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Ramaṇa Maharṣi

(1879—1950)


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(1879–1950)

A South Indian guru who acquired a substantial reputation in both India and the West. Born into a family of brahmins as Venkataraman Aiyar, he had a religious experience at the age of 17, in which the sudden awareness of the essential immortality of the self dispelled his fear of death. Shortly afterwards he went to live as a saṃnyāsin on Aruṇācala hill near Tiruvaṇṇāmalai, where he remained for the rest of his life. His followers established an āśram there, and he began to attract a wide range of visitors, including well-known Westerners, such as the celebrated analytical psychologist, Carl Jung (1875–1961). Ramaṇa Maharṣi's teaching was informal and unsystematic, but his vision was essentially Advaitin in nature. He was well known for advocating meditation on the question ‘Who am I?’, as a means to eventual realization of pure, non-dual consciousness. His disciples continue to propagate his teachings and to run the āśram; his teaching and approach have influenced a number of Indian and Western ‘gurus’.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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