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The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi

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The renowned Indian sage Ramana Maharshi is beloved by Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, and Taoists alike for the inspirational power of his teachings, which transcend all religious differences. Here is a collection of Sri Ramana's instructions and discourses culled from three works: Who Am I? , Spiritual Instructions , and Maharshi's Gospel. These teachings are arranged by topics such as work and renunciation, silence and solitude, peace and happiness, and the discipline of self-inquiry. Reading this book, presented in question-and-answer format, evokes the feeling of being with this outstanding teacher at one of his intimate teaching sessions.

116 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1972

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About the author

Ramana Maharshi

171 books501 followers
Bhagavan Sri Ramaṇa Mahārṣi (Tamil: ரமண மஹரிஷி) born Venkataraman Iyer, was probably the most famous Indian sage of the twentieth century, he was born on December 30, 1879 in a village called Tirucculi about 30 miles south of Madurai in southern India. His middle-class parents named him Venkataraman. His father died when he was twelve, and he went to live with his uncle in Madurai, where he attended American Mission High School.

At age 16, he became spontaneously self-realized. Six weeks later he ran away to the holy hill of Arunachala where he would remain for the rest of his life. For several years he stopped talking and spent many hours each day in samadhi. When he began speaking again, people came to ask him questions, and he soon acquired a reputation as a sage. In 1907, when he was 28, one of his early devotees named him Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, Divine Eminent Ramana the Great Seer, and the name stuck. Eventually he became world-famous and an ashram was built around him. He died of cancer in 1950 at the age of 70.

Ramana Maharshi was born 30 kilometers south of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India.

His Self-Realization

At age 16, he heard somebody mention "Arunachala." Although he didn't know what the word meant (it's the name of a holy hill associated with the god Shiva) he became greatly excited. At about the same time he came across a copy of Sekkilar's Periyapuranam, a book that describes the lives of Shaivite saints, and became fascinated by it. In the middle of 1896, at age 16, he was suddenly overcome by the feeling that he was about to die. He lay down on the floor, made his body stiff, and held his breath. "My body is dead now," he said to himself, "but I am still alive." In a flood of spiritual awareness he realized he was spirit, not his body.

His Guru
Ramana Maharshi didn't have a human guru (other than himself). He often said that his guru was Arunachala, a holy mountain in South India.

His Teachings

Ramana Maharshi taught a method called self-inquiry in which the seeker focuses continuous attention on the I-thought in order to find its source. In the beginning this requires effort, but eventually something deeper than the ego takes over and the mind dissolves in the heart center.

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Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews
Profile Image for cary hardin.
4 reviews4 followers
October 20, 2007
this is one of the hardest books i've ever read. it's existentialism to the Nth degree. it's a cocktail of philosophy and spirituality. it's so simple, it's hard. it's so hard, it's simple. my yoga teacher, tony, told me about this book two years ago. this isn't the sort of book through which one plows and tosses aside. it's a book to go back to and which to refer over and over.

maharshi realized, at the age of 16, that he needed to relinquish all personal possessions and belongings, as well as family, and head off by himself to create the 'death' of his former self and begin life anew. and did he, ever. he only wore a mere loincloth or a shift, of sorts. he didn't write books; people would instead write down what he said in his teachings. most of his teachings were silent! imagine.

if you're ever mentally clogged by life's woes, give this book a gander. maharshi points things out that are so incredibly simple, you can't believe you ever thought something so trite in the first place!
Profile Image for R Nair.
122 reviews52 followers
February 26, 2021
A lifelong exposure to scientific training can engender a deep-rooted apprehension towards any tomes proclaiming spiritual edification. For many books written on the subject, that sense of foreboding, foretelling sweeping Godly claims of intuitional rather than empirical knowledge is often times prophetic.
This is where this book differs from the rest.
Self realization resulting from intense concentration is not new to science. Whether there be a possible as yet unproven biochemical reason for this or whether it truly be the process of achieving Self-consciousness to the point of apotheosis, the fact of the matter is this - something incredible happens to people when they pursue one single question with utmost almost inhuman inner zeal - 'Who am I'.
Very few books involve an honest discussion between a layman and such an "enlightened" being on a level that is most straightforward. This book, written as a conversation, is just that - straightforward. Asking the simple often blunt questions a normal person would like to ask an enlightened one and being treated to answers that are among the best efforts to explain things without the reader having to work doubletime as a spiritual cryptographer.
Read this book irrespective of what religion you belong to. Read it especially if you are an atheist. There is no talk of God in the conventional manner. No talk of religion beyond some scriptural parables used as examples. The philosophical explanation of the 'Self' and its amalgamation with 'consciousness' leads to a deep-rooted ancient philosophy that over the centuries was oversimplified for the masses into a concept of an external God observing a proverbial Newtonian clockwork Universe with a pinch of uncertainty added to foster external divine miraculous interventions.

