Introduction To Sri Ramana’s Life And Teachings

Ramama's life was both the message and the philosophy of his teachings, and it is widely believed that he spoke directly to men's emotions

Ramana
Ramana was a live illustration of the Upanishads' teachings. Wikimedia commons

BY- JAYA CHOUDHARY

Ramana Maharshi was a world-renowned guru from southern India who preached in the first half of the twentieth century. Ramana was a live illustration of the Upanishads’ teachings. His life was both the message and the philosophy of his teachings, and it is widely believed that he spoke directly to men’s emotions.

Biography

Venkataraman Iyer (popularly known as Ramana, Ramana Maharshi, Bhagavan Ramana, or just Bhagavan) was born in 1879 near Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He realized the ‘self’ in 1896, while he was still a sixteen-year-old schoolboy, following a spectacular death experience that put him into an altered state of consciousness which had an intense effect on him. He was first perplexed by the event because he had no prior exposure to spiritual philosophy or practice. Six weeks later, Ramana fled to the sacred hill of Arunachala, where he would spend the remainder of his life. When he came, he threw away all he owned, even the thread that identified him as a Brahmin. He ceased speaking for several years and spent several hours each day in samadhi(total self-collectedness).

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Despite living a humble life and seldom conversing, a group of committed searchers was drawn to the mystical aura of the sage. As a result, an ashram was gradually created around him on the foothills of Arunachala, and Maharshi began to educate those who arrived, despite the fact that he never claimed to be anyone’s Guru. He died of cancer at the age of 70 in 1950 and his teachings have spread all throughout the world. Bhagavan is now also largely acknowledged as one of India’s most important saints of the twentieth century.

Ramana
When he came, he threw away all he owned, even the thread that identified him as a Brahmin. Wikimedia commons

His Main Teachings

“Who Am I?”

One of Bhagavan’s main teachings was the “Who am I” question. The root of all ideas is the ‘I’ idea. Ramana believed that only by asking yourself, “Who am I?” will the mind merge. The notion ‘Who am I?’ destroys all other thoughts and eventually kills itself. If further ideas occur, rather than attempting to fulfill them, one must inquire as to whom this thought arose. The response will be “to me.” He said that if we ask ourselves, “Who am I?” the mind will return to its source or where it arose from. The concept that arose will likewise fade away. As we practice this more and more, the mind’s ability to remain as its source grows.

Self-Awareness

Another popular teaching of Ramana was about self-realization. He enlightened that the state of realization is just being oneself, without knowing or being anything. If one has realized, he is that which only exists and has always existed, he becomes unable to explain such a situation. That’s all he can be. Of course, for want of a better phrase to express the situation, we refer it to as self-awareness. All we have to do is remain silent and believe that our true essence is peace and it is necessary that we stop destroying it.

Ramana
Another popular teaching of Ramana was about self-realization. Wikimedia commons

Give it all in

Ramana explained that surrendering your all can be accomplished in two ways. One is hunting for the source of the ‘I’ and merging with it. The alternative is thinking, ‘I am powerless myself, God alone is all-powerful, and there is no other way for me to be secure than to cast myself fully on him,’ and thus gradually building the belief that God alone exists and the ego does not count. He proclaimed that both ways provide the same result.

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Contentment

All creatures want happiness all the time without a trace of pain. Simultaneously, everyone loves themselves the most. Bhagavan preached that the sole reason for love is happiness. As a result, pleasure must be found in oneself. Furthermore, everyone experiences bliss on a regular basis during sleeping, when there is no thought. To achieve natural pleasure, one must first understand oneself. The primary tool for this is self-inquiry, or asking, “Who am I?”.