Who am I? 

"Solve this great problem and you solve all other problems" 
- Sri Ramana Maharshi

Bhagwan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Bhagwan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sri Ramana Maharshi - The Saint of Arunachala Mountain in South India

“The only useful purpose of the present birth is to turn within and realize the Self”

Arunachala Drawing by Ramana Maharshi

Ramana's Awakening

In 1896 the 16-year-old boy Venkataraman challenged death by a penetrating enquiry into the source of his being. The following awakening intuitively led him to the holy mountain Arunachala in South India. Here he spent years of solitude meditating in temples and caves. Later in life he became known as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi and attracted many spiritual seekers to his ashram on the foothill of Arunachala mountain. Every visitor received teachings according to their own level of understanding and priority for freedom. Often, he would simply transmit his teachings through deep silence, or he would teach the method of Self-Enquiry.

“Arunachala! You root out the ego of those who meditate on you in the heart. Oh Arunachala!"

- Sri Ramana Maharshi

Arunachala

Arunachala Mountain is one of five holy places dedicated to Shiva in South India. Sri Ramana Ashram is situated at its foothills. According to the legend Brahma and Vishnu were arguing over which one of them was superior. To settle the dispute Shiva entered and used his awesome powers to manifest as a column of light which then turned into the form of Arunachala.

Ramana Maharshi said that whereas other holy places such as Varanasi and Rishikesh are important abodes of Shiva, Arunachala Mountain is Shiva himself.

It is a place that provides true self-knowledge (jnana) and because this is not wanted by many people Arunachala remains relatively unknown. To those who truly seek knowledge of the Self, this mountain will always make itself known through one way or the other.

“Just drop all seeking, turn your attention inward, and sacrifice your mind to the One Self radiating in the Heart of your very being.”

- Sri Ramana Maharshi

Bhagwan Sri Ramana Maharshi reading

Self-Enquiry: Bringing the Mind Back to the Self

Ramana Maharshi terms Self-Enquiry as “the most sacred of sacred.” Truly, it is a revolutionary method in spirituality. Ramana explains the reason this practice is uniquely effective: “What is essential in any sadhana [spiritual practice] is to try to bring back the running mind and fix it on one thing only. Why then should it not be brought back and fixed in Self-attention (To this feeling of ‘I’)? That alone is Self-Enquiry. That is all that is to be done!” 

This question itself is born from Stillness and it is also fed from the silence that we sometimes create in our mind and in our being. Thus, because of silence, a spontaneous inward awareness of who we are naturally appears.

John David’s Connection to Ramana Maharshi

“Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi came into my life quietly, imperceptibly, through a photograph twenty years ago, and has become a central inspiration in my life. 

Thank you for the exemplary life you led and for the simplicity and clarity with which you guide us. The question “Who am I?” has provided a golden key to all who wish to know their essential nature.”

– John David

Sri Ramana Maharshi was the teacher of John David’s Indian teacher Papaji.  So, it is natural that John David considers Ramana his own root teacher. For 20 years he has conducted a January retreat near Arunachala mountain, and it has been an excellent way to continuously revitalise his heartfelt connection to Ramana.

John David finds Self-Enquiry to be the most direct way of giving spiritual seekers a spontaneous glimpse of the True Self. During retreats John David often dedicates a whole day to intense practice of Self-Enquiry. Participants sit together face to face and ask each other “Who are you?”. Over time that all conceptual answers to the question falls away and a monumental silence permeates the entire room.

Documentary Film about Sri Ramana Maharshi

“Arunachala Shiva – Teachings of Ramana Maharshi” is a film tribute from John David where he together with David Godman and James Swartz offer thought-provoking expert commentaries on the life and teachings of Ramana.

Books about Ramana Maharshi

The Teachings of 
Sri Ramana Maharshi

Beautifully illustrated with 100 photographs, Arunachala Shiva paints an intimate picture of Bhagwan Sri Ramana Maharishi’s life and takes us behind the scenes to moments with his closest disciples.
New Commentaries lay out his teachings and offer unexpected and astonishing insights. The many different perspectives allow the reader to find their own deeper understanding.

