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Copyright 2002 Realization.org.



  REFERENCE
 
 

Ramana Maharshi

1879 –1950


Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi was probably the most famous Indian sage of the twentieth century. He was renowned for his saintly life, for the fullness of his self-realization, and for the feelings of deep peace that visitors experienced in his presence. So many people came to see him at the holy hill of Arunchala where he spent his adult life that an ashram had to be built around him. He answered questions for hours every day, but never considered himself to be anyone's guru.



   BIOGRAPHY

He was born on December 30, 1879 in a village called Tirucculi about 30 miles south of Madurai in southern India. His middle-class parents named him Venkataraman. His father died when he was twelve, and he went to live with his uncle in Madurai, where he attended American Mission High School.

At age 16, he became spontaneously self-realized. Six weeks later he ran away to the holy hill of Arunachala where he would remain for the rest of his life. For several years he stopped talking and spent many hours each day in samadhi. When he began speaking again, people came to ask him questions, and he soon acquired a reputation as a sage. In 1907, when he was 28, one of his early devotees named him Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, Divine Eminent Ramana the Great Seer, and the name stuck. Eventually he became world-famous and an ashram was built around him. He died of cancer in 1950 at the age of 70.

 
Ramana Maharshi was born 30 kilometers south of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India.

His Self-Realization

At age 16, he heard somebody mention "Arunachala." Although he didn't know what the word meant (it's the name of a holy hill associated with the god Shiva) he became greatly excited. At about the same time he came across a copy of Sekkilar's Periyapuranam, a book that describes the lives of Shaivite saints, and became fascinated by it. In the middle of 1896, at age 16, he was suddenly overcome by the feeling that he was about to die. He lay down on the floor, made his body stiff, and held his breath. "My body is dead now," he said to himself, "but I am still alive." In a flood of spiritual awareness he realized he was spirit, not his body.

His Guru

Ramana Maharshi didn't have a human guru (other than himself). He often said that his guru was Arunachala, a holy mountain in South India.

His Teachings

Ramana Maharshi taught a method called self-inquiry in which the seeker focuses continuous attention on the I-thought in order to find its source. In the beginning this requires effort, but eventually something deeper than the ego takes over and the mind dissolves in the heart center. For more information, see our page on Self-Inquiry.

Where To Obtain Books and Videos

The ashram founded by Sri Ramana publishes all his writings and many books about him. You can purchase directly from the ashram in India or from its American affiliate.

Several online bookstores carry a large number of publications by and about Sri Ramana.

In the U.S. contact AHAM, Blue Dove, Books Beyond Words, and Kalpataru.

In France, contact InnerQuest.


Photos of Sri Ramana Maharshi copyright Sri Ramanasramam and others. Used by permission.

 


   RELATED PAGES ON THIS SITE

Self-Inquiry
This is our reference page on the main technique taught by Ramana Maharshi.

Self-Enquiry
By Sri Ramana Maharshi
This is Ramana's first work, written in 1901 when he was 22 years old. He explains how to practice self-enquiry and gives an overview of other methods for attaining self-realization. This translation is by T.M.P. Mahadevan.

Forty Verses on Reality
By Sri Ramana Maharshi
The most comprehensive statement of Ramana's teachings written by himself.

David Godman
David Godman is the most important living writer of books about Ramana Maharshi and his disciples. This reference page leads to excerpts from David Godman's books and many other items related to Sri Ramana.

Advaita Vedanta
Our main page about the philosophy behind Ramana's teachings. Contains an article, links, and book recommendations.

What Ramana's I-I Feels Like
By Anonymous

One of Ramana's devotees describes what it felt like to experience the Self for the first time.

Nothing Existed Except the Eyes of the Maharshi
by N.R. Krishnamurti Aiyer
Ramana Maharshi's gaze ignited a college professor's Kundalini and caused his heart center to open.

My Meeting With Ramana Maharshi
By Mercedes de Acosta
A Hollywood screenwriter, famous for love affairs with beautiful movie stars, describes the three-day visit with Ramana Maharshi which she later called the most important event of her life.

