. This set him on the quest of “What will happen to me after my death?” and “Who am I?” From that day he lost interest in studies and regular activities.

Ramana Maharishi’s journey to Thiruvannamalai

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi heard about the sacred place called Thuruvannamalai from a relative. The place pulled him strongly. One day in 1896 he slipped away from home on his epic journey to Thiruvannamalai.

Once he reached Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi never left the place. The whole of his life he spent in Thiruvannamalai meditating and preaching.

Initially, he meditated within the temple complex of Sri Arunachaleshwarar and in the caves of the holy hill Arunachala. LaterA small ashram was built by devotees. It is functioning today as Sri Ramanasrmam.

His path is the Jnana Marga or the path of wisdom. The core of his teachings is self-enquiry – “Who am I?” and “What is my real nature?” Ramana Maharishi said that such relentless pursuit of one’s real nature will lead to the conclusion that we are not the bodies, not the minds nor the intellects. And as we go on peeling off the layers - I am not this, I am not that, what will be left will be the real Self. The eternal, ever glowing and all-knowing Self. It is the same and single reality that pervades everything.

My Encounter with Ramana Maharishi

As children we used to visit a small community called, “Ramana Kendra”, where prayers and bhajans were held. It also used to have a white marble statue of a saint called Ramana Maharishi. People used to sing songs in his praise. As a child, I too used to sing even though I knew very little about him.

As a youth I remember my father relating the story of his personal meeting with Sri Ramana Maharishi.

My father was a sceptic and doubted all godmen. Having heard about Sri Ramana Maharishi he had gone to Thiruvannamalai to meet him. In the middle of the night, my father went to the hall where the sage used to usually sit to check on what the man is doing. To my father’s utter surprise the saint was sitting motionless, his eyes wide open, staring into seemingly nothingness. He was in a trance immersed in bliss. He gestured my father to sit and continued his gaze in silence.

After sitting for a while my father had left filled with peace, the saint continuing his motionless state.

My father had told me, “Then I realized that the man I am confronting is no ordinary human but a rare saint.

Time passed. I totally forgot Ramana Maharishi and pursued a materialistic and hedonistic life.

One bright morning when I was a young man of about thirty I read a full-page article in a popular newspaper about a god-man who lived in Thiruvannamalai. The article claimed that the saint called Visiri Samiyar never had a bath but his body emanates a fragrance. He also was said to have a sweet voice and would sing songs in praise of Lord Ram.

One weekend my younger brother and I set out to Thiruvannamalai meet this supposed saint.

Early in the morning the next day after a good night’s sleep with rum and cola, we set out in search of this god-man. After a lot of enquiries and searching here and there we found him. To our utter dismay, we found him smoking a cigarette and reading the popular English newspaper The Hindu. There is nothing wrong with either smoking or reading an English newspaper it is only that we expected it the least. Still, we bowed and placed the offering of banana fruits at his feet. He gently enquired in English from where we came and dismissed us by advising us to go to Ramana Maharishi’s ashram, stay for a few days and then go back. We bowed and left.

Though totally unprepared for such a journey we did find our way to Sri Ramana Asramam.

On entering I remember seeing a big board depicting a deer with its neck caught in the jaws of a tiger caught my attention. In the inscription the saint proclaims that the spiritual seeker who comes to Him is like the deer firmly caught in the jaws of a tiger (with no escape) and that He will let go only after the seeker attains enlightenment.

Despite visiting without prior arrangements we managed to get accommodation in the ashram and stayed a for a few days.

To this day I find that despite many wayward and materialistic patches of morass I was always pulled back to the central spiritual line.

Today my wife and I live a spiritual life. 

Ramana Maharishi seems to be keeping his word.

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