Sri Ramana Ashram

Sri Ramana Ashram is located in Thiruvannamalai. Bhagvan Sri Ramana Maharshi is considered as one of the greatest spiritual personalities of the 20th century. Lots of people visit this ashram from different parts of the world. The life of Maharshi was a perfect example of straightforwardness, purity, impartiality and equability. Books and CDs are available on his life and teaching.
 
Phone: +91-4175-22491
 
He was a very young man in his early twenties, yet Sri Ramana Maharshi had a peaceful countenance and a radiant eyes of a sage. He lived in a cave in a sacred mountain called Arunachala beside the town of Thiruvannamalai in Chennai. He sought loneliness and silence to discourage the guests. Yet disciples gathered round. He was already known as Maharshi, which means ‘Great Sage’ but the devotees addressed him in the third person as ‘Bhagavan’ which means (Lord).
 
After some years the cave became too small so the Maharshi and his disciples moved to Skandasramam which is located little higher up to the mountainside. This was also a cave but it was an enlarged one. This gave more accommodation. His mother forsake the world and join him there. She began to cook for the little group but previously they ate only what was given in charity by the pious people when someone begged for the food daily in the town.
 
The mother died in 1922 achieving the liberation at the moment of death, through the persistent attempt equipped by the concentrated grace of her son. As the tradition require in the case of a liberated being, the body of mother was not cremated but was buried. Because the burial was not allowed in the holy mountain, she was buried at the foot of the mountain, the southern most point where a burial ground already exists. It was only less than half an hour’s walk from Skandasramam. Maharshi would go there daily. One day he stayed there and it is the place where Ramanasramam came into being.
 
Sri Ramana Maharshi was forty at that time and spent twenty-six years at Thiruvannamalai as a self-realized sage. However he was not widely known outside South India. He had stayed away from publicity and had nothing spectacular to impress people like curing or doing miracles. There were no Ashram office, no association, no facility for visitors and no publicity.
 
An Ashram did not came into being immediately. At first there was only one shed with bamboo and a roof of palm leaves. The Maharshi himself maintained the unapproachable attitude and he continued to live in simplicity. He asked none to go or come.
 
If any one wanted to come there, they could and if any one wanted to settle down there, they could but each one should make his own arrangements. It was not his concern to have the Ashram organization. If rules were made then he would be the first to abide by them, but he himself did not made any rules. His work was merely spiritual. He was silently directing the ever-growing devotees who where gathered around him and also shining his grace upon them. To all, he was indifferent but his love was all acceptable and overwhelming. All of the devotees felt the charming, ever-attentive power and the grace of his guidance.
 
It was his younger brother Sri Niranjanananda Swami who oversaw the construction of the Ashram. He became its manager. As the Maharshi became popular, donations flowed in and the whole complex of building arose. He built a temple as the Mother’s place of pilgrimage, a large meditation hall which is called as the new building near to it.
 
The focus of all mind was the meditation hall where the devotees gather with the Maharshi. There were a settee where he sat in the morning and sleep at night. Devotees would sit in front of him in the floor, men on one side and women on the other side. During the early years the doors were never closed and people could come even at night to lay their troubles at his feet. But due to the age and failing health, the Ashram management decided that hours of privacy would be necessary to him.
 
Sri Bhagavan never left the Ashram except for his daily walk on the mountain and for palakothu morning and evening, concerning that he should be accessible to all comers at all hours. And in the early years, he had an occasional walk on the nine mile road around the mountain which is said to be particularly praiseworthy and should be ideally done in barefoot as a pilgrimage. The Maharshi always encouraged it.
 
People would sit in meditation while the Maharshi watched over them, guiding them wordlessly. However there was no strictness about it. There were no rules that everyone must meditate at a given time or in a certain manner. Sometimes the accommodation was difficult to find. It was never a residential ashram in the usual sense. However a large dormitory was constructed where men could spread their bedding in the floor. There were also few private rooms for the guests. But all these proved insufficient and was no help to women. They were not allowed to stay overnight in the Ashram premises. Number of devotees built their houses round about and thus a housing estate grew up. Sahdus made a colony near the Ashram and lived in caves and small cabins. A Maharaja donated a guesthouse. In spite of all this, the difficulties in finding the accommodation continued.
 
All of this suddenly changed in 1950.
 
After a long and wasting illness the Maharshi attained Maha Samadhi. The crowds of devotees detached from the Ashram and it seemed for a while that the Ashram might come to an end or survive only as a leftover. On the contrary to what was feared there was no feeling of void. It never had that atmosphere.
 
The power of his presence was not seemed to have been withdrawn but became more powerful than ever. The grace was such that the people who were there didn’t felt any sadness. There was nothing to lament for or no sense of loss, privation or poverty. More and more people came to know and feel about Maharshi’s continued presence at Sri Ramanasramam. Those devotees who had left revisited. The flow of the visitors restarted. It was recalled that Maharshi himself had given many signs of his prolonged presence. In approving a will that is drawn up, he stated that the ashram would continue as a spiritual centre. Shortly ahead of his death, he said, “they say that I am going, but where could I go?
I am here”.
 
On the other hand this was purely metaphysical statement. The sage who has realized his identitywith the universal self, there is no coming or going, no chance or becoming, no here or there, only the changeless here and now. And yet his words had physical connotations as well.
 
They applied to his Ashram at Thiruvannamalai. Maharshi had often said that only body travels but the self remains motionless. This was one aspect of the truth which comfort those who have not destined to go to Thiruvannamalai. But the other phase is not false that it is a great blessing to be able to go to sri Ramanashramam at the foot of the sacred Arulnachala mountain and those who come there will find the powerful spiritual help from there. While Sri Ramana is universal and always present in the hearts of the devotees who dedicated their lives to him, there is at the same time, that there will not be denying of the power to be concentrated at his Ashram at Thiruvannamalai.
 
There were other verifications of Sri Bhagavan’s continued presence. When some devotees complained about his leaving before his death, he answered cryptically: “You attach too much importance to the body”. The inference was obvious. The body was leaving them, but he was not. He would remain the Guru as before.
 
There is no spiritual head of the Ashram, no ancestry successor to Bhagavan in human appearance. The presence of the Maharshi is so deeply powerful. It was clear to all the devotees that the mighty impersonality that Ramana was the eternal Guru and presiding deity here. The spiritual instructions that he had left behind is absolute in every way and spiritual support comes from him. All that is needed is practice.
 
sarvadhikari died in January, 1953 and his son, T. N. Venkataraman, took over the management of the Ashram as President. In 1994, T. N. Venkataraman retired and, as enjoined by Bhagavan’s will, entrusted his eldest son, V. S. Ramanan, to serve as the Ashram President.
 

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