31 August 2008

Journey to Arunachala

Tomorrow, September 1st, is the anniversary of the arrival of young Venkataraman (later to be known as Ramana Maharshi) to Tiruvannamalai. At which place he was to spend the rest of his life. Below is an abridged version of the young boy's journey to Arunachala.

Journey to Arunachala

At about noon, Venkataraman (later to be known as Ramana Maharshi) left his uncle's house and hurried to the railway station. He bought his ticket to Tindivanam, boarded the train, and sat silently. At about three o'clock the next morning, he got down at Viluppuram. He waited till daybreak and then walked into the town where he ate. Venkataraman then returned to the railway station and spent his remaining money on a ticket to Mambalappattu, a place on the way to Tiruvannamalai. He reached Mambalappattu at about three in the afternoon. From there, he set out, intending to walk the remaining distance of thirty miles.

Earliest photograph of Venkataraman

After he had walked about ten miles, he reached the temple of Arayaninallur. Night had fallen and he sat down outside the Temple to rest. When the priest opened the temple for puja, Venkataraman entered and sat in the pillared hall. A brilliant light pervaded the entire Temple which he first thought must have been emanating from the image of God in the inner sanctorum. He searched for the source, but found it was not a physical light. When it disappeared, he sat in deep meditation until the Temple priests who needed to lock up the Temple roused him. Venkataraman followed them to a Temple in Kilur, and sank again into samadhi in the Temple. Late in the evening when the puja ended, the Temple drummer asked the priests to give his share of food to the young boy.

The next morning was August 31, 1896, Gokulashtami day (festival day honouring Lord Krishna's birth). Hungry, Venkataraman stopped at a house which happened to be the home of Muthukrishna Bhagavatar where he received a large plate of food. The only thing he had of any value was his ruby earrings, which he pledged for four rupees with the Bhagavatar who gave him a receipt so he could return and claim the earrings.

Venkataraman continued on his journey, tearing up the receipt right away because he knew he would never have any need for the earrings. At the train station he learned there would be no trains until the next day so he spent the night there. It was the morning of the 1st of September, 1896, when Ramana reached his Father's home, Arunachala. The command had been obeyed. The search had ended. Thereafter there was no parting ever.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Ramana.

Veronica said...

That means he lived at Arunachala for 54 years. Nice.

Grasshopper said...

Happy Birthday, myself. For who would I be if not in love with the mountain?

Srikanth said...

Excellent Write up!