Nan Yar - Who am I ?
by Sri Ramana Maharshi

A classic spiritual text from one of the greatest Indian teachers, Sri Ramana Maharshi, and one of the most important books of the 20th Century. Containing the essence of his teachings, it lights the way for a clear, practical understanding and 

realization of spiritual awakening / Enlightenment. It shows a way to find true happiness within yourself. A beautifully designed edition, the original text has been set to touching quotes and wonderful digital remastered photographs of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Ramana Maharshi - Dialogues and Stories

Vishwanatha Aiyyer and the Monkey

Q.: How did Bhagavan finally persuade that boy, Vishwanatha Aiyyer, to return home?
B.: I did not. On that night when he was sleeping outside the ashram, I was sitting some distance away from the boy when I noticed that Shabarigirisan was sitting blissfully alone on the roof of the ashram, staring at the full moon in great contentment. When I looked at him, the languor [monkey] leaped down, pressed some ginger shoots into my hands and took them back; then he climbed back and was for sometime ingesting them. Then he did something nobody will believe. He came near us, poised himself on the floor in the Bakāsanam, and softly began whistling [or screeching], perfectly, the tune corresponding to ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu…’.

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Obstacles which Hinder Realisation of the Self.

Q: What are the obstacles which hinder Realisation of the Self?
B.: They are habits of mind (vasanas).

Q: What are the aids for Realisation?
B.: Introversion of mind is the one and only aid.

Q.: How can I achieve the same?
B.: By preventing the mind from straying out after thoughts, desires and imagined objects of sensory perception.

Q.: What are vasanas?
B.: Habits of thought, accumulated tendencies of mind, and intellectual proclivities.

Q.: How does one get rid of these hindrances?
B.: Seek the Self through meditation in this manner: trace every thought back to its point of origin

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Sri Gajapathi Healed and Attacked

The master laughs like a child and says softly,
“The redeeming power of Love alone makes one worthy of Grace. If you have a heart that knows to truly Love, be assured that you have the instrument in your hands with which to win over Emancipation. Love alone is the கடப்பாைர with which to prise open the terrifically strong knot of the Heart.”

The words make the hairs all over my body stand on end; a thrill of sheer, ecstatic joy runs up my spine, and I shudder involuntarily.

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Mrs. Piggot Introduces the Ashram And Bhagavan’s Meetings in 1934

I had visited India on several occasions prior to this trip, but this was
my maiden venture off the beaten track.
I was told of Sri Ramana Maharshi, and even from the little I heard, I knew I would travel anywhere and put up with any inconvenience in order to meet him and experience the sanctity of his presence. The friend who gave me the welcome news of the Maharshi’s existence offered to take me to him, and so we arrived at Tiruvannamalai late one afternoon.

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A Typical Western Visitor’s In-Depth Dialogue with Bhagavan

Time and again I have observed that the Maharshi emphasises that Realisation was more the result of Guru’s Grace rather than anything else. I had been in despair of ever again getting the Maharshi alone. It is hard to unburden the soul before a crowd.
One morning I resolutely made my way into the Hall a few hours earlier than usual and found him there unattended, emanating his usual wonderful stillness and ineffable peace. I asked quietly if I might talk with him. He nodded, smiling, and sent for someone to translate. On the arrival of a devotee, I put my first question.

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The Play Around Bhagavan

B.: The genuine state of Self is the non-dual Sahaja-stithi [ ]. This cannot be experienced because in that state there is no experiencer. Whatever is experienced is only unreal and illusory. The fact that an experiencer is available to assert ‘I experience.’ shows that all experiences are futile and worthless. ‘Who is the experiencer?’ is what we must find out. Some think experiencing bliss means that the Self is Realised. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bliss is a dangerous distraction.

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Photos of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi in ramanashram

Sri Ramana Biography

1879 Dec 30
1896 July
1896 Sept I
1897 Feb
1898
1902
1906-07
1907
1916
1916
1922
1920s
1920s
1927-1942
1930s
1940s
1949
1950 April 14 

Born in Tiruchuzhi, Tamil Nadu, South India,  as Venkataraman
Spiritural Awakening aged sixteen
Arrived at Arunachala aged sixteen
Moved to Gurumurtham
Moved to Virupaksha Cave aged twenty
Gave first recorded teaching Who Am I? aged twenty-two
Recovered his speech
Given the name Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
Mother arrived to live at Virupaksha Cave
Moved to Skanda Ashram age thirty-seven
Mother died and later Bhagavan moved down the hill
Bhagavan rewrote and published Who Am I?
Simple bamboо ashram buildings constructed
Stone ashram buildings constructed
Paul Brunton visited
New granite Hall built in front of Mother’s Shrine
Cancer appeared on Bhagavan’s arm Moved very ill to live in Samadhi Room
Bhagavan passed away at 8.47pm