At Sri Ramanasramam
A visit to Thiruvannamalai cannot be complete without a visit to the Sri Ramanasramam. Indeed, many visit Thiruvannamalai only to seek solace in the confines of the ashram.
What is outstanding about Sri Ramana Maharishi is that he lived a simple life, put absolutely no conditions on those who wished to see him, disliked publicity and spoke little. He preferred solitude and kept silent to discourage visitors. An interesting aspect of his life is that his mother renounced the world to join him and finally attained samadhi with him by her side. She was buried at the foot of the sacred hill, and that is where the Sri Ramanasramam came up eventually. The Maharishi used to visit the place everyday and initially the ashram was only thatched shed.
Sri Niranjanananda Swami, the Maharishi’s brother, managed the ashram and became its sarvadhikari. A temple was built over the mother’s shrine. The Maharishi would leave the ashram only for his daily walks around the hill. He attained Maha Samadhi in January 1950. But it was as if he never went away – his spirit always permeated, even to this day.
The other aspect is that there is no spiritual heir to the Maharishi, no successor as such. Once the manager died, his son T N Venkataraman took over the administration and, today, the grandson V S Ramanan is in charge.
Over and above everything else, it is a place where you are able to find peace of mind, whether you are meditating or just seated somewhere observing the activities.
Pictures here show the scenes outside Sri Ramanasramam – a man marketing kolam powder to an interested group, a purchase being made, foreigners taking a break, and the large signboard that welcomes visitors to the ashram (note the contents).