Known as the Sage of Arunachala, Ramana Maharishi lived in Tiruvannamalai, a town in southern India. His esoteric messages can take people to higher levels of consciousness making them sense a radical departure from the habitual neurology.

The Sanskrit word Maharishi refers to a great sage who has gone beyond the conventional realms of the mind, into the vast universal consciousness. The Essence of a human being is eternal and indestructible. However, it takes on a shroud to enter the world of nature and forgets itself in order to experience, physically and psychologically, the varied earthly manifestations. Simultaneously, there is the evolution of awareness across many lives, taking one’s Essence back to its primal nature. Thus the cycle is complete. Only a cyclic process can be eternal.

Cosmology deals with the immensity of the universe in time and space. In its wider sense, it is related to the evolution of both matter and consciousness. The human awareness in that direction helps us look beyond the ego-driven psychology in which the vast majority of human beings is caught. The conventional thought process builds a wall around each one giving the person an identity based on the physical and mental attributes. It is this identity that forms the basis for the ego. As one ages, the ego strengthens the wall around itself and causes both individual and collective unhappiness. The psychological poison sets in at an early age and sinks the human mind into the above scenario. Unawareness of this psychological process makes people develop strong attachment to nationality, religion, language and the like. The resulting emphasis on the ‘I’, ’Me’ and the ‘Mine’ destroys the fundamental harmony between human beings. It also leads to a heavily self-centered existence linked to the past and future; living in the ‘Now’ is denied.

A few people here and there, during their young and middle ages, understand the situation and step out of the above habitual neurology. They are the ones who can appreciate the help coming from sages like Ramana Maharishi. Such sages are those who, through self-awareness, have gone to the bottom of the neurosis and allowed the psychological explosion to take place in them. It brings about an alchemical change in their brain to the point that the ego can no longer have its play in their awareness. That is what is generally known as the Enlightened State in the eastern countries.

During his teenage, Ramana Maharishi went through a psychological death experience that is the culmination of self-awareness and the inward journey. It made his mind diffuse into the universal consciousness; the identification with the body and other aspects of the conventional neurology was totally dissolved. After such a cataclysm, the body undergoes a change and settles to a new rhythm. It is after such a change that the enlightened beings begin to relate to the common mass and give their spiritual message. Ramana Mahrishi spoke to those who came to him in Tiruvannamalai, for a period of about fifty years. The listeners, though not all, could understand his pointers and embark on an inward journey that strikes at the root of the habitual neurology. Now, about seventy years after the Maharishi has passed on, his messages still have an impact on those who have the ability to tune in.

There is also another pointer that emphasizes the meaningfulness of the inward journey. That comes from a reported pronouncement of Jesus Christ. One of his followers asked, “When will the Kingdom of Heaven come?”. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven will not come if you are looking for it. Nor will it be found if you say it is here or there, for the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.”

The Primary Message
Ramana’s primary message was related to an inwardly directed attention to discover the source of the habitual neurology. He encouraged his listeners to embark on an investigation through the question “Who is this ‘I’?”. People take the ‘I’ to be granted so they do not see that it is merely a thought created phantasmagoria. Ramana comes to this point from different angles so that the listeners can follow the inward path, each one in one’s own way. There is a non-verbal content to Ramana’s message. It is that which has the power to transform the mind and make it understand the deception created by the conventional thought process. Initially, it is the verbal message that makes an impact on the listener but, in due course, the non-verbal content is revealed.

Those who feel drawn to the cleansing of the mind through self-awareness will find that Ramana’s expositions serve as an excellent catalyst in aiding the process. The impact will soon begin to reflect in one’s practical life, in one’s mental serenity and in the universal compassion towards all. The daily psychology changes to “Life for life’s sake” rather than for one’s ego’s sake. In the absence of such a transformation, the ego enters even the spiritual field as it says, “I want to please God so that I can enter eternal heaven after death.”! A relevant statement here by Nisargadatta Maharaj is “The lust for heaven is no different from the lust for the woman.”

The Near Death Experience (NDE)
Those who go through an NDE - that is, return after being clinically dead for a few minutes - experience during those few minutes a stellar expansion of consciousness far beyond the limited ken of the conventional mind. They understand what Ramana means by the term ‘Athma Sakshathkaram’. That phrase points to an in-depth awareness of the soul without the interference of the ego. People like Ramana say that it is possible to move into that state of consciousness even before the bodily death – not through any system, religious or otherwise, but through an inward journey of deepening self-awareness. The practical life will continue as before but the state of mind will be totally different – what the NDE people refer to as ‘a state of being that is united with everyone and everything in the universe.’

Related matters are covered in the book “In Quest of the Deeper Self” details of which can be found in the website

Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan T. Chandrasekaran was born in Madras (now Chennai), India. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.

Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.

Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in the southern part of India, with his wife Banumathy. Blog: