Ramana Maharishi of Thiruvannamalai, India.
Who is Ramana?
Venkataraman @Ramana Maharishi was born in Thiruchuzhi near Madurai. He was an ordinary boy but he was more interpreted in sports than studies. Once peculiar aspect of Venkataraman as a boy is, "He got sound sleep without any disturbances. He slept like a wood. None could surmise anything extraordinary in the boy. Deep within the recess of his heart there was detachment to worldly things and wealth. Often he was found to be contemplating on something silently for hours together. He was admitted in High School and he was attending to his studies listlessly. One day the English Teacher was admonishing Venkataraman for not studying grammar properly and hence he was asked to do imposition of writing the lessons several times. Once or twice, he attempted writing the grammar lessons and it was too much for him. He won't write this any further. Hence he went to upstairs and laid on the cot. Suddenly a peculiar feeling of "Death coming" haunted him. He remembered how it struck his father earlier. There was no movements. Eyes closed and lips tight. So he enacted death on his own body perfectly. He closed his eyes and mouth and retained the breath without letting it out. Then he thought that people will come and carry his corpse to the burning ghat and put it on the fire. The body will be reduced to ashes. Then the thought striked him.What will happen? Whether with the death of the body will he survive? He felt intuitively that 'body will only perish but he will remain deathless as before". He has not read any books on philosophy but he was confident that He will survive the death of the body! He wanted to proceed to Arunachala, a temple town in South India. He wanted to leave the house in search of his father(God Arunachala). Earlier he has read about Arunachala and know it is a temple town called, Thiruvannamalai. He saw the map and could find out that the place is near villupuram. Fortunately his brother gave him Rs.5/- for paying the school fees. He took the money and wrote a letter to his brother stating, "This is engaged in searching its father. Your school fees has not been paid" With the crypt message he was off to the Railway station and purchased a ticket for Villupuram. When the train reached Villupuram, he got down and he wanted to eat due to hunger. With few coins left, he was trying to go to Thiruvannamalai by foot. As he was weak and the sun was hot, he swooned in front of the house of one Brahmin. Finding the boy unconscious, the Brahmin poured water on his face and he was revived. He was fed in the house being a festival day(the birth day of Sri Krishna). As he had no money, he removed his golden ear rings and gave it to the Brahmin in pledge and obtained some Rupees. He was proceeding by road and reached Tiruvannamalai after many hours. Somebody accosted him and asked him whether he need to shave his head. He acceded and he was given a clean shave of the head. He removed the ceremonial thread. He never had the bath but the sky poured heavy rain and he was drenched. With a loin cloth he went direct into the temple sanctum and was looking at the idol and told the idol, "i have come". Most of the time he was staying in the temple in secluded places and he was in deep meditation without food or water for many number of days. Insects started eating his rear skin and blood was oozing. He had no sensation at all since he was one with the Self. Some good natured people came down and forcibly removed him from the unhygienic place. He was taken care by some and he was forcibly fed. Most of the time, he was in contemplation only.
After sometime, he went uphills and found a cave for staying. There some devotees gathered and they were tending him. He was silent most of the time and never said anything. On rare occasions, when somebody questioned him, he replied cryptly with Yes or No. But some devotees who were having real doubts about spirituality cajoled him to reveal the answers. Some times, he wrote it down. Other times he said a few words as answer. He asked the devotees to concentrate on the question "Who Am I". He said, it will take them deep inside. It is neither the outer cover, the body, the evanescent mind or intellect or the senses. Negate every thing conceivable. Then what is left is Pure Witness and that is the SELF which can never be explained by words or analysed by intellect. It is like a pure white screen of the cinema hall. Pictures may come and go but the screen remains intact, unaffected by the pictures. It was there even before the cinema is projected, it remains there during the show and it will remain after the end of the show. This is the only Reality. Likewise, the SELF is ever present, mute witness, full of wisdom and remains in everlasting Bliss. Find it, seek it by diving in. This is the great philosophy of Ramana who lived without any attachment to the body/mind complex. Rest in next hub.