Who is Ramana Maharshi ?

Sri Ramana Maharshi, was a Jnani (enlightened saint) of the highest order and is the world’s greatest Advaita saint along with Sri Adi Shankara 700 AD. Ramana Maharshi arrived in Tiruvannamalai at the age of 16, due to the call of the divine from his inner self and spent his whole life with Arunachala. Ramana Maharshi proposed that god is not someone apart from us and taught the Jnana Marga – The direct path to enlightenment. By seeking the self with self enquiry of “who am I” is the direct path to liberation declared Sri Ramana Maharshi. Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi’s devotees consider Ramana Mahrashi as Lord Shiva himself.

Ramana Maharshi Childhood and Early Life

Ramana Maharshi’s birth name was Venkataraman  and he was born on 30th December in 1879 at Tiruchuzhi, a village in the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu. At the age of twelve Ramana’s father passed away. The children went to live with their paternal uncle at Madurai. At Madurai, Ramana was first sent to Scott’s Middle School and then to the American Mission High School. In the summer of 1896. Ramana had his death experience, which made him realize that only the body dies and the spirit is deathless.

Ramana Maharshi Life and Teachings

Ramana Maharshi spent his entire life in Tiruvannamalai, living in the Arunachala mountain and then later on near the foothill of Arunachala hill, which is now called Ramana Ashram. Ramana taught that self realization was the only way to see and attain god. This could be achieved only by self enquiry of who am I and seeking the source of all thoughts that arise within us. When the ego is eradicated and the “I” is subdued by the self enquiry of who am I, then the divine self alone shines and exists as true god. Ramana Maharshi explained that god exists in the heart of all living soul and seeking the self by self enquiry of “who am I” leads to liberation and enlightenment. Ramana Maharshi always insisted on being a vegetarian as a respect to all living beings and to surrender and devote one’s life to god always.

Spirituality & Philosophy

Ramana Maharshi is one of the most unique and rarest saint’s in the world who explained the truth of god, life and death due to his direct experience with god. Ramana Maharshi explained that the world is a illusion created by the mind and hence creating the duality. Ramana Maharshi clearly stated that everything in life happens as per one’s destiny and karma. Life and death are both pre- determined and god controls the world. The only purpose and duty of humans is to liberate and enlighten themselves by self enquiry of “who am I”. The cause of all misery is due to the ego that creates ignorance and arrogance by mistaking the body as ”I”. Hence if we realize the true “I” by seeking the self within our self, then the truth and path to god can be realized.


Advaita means oneness and non duality. Advaita is often translated as “non-dualism” though it literally means “non-secondness.” It means to identify oneself with the Absolute, which is the true self that prevails within us and he is the supreme lord that pervades as the entire universe. It means we and god were identical and the same. Non-duality means the entire cosmos exists within the Absolute, but itself has no intrinsic reality. According to Advaita philosophy, the world has no separate existence apart from Brahman – The “self”. The experiencing self (jīva) and the transcendental self of the Universe (atman) are identical, though the individual self seems different as space within a container seems different from space as such.


The spiritual town of Tiruvannamalai also known as Arunachala, is one of the most sacred places in the world.It is here that Lord Shiva manifests himself as Arunachala Shiva in the form of  Arunachala Mountain. Tiruvannamalai is also popularly known as as “Tiru” in short to millions of western tourists visiting Tiruvannamalai. Tiruvannamalai or Aruṇachala is also known by other names as Arunachalam, Arunagiri, Arunai, Sonagiri and Sonachalam. Tiruvannamalai is the hub for spiritual lovers and for those seeking the path of Advaita or non duality. It is for this primal path that millions of people travel to Tiruvannamalai to seek the self and to enlighten themselves to the highest truth in this human life. Many foreign tourists and Indians from all over India stay here in the magnetic presence of Arunachala hill and Ramana Ashram for long duration and continue their spiritual sadhana for liberation and enlightenment.


The holy hill of Arunachala is situated in Tiruvannamalai, South India. Ramana Maharshi considered Arunachala mountain to be the spiritual axis of the earth. Like flowers attract bees, Aruncahala has been drawing mystics, masters, yogis, truth seekers and enlightened beings from time immemorial. Many saints and Jnani’s acknowledge Arunachala as the supreme Jnana-Guru who can bless you to merge your mind (thoughts) into your Hrudayam ( Heart) Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi confirmed this fact. Of the five naturally occurring elements or manifestation ( Earth,Water,Air,Sky,Fire), Arunachala represents the element of fire. Arunachala Shiva is pure consciousness and represented by the element of fire.

Ramana Maharshi Ashram

After the death of Ramana Maharshi’s mother Alagammal in May 1922, Sri Ramana Maharshi buried and created a Samadhi for her at the foothill of Arunachala mountain. Ramana Maharshi often used to walk from Skandashram, on top of the hill  to his mother’s tomb. One day in December 1922  Ramana did not return to Skandashram, and settled at the base of Arunachala hill permanently. Thus Sri Ramanasramam came into being. Ramana Maharshi said: “Not of my own accord I moved from Skandasramam. Something placed me here and I obeyed.” Ramana Maharishi lived here from 1922 to 1950 before attaining Mahanirvana and merging with Arunachala permanently .The samadhi of Ramana maharishi and the shrine of Bhagavan’s mother Alagammal are maintained here. Millions of tourists visit Tiruvannamalai for the sole purpose of visiting Ramanasramam and involving themselves in self enquiry and teachings of Ramana Maharishi.

