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December 29th  2012

133rd Jayanti Celebrations of Bhagavan Sri ramanamaharshi


Early Years

Sri Guru Ramana Maharshi, previously named Venkataraman, was born in Tiruchuli village, Tamil Nadu, on 30th December 1879.

There was nothing about Venkataraman’s early years. He grew up as an average boy. When he was twelve, his father passed on, leaving the family to relocate to his paternal uncle’s home in Madurai. Though highly intelligent, Venkataraman was indifferent towards his studies.

It was during this period in his life, at the age of 16, when he heard the name of Tiruvannamalai from a visiting elderly relative. He had intuitively felt tha t Arunachala was something grand, mysterious and almost unreachable.

The very name ‘Arunachala’ cast a spell on Venkataraman. Referring to this incident the Sage says later on in one of his hymns to Arunachala:  Oh, great wonder! As an insentient hill it stands. Its action is difficult for anyone to understand.


From my childhood it appeared to my intelligence that Arunachala was something very great. But even when I came to know through another that it was the same as Tiruvannamalai I did not understand its meaning. When, stilling my mind, it drew me up to it, and I came close, I found that it was the Immovable.

Soon after, he developed a desire to renounce the world and move on the path of spirituality. Thus began his life as one of the greatest sages of India, Sri Ramana Maharshi.


It was about the middle of the year 1896; close to his seventeenth birthday, he sat up alone on the first floor of his uncle’s house, when a sudden and unmistakable fear of death gripped him. He felt he was going to die. Why this feeling? Why the feeling of impending death? He calmly reflected on death, as if it affected just a part of him. Immediately he lay down stretching his limbs out and holding them stiff as though rigor mortis had set in.

He held his breath and kept his lips tightly closed, so that to all outward appearance his body resembled a corpse. he thought:

“this body is now dead. It will be carried to the burning ground and burnt to ashes. But with the death, of this body am I dead? Is the body I? This body is silent and inert. But I feel the full force of my personality and even the voice of the “I” within me. So I am the Spirit transcending the body. The body dies but the Spirit that transcends it cannot be touched by death. That means I am the deathless Spirit”

Bhagavan Sri Ramana narrated this experience later on for the benefit of his devotees. He perceived the truth directly. ‘I’ was something very real, the only real thing. From then on, ‘I’ continued like the fundamental sruti note that underlies and blends with all the other notes. 

Thus young Venkataraman found himself on the peak of spirituality without pursuit. His ego was lost in the flood of Self-awareness. All of a sudden the boy transformed into a sage, with perfect Self-knowledge. The bigger change started to occur within him. The things that he had valued earlier now lost value. The spiritual values that were ignored till then became the only objects of his attention. School, studies, friends, and relations – none of these had now any significance for him. Humility, meekness, non-resistance and other virtues became his adornment. Avoiding company he preferred to sit alone, all-absorbed in concentration on the Self. He went to the Meenakshi Temple every day and experienced exaltation every time he stood before the images of the gods and the saints.

He would tear profusely. The new vision was constantly with him. He was unnerved even when family members rebuked him for his yogi-like behaviour. He grew less and less affected by his surroundings. He realized his call then. Within hours, he left a note to his brother along with the balance money which he was given to pay for fees for his brother and left home towards Arunachala. He was certain this journey was taking him to his father- Lord Arunachala. Nothing else mattered.

Although seeked out by family some years later, he refused to leave Tiruvannamalai. On one occasion, his mother begged and sobbed for his return. He wrote on a piece of paper:


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