Sri Ramana Maharishi, born Venkatrama Iyer came to Tiruvannamalai on 1st September 1896. He was born in Tiruchuzhi, Madurai in the year 1879. In his 17th year, while he was in his birth place, a remarkable experience as if undergoing death of the physical body while remaining in full consciousness became the turning point in his life. Following the transformation, he left his home and was drawn irresistibly to the sacred hill of Arunachala. He never left the hill. In the ashram which was formed around him, he taught the purest form of Advaita Vedanta (non-duality) through the supremely simple discipline of Self-Enquiry. Ramana Maharishi’s creative conscious also included photography and his acceptance and interest in the medium encouraged many photographers to take several pictures of Ramana.
Yesterday (24th September) was my 50th birthday and my family was invited for the ‘birthday biksha’ at Sri. Ramana Ashram. Yesterday was the first day of Navaratri as well. As I was waiting for my family to come, I saw the glowing life size black granite sculpture of Ramana. It was shining, reflecting the eleven o’clock sun. This particular sculpture was made by the great traditional Indian tenple architect and builder Sri Ganapati Sthapati, when Ramana Maharishi was alive . After the sculpture was made, one of the inmates asked Ramana Maharishi, “Does this look like you…?” Ramana Maharishi replied, “Only two persons will know that…. the Sthapati and my barber….”. I remembered this story. I looked again to check whether there is any similarity. I have never seen Ramana Maharishi alive, but have seen several images of this legendary saint. I thanked Ganapati Sthapathi for this marvelous stone portrait.
Ramana Ashram, Tiruvannamalai
24th September 2014