Ramana Maharshi and Arunachala

Sri Ramana Maharshi lived from 1879-1950 and was a fully enlightened teacher. He attained liberation at the age of 16 and after coming to the base of the Arunachala mountain, lived there for the next 54 years of his life – never leaving it.

The first teachings he gave were in 1902 and were on Self-Inquiry, "Who Am I?" (Nan Yar?).   An example from his writings: "As all living beings desire to be happy always, without misery, as in the case of everyone, there is observed supreme love for one's self, and as happiness alone is the cause for love, in order to gain that happiness, which is one's nature and which is experienced in the state of deep sleep where there is not mind, one should know one's self.  For that, the path of knowledge, the inquiry of the form "Who am I?", is the principal means."   Ramana Maharshi was known for his belief in the power of silence and his very sparse use of language and speech. He had conquered his ego and had little interest in fame.  He was a renunciate who later composed the devotional lyrical poetry: "The Five Hymns to Arunachala".

We arrived at Ramana Maharshi's Ashram (notice the peak of the mountain Arunachala in the background)...
And we immediately went to his Mahasamadhi Shrine (where he is buried) and were lucky to sit in the cool, quiet marbled hall and have a sweet and deep meditation.

Ramana Maharshi considered the form of the sacred mountain Arunachala to be his own Guru. And historically and spiritually, Arunachala is considered to be an embodiment of Shiva as Fire. 

We wanted to do the traditional practice of pradakshina (ceremoniously circumnavigating) around the mountain, an adventure that would take about 3.5 hours, especially in the heat of the day.   We set off on this journey and were delighted when Severaj, the gate keeper, agreed to accompany us on our pilgrimage.   He led us through the maze of painted sign posts on the rocks to the sacred pools where Ramana Maharshi bathed and to the caves where he meditated and showed us many sites that we would have missed on our own.   He was even kind enough to chant the sacred mantra of Arunachala-Siva for us.

Following the painted rock sign posts...
Arunachala behind us...
Meditating in Ramana's cave...
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