Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Biography
Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950) is widely acknowledged as one of the outstanding Indian gurus of modern times. He was born as Venkataraman Iyer, in Tamil Nadu (South India).
At the age of sixteen, he lost his sense of individual selfhood, an awakening which he later recognized as ‘enlightenment’. A few weeks thereafter he travelled to the holy mountain Arunachala, at Tiruvannamalai, where he remained for the rest of his life.
His first years were spent in solitude, but his stillness and his appearance as a holy man soon attracted devotees. In later years, he provided answers to devotees questions but always insisted that silence was the purest teaching. His verbal teachings flowed from his own understanding of Reality. Venkataraman was renamed Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi by one of his earliest followers, Ganapati Muni. This was the name he became known by to the world. In later years, a community grew up around him, where he was available twenty-four hours a day to visitors.
Though worshipped by thousands, he never allowed anyone to treat him as special, or received personal gifts. He treated all beings with equal respect. Since the 1930s, his teachings have also been popularized in the West.
In response to questions on self-liberation and the classic texts on Yoga and Vedanta, Ramana recommended self-enquiry as the principal way to awaken to the “I-I”, realizing the Self and attaining liberation. He also recommended Bhakti Yoga (the Yoga of Devotion), and gave his recommendation to a variety of paths and practices.