Ramana Maharshi Followers

Ramana Maharshi has many devotees from across the word from all religions and faith. Some of the famous devotes are – British playwright and author W. Somerset Maugham, Author and Hollywood celebrity Mercedes De Acosta, Decorated World War II and Korean War veteran William Samuel and other well known dignitaries like Frank H. Humphreys, M. A. Piggott, Henri Le Saux – a French Benedictine monk, Robert Adams and Paul Burton.

Indian saints like Shankaracharya of Puri, Ma Anandamayi, Sri Lakshmana Swamy,Yogananda, Papaji, Sri Narayana Guru, Swami Ramdas and many other saints have visited Ramana Maharshi or Ramana Ashram at some time or the other. Top leaders like former Indian president Dr Radhakrishnan and Former Prime Minister Moraji Desai visited Ramana Maharshi to get his blessings. The Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and many other leaders too have visited Ramana Maharshi’s Samadhi in Ramanasramam.

10 Facts About Ramana Maharshi

  • Ramana Maharshi arrived in Tiruvannamalai at the age of 16 and never left Tiruvannamalai all his life.
  • In his earlier years of life,Ramana Maharshi used to go from house to house and request food.
  • Ramana Maharshi did not learn Vedas from books but experienced them with his own self realization.
  • Ramana Maharshi never condemned anyone and was sympathetic to everyone.
  • He treated all living beings as the same. All animals were treated with respect and equality.
  • Bhagavan would not allow anyone to harm even mosquitoes.
  • Ramana Maharshi advised everyone to be strict vegetarians.
  • Bhagavan’s used to always gaze at Arunachala mountain or his eyes would be closed in deep Samadhi.
  • Ramana understood many language and even spoke a few of them perfectly.
  • Ramana Maharshi was never worried about his body. He clearly believed that the body depends on karma and not on the food and vitamins.

Ramana Maharshi Meditation

Ramana Maharshi’s only advice was to mediate and abide in the heart. Ramana Mahrashi always asked to do self enquiry (atma vichara) – introspect and investigate who am I ? The Bhagavan used to say that whatever technique we use, whether it is japa or meditation one must merge with it and lose all sense of separate individuality. By constant meditation, one attains the state of tranquility, which is only another name for pure Consciousness.Meditation serves to keeps away all thoughts and silences the mind. Meditation varies according to the individual. It may be on an aspect of God, on a mantra, or on the Self, etc. Thus, any method, if taken earnestly and practiced sincerely, will result in elimination of the “I” and lead to the goal of Realization.

Ramana Maharshi Chants & Mantra

Aksharamanamalai, Sri Ramana Maharshi’s 108-verse hymn to Arunachala, is the most important hymn and song written by Sri Ramana Maharshi himself.The other hymns and chants written by Sri Ramana Maharshi are – Sri Arunachala Mahatmyam, Ulladu Narpadu ,Sri Arunachala Padikam, Sri Arunachala Ashtakam, Sri Arunachala Pancha Ratnam

Aksharamanamalai, Sri Ramana Maharshi’s 108-verse hymn to Arunachala, is the most important hymn and song written by Sri Ramana Maharshi himself.The other hymns and chants written by Sri Ramana Maharshi are – Sri Arunachala Mahatmyam, Ulladu Narpadu ,Sri Arunachala Padikam, Sri Arunachala Ashtakam, Sri Arunachala Pancha Ratnam

The main mantra that devotes of Sri Ramana Maharshi use is –“ Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya”

Ramana Maharshi Books

There are many books on Ramana Maharshi and his teaching. Here are a few –

The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi, Be as You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi by David Godman, The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi, Who Am I?, The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi, The Seven Steps to Awakening, Self Awareness Practice Instructions, How to Practice Self Inquiry, How Not to Get Lost in Concepts,Talks With Sri Ramana Maharshi, No mind, I am the self: The lives and teachings of Sri Lakshmana Swamy and Mathru Sri Sarada by David Godman,The False Self, Everything Is an Illusion, Ramana, Shankara and the Forty Verses: The Essential Teachings of Advaita, Origin of Spiritual Instruction,Inspiration and Encouragement on the Path to Self Realization, How to Live a Life that Knows Only Love, Self Enquiry ; Vichara Sangraham of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, A practical guide to know yourself: Conversations with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Saddarsanam and An Inquiry into the Revelation of Truth and Oneself, The Importance of Practice & Effort: Essentials for Self Realization, Parayana: The Poetic Works of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, The True Self, Erase The Ego,The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi in His Own Words, Truth Revealed: Sad-Vidya, Spirituelle Geschichten aus Indien, Forty Verses On Reality, Contemplating Who Am I?

