Ramana was born in 1879 as Venkataraman Iyer in the village of Tiruchuli, South India. At the age of 12, his father Sundaram Iyer died and Ramana went to live with his uncle Subba Iyer in Madurai. His classmates remember that Ramana had a strong tendency for religious ecstasy even as a student. Others remember his abnormally deep sleeping habits that led to playing tricks on the young Ramana while he was asleep. Apart from that, Ramana was also described as strong and intelligent.
Ramana Maharshi's life took a drastic turn when he was about sixteen years of age. A powerful fear of dying suddenly attacked Ramana - but instead of running away, which he thought was not an option, he decided to face this fear and investigate. Imitating a corpse, Ramana laid down and distanced himself from body and mind, pretending to be as dead as possible. Ramana entered the condition of silent Beingness and from thereon knew himself as pure Awareness. All fear of death had vanished once and for all.
After this event, Ramana Maharshi lost all interest in continuing a normal life. Feeling a strong attraction to the Holy Hill Arunachala, Ramana moved there and soon people who met him sought his advice on many matters. The most important questions centered on how others could follow where (seekers felt) Ramana must have gone himself. In answering their concerns, Ramana Maharshi recommended the concentration on "I" or the meditation on "who am I?" as a shortcut to the realization of the Self.
The practice of Self-enquiry (also known as Jnana Yoga) leads us towards clear Awareness by removing our attention from that which we are not. Through persistent probing, fixing our attention on the source of our Being, we regain our real Self; we remember who we are.
|Further reading on other Yoga Masters and Self-Realized Persons:|
|Contemporary Yoga Masters
|Maharishi Mahesh Yogi|