The Ramanashram: Encounter with
Ramana Maharshi is probably the most famous
enlightened sage of modern India, the very personification of the
Atman, a pure unbounded Self-realization, even though he did nothing
to gain recognition for himself. He has great appeal to a rational
and modern mind willing to transcend name, form and culture. Yet
what I discovered at his ashram and in the psychic environment of
the town and hill was something different and unexpected.
I came to the Ramanashram to contact Ramana and
his path of Self-inquiry, which is a method to experience the
non-dual state of pure awareness. What I actually discovered was the
God Skanda, the child of fire, who demanded purification, death and
spiritual rebirth. I encountered one of the Gods, not as a
devotional or cultural image but as a primordial and awesome power.
Ramana came to me through Lord Skanda, the son of Shiva, with whom
Ganapati Muni identified him. I came to understand Ramana as Lord
Skanda, the embodiment of the flame of knowledge.
Coming into Tiruvannamalai I felt the presence of
a tremendous spiritual fire, which also had, in its more benefic
moments, the face of a young boy. The image of a small boy carrying
a spear, rising out of a fire, kept arising in my mind. This brought
about an intense practice of Self-inquiry that was literally like
death, though it was the egos death, not that of the body.