U.G. Krishnamurti's Meeting With Ramana Maharshi
Krishnamurti's account of what was said.

Ramana's First Person Is Really a Place
By Elena Gutierrez
One of Ramana's best-known remarks about his method of self-enquiry loses something important in translation.



   RECOMMENDED WRITINGS BY RAMANA MAHARSHI

Be As You Are
Edited by David Godman
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
This superb compilation of Ramana Maharshi's writings and dialogues is the best available single volume about his teachings. It covers all aspects of Sri Ramana's teachings and arranges them in the order preferred by Sri Ramana himself, with the most important or highest teachings first. The editor, David Godman, is one of the world's foremost experts on Sri Ramana.
Where to order it

Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
Paperback.
251 pages.
Published by Arkana (Penguin Books).
ISBN 0140190627.



Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
By Sri Ramana Maharshi
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
For serious students of Ramana Maharshi, this is the Bible, the most comprehensive single volume of Sri Ramana's teachings. It contains 668 pages of transcripts of conversations he held between 1935 and 1939 with visitors who traveled to south India from all over the world to ask for advice from the man whom many regard as the greatest realized teacher of the twentieth century. The text, translated here into English from the three Indian languages used by Ramana, is slightly stilted but nonetheless lucid, direct, literate, and pleasant to read. Part of the book is on the Web here.
Where to order it

In India:
Sri Ramanasramam
In Europe:
InnerQuest
In the U.S.:
Arunachala Ashrama
AHAM
Kalpataru
BlueDove
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
Indian edition:
Hardcover.
657 pages.
Published by Sri Ramanasramam.
ISBN 1895959446
American edition:
Paperback
552 pages
Published by Inner Directions
ISBN 1878019007



Ramana Maharshi and His Philosophy of Existence
By T.M.P. Mahadevan
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
This small book contains the best English translation of Ramana Maharshi's most important work and the most sophisticated academic discussion of Ramana Maharshi's teachings that have been done to date. The book's author, T.M.P. Mahadevan, was a devotee of Ramana Maharshi and a distinguished academic expert on Advaita. The book contains a variety of interesting pieces: Mahadevan's biography of Sri Ramana; Mahadevan's translation with commentary of Sri Ramanas's Forty Verses on Existence (including the Supplement) which is Sri Ramana's most complete statement of his teachings; four fascinating essays about Sri Ramana by Mahadevan; the Tamil texts of Forty Verses and its Supplement in transliterated roman type; and a glossary of Sanskrit terms. For devotees of Sri Ramana who have a sophisticated interest in philosophy or an intellectual bent, this book is indispensable. Some parts of this book are available for free on the Sri Ramanasramam website.

Where to order it

In India:
Sri Ramanasramam
In the U.S.:
Arunachala Ashrama

· · · · · · · · · · · ·
Ramana Maharshi and His Philosophy of Existence
By T.M.P. Mahadevan
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
Paperback.
137 pages.
Published by Sri Ramanasramam (1959).
(No ISBN number).


Who Am I?
by Sri Ramana Maharshi
One of Ramana's earliest works, dictated to a student in 1902. Explains the method of self-enquiry in question-and-answer form. On the web here.

Spiritual Instruction
by Sri Ramana Maharshi
Another compilation of questions and answers by a student. On the web here.



   RECOMMENDED CD

Arunacha-Ramana
This CD includes 1400 photographs, the complete set of The Maharshi Newsletter going back to 1991, and more. Click here for more information.


