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Born in Tamilnadu to a Brahmin Family, his life took a drastic turn when he was about sixteen years of age. After he attained enlightenment, he left home with only three rupees in his pocket. He made his way to Mount Arunachala, considered sacred by Hindus, at Tiruvannamalai. He lived in solitude in a cave there for 17 years. Gradually, he began to attract many devotees who felt in him a magnetic spiritual force of peace. As the number of disciples increased, in the 1920s an ashram was built for him at this mountain. Despite his increasing popularity, he wants to live a simple life. His life and teachings were of great simplicity and his only private possessions were a piece of loin cloth, a water pot and a walking stick.
He focused on the philosophy of advaita Vedanta. He spoke rarely and teach through the silence of his meditation. He instructed his followers to ask themselves, again and again, 'Who am 'I and this thought will lead in the end to the discovery of something within our real self which is behind the mind, all our problems would be solved.
Ramana attained mukthi in the year 1950. Devotees believe that Ramana -though no longer in his body continues to magnify his presence here like an invisible force field.
Situated at the foot of Arunachala hill, the ashram is a large, well maintained ashram bordered by shady trees. Its international reputation is confirmed by the many foreign visitors who visits here. One can see monkeys quarreling in the trees and the strolling peacocks.
The Ashram is no temple of any kind and there is a small chamber where Ramana Maharshi spent years sitting in silence with devotees. Devotees gather here for meditation. There are no formal meditation sessions, satsangs, or philosophical. There are no required work sessions or classes.
All scheduled events are optional for guests in the ashram. Those staying elsewhere are welcome to attend any event except meals. The daily routine includes chanting of 'Forty Verses in Praise of Bhagavan' at 6.45 am, Vedic chanting from 8 to 9.15 am and 5 to 6.15 pm at the Mahasamadhi of Ramana's ; and chanting of Ramana's Tamil Writings from 6.45 to 7.30pm. Puja is also performed at the Mahasamadhi of Ramana's mother, Sri Mathrubhuteswarar.
In additon to major Hindu Holidays, special feast days include Raman Maharshi's birthday in December or January (depends on Tamil Calendar) and his Mahanirvana in April or May.
The ashram also runs a Veda School and the boys who study there have free education, boarding and lodging.
Those who want something more to explore, circumbulate his samadhi shrine; do Giri Pradakshina around Mt. Arunachala, sit in the tiny mountain cave where he lived for seventeen years. On festival days, the 13 km long Pradakshina road is thronged with pilgrims. A half hours walk will bring to the Skandashrama where Ramana lived from 1916 to 1922. A few hundred yards further, down a hill and across a stream, one can meditate in the Virupakhsa Cave believed to be the Samadthi site of Raman. At the foot of the mountain, is the massive four towered temple of Shiva. One can visit the basement chamber where Ramana sat in Samdhi when he arrived in Thiruvannamalai.
Contact: The President,
Note: Donations are not required but are accepted at the Ashram office.