In the Bhagvat Gita, Sri Krishna says, ?O Arjuna, among thousands of men who aspire for the Spirit, only a few strive for perfection. And among those who strive for perfection, few achieve it, and from those few who achieve it, only one will know Me, as I am the Truth.? Quite so, Ramana Maharshi had attained that exalted state. He was born in a Brahmin family at Tiruchuzi near Madurai, Tamil Nadu, on December 30, 1879.
Venkataramana as he was called then, lost his father at a young age and thereafter his uncle too. His uncle'sdeath shocked and bewildered him a lot. ?Where did my uncle go? What is death all about?? The sight of his uncle'scadaver haunted him, ?Who is this me?? His school exams were approaching. One day, his elder brother caught him meditating instead of studying and lambasted him. Venkataramana was hurt and decided to give up the ghost of mundane life for once and all. He took three rupees and left a note for his brother, ?I?m leaving this house in search of my ?Holy Father?. Please don'ttry to search me.? He headed for railway station, found a train and learnt it was going to Thiruvannaamalai?. He purchased a ticket and threw the rest of the money along with all his belongings, left with a loincloth on him. ?I need no mundane trappings,? he told himself. On reaching Thiruvannaamalai, he selected a secluded dark spot inside a temple and got lost in divine cogitation oblivious of all surroundings. After several days, he was discovered, his body draped by anthill and yet he was unaware of his sordid physical condition.
Ramana Maharshi gave initiation by merely casting a stare or by a jab of silence. His penetrating look concentrated and impaled through the very depth of one'sbeing. Interestingly, initiation by silence was also given to those who aspired for Maharshi'sguidance but could not physically reach his ashram. Maharshi reached out to all and sundry, made no distinction between the rich and the pariah. His compassion moved out to birds and animals as well. Once, someone brought an injured dove to him. He pitied and asked his disciples if anyone was eager to nurse the bird till it could fly away. At this malevolence, Maharshi remarked, ?When the Maharani of Baroda had presented a rare white peacock to the ashram, everyone was all agog to rear the exotic bird. But on this fateful day when a wounded dove has been brought in, everyone has developed a cold feet.?
When Maharshi'smortal end came, on his deathbed, he told his disconsolate disciples, ?You say I am going away. But where can I go? I shall always be here. Do not give importance to the body.?
Thus spake Ramana