The Shaivites of the South celebrate the festival of "Arudarshan"(that is, when Shiva appeared to his devotees in the form of Nataraja) with great fervor and devotion. On 30 December 1879, on this holy festival, a child was born to Sri Sundaram Iyer in a small town called Tiruchuli in Tamil Nadu, who later became famous as Maharishi Raman.
Some consider Maharishi Raman as an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The reason for this is probably that since childhood he used to behave like a sannyasin. To be in samadhi was included in his nature.
In this context, an incident is very interesting which happened at a very young age. In those days he was at his uncle's house in Kindigul. There was some function in the house, so everyone was busy in it first and then went to the temple. Raman did not go with them. He kept on reading silently. Then when he started falling asleep, he slept with the doors closed.
When the people of the house returned, they knocked a lot and made noise, but Raman could not sleep. Eventually they came to their house through someone else's house and started beating Raman to wake him up. All the children of the house beat him, Uncle also beat him, but his eyes did not open. He slept as before. Raman did not know anything about that beating. When the people of the house told him in the morning, then he came to know that he was also beaten up in the night.
Such incidents often happened in Mudurai too, where Raman used to study in school when he got into an argument with a boy. When he is awake he could not say anything because Raman was in good health. With the help of his companions, he would pick up the sleeping Raman and take him somewhere and after beating him he will be placed back to the same place.
In childhood, Raman had a habit of being in such deep sleep as well as being in semi-sleep. Both these things are indicative of his religious instincts. Deep sleep is on the one hand a sign of good health and on the other hand it conveys the message that one can remain completely immersed if one becomes absorbed in meditation – a semi-somnolence signifying that one can remain in the world even when the eyes are open. Even while doing the work, one can get absorbed in the soul or the Supreme Soul.
Maharishi Raman's childhood name was Venkataraman, but people generally used to call him by the name of Raman. According to his name, he also used to enjoy in the world of spirituality. At that time he would have been 17 years old. He had come to his uncle's house. There a strange incident happened. That incident is in his own words as follows:
"I was never sick. Health was fine. But one day suddenly I felt that I was dying. The fear of death gripped me badly. But at that time it was not suggested that I should go to a doctor, or call a friend. I got entangled in myself, the fear of death suddenly made me think that I was dying. But then a lightning flashed in the mind - where am I dying, the body is dying.And I began to pretend death. I lay down - held my breath and stopped all movements. Then I said to myself - this body is dead. What else is there in his death? It will be burnt, but am I dead by the death of this body? If I die, how do I experience power? My personality is different from this. I am the soul of this body. The body will die - but my soul will not die. I will never die. And, with that, the fear of death was completely gone. I got empowered again. Since then I have stopped taking any special interest in the body."
After that, if anyone quarrels with him, he does not answer. Whatever he could get to eat, he would eat. Gradually his interest in school also waned. The mind has gone away from the game. Life became like a sannyasin. Then one day the extreme situation also reached. School life was not good - so got punished for copying an English grammar exercise three times. Twice he copied, but after that, what was the excitement in his mind that he threw all the books aside and sat down to meditate. Then, after a while, he pretended to go to school, saying that there would be a special class. When he started walking, the elder brother gave five rupees to deposit his fees in the college.
Raman thought that it would take three rupees to reach Arunachalam. So, he kept three rupees with him and wrote a chit - "I am going in search of my Supreme Father, by his order. This is a great work - no need to suffer and spend money in search for it. Not paying your college fees. Two rupees are attached with it.”
After this he left the house, came to the station, took the ticket and got into the car. Even after wandering for two days on the way, but in the end, Arunachalam reached the place of his beloved Lord Shiva. When he left his house, there were gold earrings in his ears. When he got lost in the way, he gave those earrings to a householder for four rupees. On reaching Arunachalam, a man asked him - "Will you shave the chutiya?"
He said- "Yes."
As a result, he took them to a place where many barbers were sitting doing the same work. After turning the top, he also took off his thread on his own. Tore the dhoti and threw it away and kept a cloth worthy of copen or loincloth. After getting the hair cut, one should take a bath according to Hindu rituals, but Raman was not in favor of serving the body, so he started towards the temple. But before entering the entrance of the temple, heavy drops fell and he took a bath.
Thus, turning away from the world, and renouncing all desires, Maharishi Raman became immersed at the feet of Lord Shiva. In the big hall of the temple, he set a seat on one side. For several weeks he sat there, without moving, speaking. He had lost his connection with the world. He was absorbed in the search of the soul.
Soon, people began to call him "Brahmanaswami" and a gentleman named Seshadriswami, who had been there for some years, took over the task of looking after him. People also started calling Ramana Maharishi as "Little Seshadvi".
After his disappearance from his house, people naturally started searching for him and one day his mother came to him. But he kept quiet, didn't say anything. Finally, at the behest of one person, he wrote – “Whatever does not happen according to the orders of the controller and the destiny deeds, it will never happen, so it is good that whatever happens, let it happen.”
For about three years Raman did severe penance. These days a person would eat whatever he put in his mouth, but only once a day, and that too so that the foundation of the body remained. For a few days, the water found in the milk used to wash the floor of the temple, they were fed here.
There is a very dry environment around the hill of Arunachalam. To the south of this peak, towards the bottom, is the ashram of Maharishi Raman. This ashram also has a story. When Maharishi Raman's mother did not see any other option, she started living with him and started serving his devotees and disciples. Gradually they realized that Raman was a divine man with amazing powers. Once the Lord appeared to her in the form of Raman and she cried - "Son, take away these snakes. They will bite you."
Finally, when the mother died, her samadhi was erected at the site of the present-day ashram. In those days Maharishi Raman lived in a cave in Arunachalam and used to visit the mother's samadhi every day. Went there one day, then stayed there. His disciples were worried that he had gone somewhere. So, they started looking for him. At last, he found her sitting on his mother's samadhi. When asked, he said, "This is the command of God." As a result, an ashram was built there. Now the ashram has become a complete settlement, but at first only a hut of weeds was put there for the Maharishi to live.
The talk of Maharishi Raman's spiritual progress soon spread all over the world. People from different countries started coming to see him. Well reputed and thoughtful people would come to him and take advantage of his satsang and consider their life successful. He said that all beings, all souls, are one.
To make efforts to make all souls happy is devotion to God. That is why he used to serve the sick, the sick, etc. It is said that some Christian pastors once came to test him. They considered Maharishi to be a hypocrite. But when they saw him engaged in the service of a leper couple, their eyes opened and they said, "Today we have seen the face of Jesus Christ."
Today Maharishi Raman is not among us in physical form, but his teachings, his teachings and his principles are inspiring us even today. He used to say – “God, guru and soul are one and the same.”
He used to define Guru like this – “Guru is one who at all times resides in the depths of the soul. He should stay away from misunderstandings and discrimination. He should be free and free from bondage. He should never be worried."
He also used to say that – "What knowledge can a person who does not know himself, give to another ?" He was a believer of the Advaita principle. He did not speak much, but people used to get peace just by seeing him. The thing was that he himself was knowledgeable and always had the feeling of removing the sufferings of others or keeping them on his own.
Maharishi Raman did not care for his body at all. That's why he got old prematurely. After 1947, he was very weak. Then, in 1950, he developed a severe abscess in his eye. This boil was operated several times, but it did not get cured and due to that, he was absorbed in Mahasamadhi. Thus, although Maharishi Raman has passed away from our midst, his message reminds us time and again – “All beings are one. Your welfare is in everyone's welfare".