   RECOMMENDED WRITINGS BY OTHERS

Living By The Words of Bhagavan
By David Godman
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
This book is a biography of Annamalai Swami who became Self-realized after many years of effort and intimate association with his guru, Ramana Maharshi. This book is unusual in two ways. First, it paints the most intimate portrait of Ramana Maharshi that we've ever seen, based on Annamalai Swami's ten years of interactions with Sri Ramana, first as his personal attendant and then as supervisor of building projects at Sri Ramanasraman. Second, unlike other Self-realized disciples of Sri Ramana whose biographies and advice have been published, Annamalai Swami worked very hard for many years to realize the Self, making his advice especially useful to seekers for whom Self-realization does not come easily. The final section of the book contains transcripts of conversations that Annamalai Swami held with seekers in the 1980s.
Where to order it

In North America:
AHAM, Kalpataru,
BlueDove.
In Europe: InnerQuest.
Elsewhere:
contact the publisher:
 · · · · · · · · · · · ·
Hardcover.
367 pages.
(No ISBN number).
 · · · · · · · · · · · ·
Published by Sri Annamalai Swami Ashram Trust., Sri Ramanasramam P.O., Tiruvannamalai 606603, Tamil Nadu, India



The Path of Sri Ramana, Part One
By Sri Sadhu Om
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
The definitive version of Ramana Maharshi's teachings is contained in his writings such as Forty Verses on Reality. Unfortunately, his works aren't easy to read. Most of them are written in a terse, classical style of Tamil poetry which is not easily understood even by many educated Tamils. In order to understand him, most of us must therefore rely on translations and commentaries. This book is possibly the best of that kind because it was written by a skilled Tamil poet who was also a close disciple of Ramana's. It contains 145 pages of exact instructions for practicing self-inquiry plus literal English translations of several of Ramana's works. In this volume, part one of the work, the author covers Jnana Marga (self-enquiry); part two deals with Bhakti Marga (surrender).
Where to order it

In India:
Sri Ramanasramam
In Europe:
InnerQuest
In the U.S.:
Arunachala Ashrama
AHAM
Kalpataru
BlueDove
· · · · · · · · · · · ·
Paperback.
657 pages.
Published in 1971 by Sri Ramana Kshetra (Kanvashrama Trust), Tiruvannamalai, India.
(No ISBN number.)



My Reminscences
By N. Reddy Balarama
This enjoyable, illuminating book shows what it was like to live at Ramana Maharshi's ashram under his guidance. Click here for a longer description.


Sri Ramana Reminscences
By G.V. Subbaramayya
This beautifully written, candid memoir by a college professor reveals a great deal about his childlike dependence on Ramana Maharshi, but most readers will find it tedious and effete. Click here for a longer description.


A Search in Secret India
By Paul Brunton
A famous modern classic that has sold more than a quarter million copies, this book describes an English doctor's search for a guru in India in the early part of the twentieth century. After meeting many acclaimed yogis, he decides his true guru is Sri Ramana Maharshi and returns to Arunachala for several weeks of intensive instruction. The final chapters describe the oral teachings given to Brunton by Ramana and the subjective experience of practicing Ramana's method, including the first sudden experience of the true Self.


   RECOMMENDED READING ON OTHER SITES

Biography
A biography of Ramana by T.M.P. Mahadevan is on the web here.

What Is Meditation?
By Mouni Sadhu

A devotee of Ramana's explains the technique of self-enquiry.

The Direct Path
By Mouni Sadhu

Another article by Mouni Sadhu, a devotee of Ramana's, explaining the technique of self-enquiry.

   


   RECOMMENDED LINKS

Sri Ramanasramam
The website of the ashram where Ramana Maharshi lived. This is the main website for information and books regarding him.

David Godman's Writings on Ramana Maharshi
Essays and interviews by David Godman, author of thirteen books about Ramana Maharshi and other jnanis.

Who Are You?
Superb web animation that illustrates many of Ramana's ideas. By Kees Schreuders and and Jan van Delden.

The Maharshi Newsletters
Published by a Canadian ashram and reproduced on Amber's Advaita website.

Arunachaleswar Temple
Information about the temple where Ramana lived. Includes photograph. On the website of anthropologist-photographer Martin Gray.

Arunachala Ashrama
American ashram affiliated with Sri Ramanashramam in India. Located in New York City. Telephone (718) 575-3215.

Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK
Monthly meetings are open to the public; triannual journal and newsletter.

   

This page was published on January 6, 2000 and
last revised on April 25, 2003.
 

Copyright 2002 Realization.org