Bhagwan Sri Ramana Maharshi
The Saint of Arunachala Mountain in South India
Who am I?
"Solve this great problem and you solve all other problems"
- Sri Ramana Maharshi
- Sri Ramana Maharshi
NEW: Aham Sphurana – A Glimpse of Self Realisation
Fascinating dialogues and stories of Sri Ramana Maharshi recorded by Sri Gajapathi Aiyyer in the summer 1936, at Ramana Ashram.
This book contains a selection from the complete manuscript Aham Sphurana. This selection, a brilliant treasure, speaks for itself. Beside the detailed teachings on Self-Enquiry, Surrender and Jnana, it exposes a new glimpse of Bhagavan’s personal day-to-day life at fifty-six, in his middle age.
The Book is available in English and German, as Ebook and Paperback.
1879 Dec 30
1896 Sept I
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
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.
“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
“Arunachala! You root out the ego of those who meditate on you in the heart. Oh Arunachala!"
- Sri Ramana Maharshi
Arunachala Drawing by Ramana Maharshi
Arunachala, oh holy mountain high,
A beacon of light that touches the sky,
In Tamil Nadu, your presence is felt,
A sacred abode where pilgrims melt.
Your peak so majestic, adorned with grace,
A source of wonder for those who trace,
The path that leads to your lofty peak,
A journey of faith that’s truly unique.
From Ramana’s cave to Girivalam’s round,
Devotees seek blessings that abound,
Arunachala, your power so vast,
Transforms lives, with every step they cast.
In the glow of the full moon’s light,
The hill shines bright, a mystical sight,
Arunachala, you hold the key,
To unlock the secrets of eternity.
Your name alone, a mantra so pure,
That touches hearts, and makes them sure,
That the divine resides in your soul,
Arunachala, you make us whole.
So we bow to you, with reverence and love,
And offer our prayers to the heavens above,
For Arunachala, you are the way,
To find the truth, and light our way.
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.
Every year in January, John David offers an intensive Retreat at the feet of the holy hill.
The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi
Self Enquiry: Bringing the Mind Back to the Self
Self-Enquiry is in the words of Ramana Maharshi “the most sacred of sacred.” It is indeed a radical spiritual method. Ramana has explained why this practice is singularly 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? That alone is Self-Enquiry. That is all that is to be done!”
This question of “Who am I?” comes from a space of deep Stillness, and is also nurtured from the same silence which sometimes spontaneously appear in our mind and in our being. In this way there can occur an instant inner recognition of who we really are.
“The only useful purpose of the present birth is to turn within and realize the Self”
- Sri Ramana Maharshi
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.
Ramana Maharshi - Dialogues and Stories
Q: So, is this state of consciousness steadily remaining merely as Itself, undisturbed by thought, called the Sahajastithi?
B: No. It is called Aham Sphurana.
Q: Then what is the Sahajastithi?
B: No description is possible. The reflected being — consciousness which is localised in a physical body — is destroyed; after this is destroyed, that alone remains which has always been.
B.: Why all these fancy items? You yourself have family-members who are suffering from asthma: is that not so? Is this body more important than or in any way superior to those bodies? How is it that ignoring them you have brought this medicine over to me? If you give this to those who truly need it, they will feel happy. I have no use for such things. I cannot think “Oh! we are taking medicine for our good health.” and feel elated. [smiling, in demure fashion saying—] I hope you are not angry with me…!
I was told that the Maharshi had his finger on the pulse of the whole ashram, although he appeared prima facie totally unconcerned with all mundane affairs. For instance, when in the Hall, he was supposed to know what was going on even in the kitchen — and incidentally I was surprised to find that he himself assisted in the cutting up of vegetables for the daily meal.
I was also told that he knows what is passing in the minds of people. Of this latter ability, I had a small personal experience.
Mind is only a notion. Have you ever investigated into what it actually is?
GL.: No… I seem to have taken its existence for granted so long.
B.: That is the mistake. The mind is accepted as being the Self. The Self is always – whereas the mind appears and disappears. Is there any mind in deep slumber? But your Self is always there. The mind, which has deluded itself into imagining that it is a mortal with a physical form living in an objectively real world as its perceiver, is beset with limitations.
On the other hand, pure Subjective Consciousness knows no limitation.
Q.: I have heard that Bhagawan once spoke highly of Schopenhauer.
B.: He has discovered that the world is an inherently and incorrigibly unhappy place; he has also discovered that man’s true purpose is happiness; furthermore, he states correctly that extirpation of one’s personal will leads to Emancipation. However, what seems to be missing is practical technique. How shall the wille-zum-leben, which is the cause for all suffering, be defeated and annihilated?
More Dialogues with Sri Ramana and Stories about the Life in the Ashram