Ramana Maharshi Quotes

Only  a Jnani (Enlightened saint) can be a Guru.

  • “God controls the fate of souls in accordance with their past and present karma. Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.”
  • “Doubts arise because of an absence of surrender.”
  • “Silence is most powerful. Speech is always less powerful than silence.”
  • Misery does not exist in reality but only in mere imagination.”
  • “Beyond the belief that something can be lost, there is nothing to lose.”
  • “Nobody doubts that he exists, though he may doubt the existence of God. If he finds out the truth about himself and discovers his own source, this is all that is required.”
  • “Peace is the inner nature of humankind. If you find it within yourself, you will then find it everywhere.”
  • “Without understanding yourself, what is the use of trying to understand the world?”
  • “A higher power is leading you; be led by the same. It knows what to do and how to do it.”
  • “You are the Supreme Being, and yet thinking yourself to be separate from it, you strive to become united with it. What is stranger than this?”

Ramana Maharshi Death and Samadhi

Ramana Maharshi left his mortal body to merge with Arunachala forever on the 10th of April, 1950 at 8.47 pm (20.47). Many of Ramana Maharshi’s ardent devotees begged him not to leave his body. Ramana Maharshi replied – “where can I go? I am here always. If You Look Within, I Am There.” At 8:47 p.m. the breathing stopped. There was no struggle, no spasm, none of the signs of death. At that very moment, a comet moved slowly across the sky, reached the peak of Arunachala hill and disappeared behind it. All the English and Tamil papers which arrived this morning from Madras referred to the meteor which had been seen in the sky all over the entire state of Madras at 8:47 on the night of April 14th by a large number of people in different places.

Ramana Maharshi Legacy

Ramana Maharshi’s legacy continues in the form of his blessings and teachings on seeking the self ( God) within us. For millions of devotes all over the world, Sri Ramana Maharshi is their guru and  god.Many thousands arrive everyday to Tiruvannamalai to visit the Samadhi of Ramana Maharshi to pay respect  and meditate on him. Like many others, Ramana Maharshi did not name any successor nor did Ramana Maharshi create any organization. He only created the Ramana Ashram trust to take care of Ramanasramam. Sri Ramana Maharshi helped enlighten many saints and the legacy of Sri Ramana Maharshi continues in the form of these Jnani’s who enlightened themselves with the grace of Ramana Maharshi.Sri Ramanasramam continues to carry out its noble duty everyday as per the wishes of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Ramana Maharshi FAQ

Sri Ramana Maharshi had no human guru to enlighten himself. This a very, very rare phenomenon.The almighty himself was Ramana Maharshi’s guru within himself. The Arunachala mountain was his Guru, his Self and his God. So, even though Ramana Maharshi did not have a Guru in a human form, his Guru did have a physical form as Arunachala Hill.

Ramana Maharshi’s fathers name was Sundaram and his mother was Azhagammal. He had two brothers Nagaswami and Nagasundaram, He also had a younger sister named Alamelu. In 1916, Ramana Maharshi younger brother, Nagasundaram (Niranjanananda) and Ramana Maharshi’s Mother Azhagammal arrived to live with him. The two of them were the only members of his family to stay with him permanently in Tiruvannamalai.

Everyone who visited and served Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi was blessed and would have reached the lotus feet of Arunachala. Also many great saints and leaders had visited Ramana Maharshi and experienced the truth of god. On record, we can say Sri Lakshmana Swamy was enlightened in the presence of Sri Ramana Maharshi in 1949 at the age of 24. He is a example of a Jnani from the Ramana Maharshi lineage. Sri Ramana Maharshi helped many others to experience the inner self and in their later lives few of them too were enlightened.

Ramana’s message was clear. The almighty controls the universe and everything in it. He lives in the soul of every living being. The only purpose of life is to seek the self and enlighten yourself. There is no other duty but to liberate yourself from the cycle of births.  By self enquiry of “who am I ?” you can realize the truth and you can destroy your ego, which is the cause of all your ignorance and arrogance. Surrender and abide in the self. This is the beautiful and true message of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi to mankind.


Sri Ramana Maharshi did not give importance to miracles and only blessed everyone with knowledge of the truth. After meeting Ramana Maharshi,many people have claimed to have experienced miracles, but Ramana Maharshi never claimed or agreed on them. He simply used to listen and say everything is the will of Arunachala. Sri Ramana Maharshi was a saint of the highest order and offered people knowledge & wisdom (Jnana). To perform siddhi and magic one needs a mind. Ramana was a Jnani and Jnani’s have no mind. Sri Ramana Maharshi’s blessings are blessings from Arunachala himself.

Sri Ramana Maharshi acknowledged Christ, Buddha and the Prophet as enlightened souls. He held all the religions in high respect and said the message of all religion is the same. Ramana Maharshi advised everyone to follow their own faith and said that god always lives in your Heart. Heart is Allah, Heart is Mohammad, Heart is Jesus Christ, Heart is Buddha, and Heart is Ramana.