All in all a short, highly thought provoking read with some excellent explanations of the eastern spiritual and philosophical perception of the Universe, reality itself and what the Self truly is.
Profile Image for Cristina Capozzi.
148 reviews29 followers
May 5, 2020
Immenso insegnamento.
Un libro da leggere e rileggere, non tanto per capire, quanto per intuire con cuore la ricchezza che contiene.
Una luce sul sentiero!
Profile Image for Loran (Inked with Curiosity).
228 reviews44 followers
November 2, 2015
I recognize that Ramana Maharshi is one of the most important figures in Indian Spirituality and my review is in no way an attempt to diminish the value in his teachings. That being said I didn't enjoy this book at all. It was required reading for one of my classes in school and I just felt detached while reading. I didn't agree or feel touched or moved by his teachings and it just didn't resonate with me; also I didn't understand a lot of what he said either. I admire his influence in India but I think he was sort of a silly person honestly. I mean reading the short biography in this book he simply left home, refused to speak to his mother ever again, and abused his body to the point he let himself die of cancer basically. No spiritual teachings should come to that and even though I might be missing the point I guess that's why I couldn't sympathize with this book.
Profile Image for Dana.
12 reviews6 followers
August 27, 2007
This is a book I will be re-reading for years before I realize everything that is inside, if ever. My dad noticed I was toting a copy and told me he's been keeping this book by the side of his bed for years, saying it was the last book he ever had to read before he 'got it'. He still references it to this day. A book for the serious student of self-realization and Eastern practice.
Profile Image for Edward Michael.
Author 18 books7 followers
March 3, 2010
extreme sincerity and constant inner questionning are the two requisite for a genuine spiritual enlightenment
Profile Image for Michael Lloyd-Billington.
35 reviews79 followers
September 16, 2015
Another indispensable classic. Some of the exchanges are more meritricious than others, and, as much as I love Jung, his introduction to this work is, in my opinion, a completely "miss" and should be skipped (or read with caution :)), but otherwise this is an excellent collection of the teachings of one of the great jnana yogis of this or any age....
15 reviews
October 28, 2010
The meditation method I have used and enjoyed with the best results after 35 years of trying.
39 reviews3 followers
December 9, 2010
Completely excellent. Like direct transmissions for recognizing your true Self. No convoluted paradigms.
Profile Image for Brono.
159 reviews6 followers
February 3, 2017
"True Knowledge does not create a new Being for you; it only removes your 'ignorant ignorance" was among the teachings of Sri Bhagavan on this short and powerful book.

Once you question the existence of the world and its things it is inevitable to come across this sage who's words came from the Heart known as the Seat of Consciousness.

His simplicity with words to explain the mundane things as well as Reality cross a bridge and make connection with so much that it's never tiring to absorb his teachings.

"The body is itself a mere projection of the mind, and the mind is but a poor reflection of the radiant Heart. How can That, in which everything is contained, be reels confined as a tiny part of the physical body which is but and infinitesimal, phenomenal manifestation of the one Reality?"

Worth reading!
Profile Image for Daniel Prasetyo.
48 reviews10 followers
August 24, 2012
This book consists of Sri Ramana's instructions and discourses from three works: Who Am I?, Spiritual Instructions, and Maharishis's Gospel, and foreword by the great Carl G. Jung, these teachings arranged by conversations of some topics like renunciation, silence, bhakti, jnana, self-realization, mind control, self-inquiry, etc. you will find find an answer of your spiritual questions in this book. I find the great quote here: "To see God is to be God, the is no "all" apart from God for Him to pervade. He alone is".
Profile Image for Hal.
11 reviews1 follower
September 4, 2008
A truly great modern spiritual classic from one of the greatest twentieth century sages (perhaps THE greatest) of Advaita Vedanta, India's contribution to the nondual teachings. You don't have to believe in any religion or anything else to revel in the Maharshi's profundity, simplicity, and clarity. This is one of the books that started me on the spiritual search, and I return to it again and again.
110 reviews11 followers
July 8, 2015
A gem of a book! Contains the popular "who am I" discourse too and other conversations filled with lot of insight. It sure has lot of Sanskrit spiritual jargon which normally bores me but Ramana maharshi explains the concepts quite succinctly which makes even the jargon interesting! Highly recommended to those who want to understand Vedanta concepts.
Profile Image for Sabio.
70 reviews12 followers
July 16, 2007
Excellent teachings on the meditative Hindu tradition by a saint.
Profile Image for Steve.
723 reviews13 followers
August 4, 2021
Ramana Maharshi always good-- the essence of Vedanta.
245 reviews1 follower
March 20, 2021
A short and difficult book. Very much worth the study required to reach the many insights and ideas here, but you'll have to work at it. I found m... [see the rest of this review on my book review site.]
Profile Image for Mohit Mishra.
10 reviews
May 3, 2023
I find the book as a practical handbook and companion to Be As You Are. The practical steps described in the practice of Self-inquiry answered my naive practical questions that arose from reading and assimilating the ideas presented in Be As You Are. This is a book I feel I would like to go back regularly as a companion.
Profile Image for Austin.
270 reviews19 followers
June 8, 2020
I... need to read this again to really absorb it. Sometimes the ideas are really general and helpful, but sometimes they're referring to concepts that I have never read about before. Would like to revisit after gathering more historical context.
97 reviews
February 12, 2019
I book was well presented. I did grow tired of the question/answer form of the content. While it was insightful, if it were presented in a different form, I think I may have enjoyed it more.
Profile Image for Natalya Androsova.
Author 3 books18 followers
February 23, 2021
Nothing compares to the luminous words of this teacher. Rereading for the 5th time now and for the rest of my life!
Profile Image for Madi.
146 reviews26 followers
June 9, 2016
A short and concise version of how to reach samadhi and connect with the Self.
Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews

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