B.V.Narasimha Swami examined several devotees and took depositions from them about their relationship with Ramana to ensure authenticity. Above all he had several interviews with Ramana, the most important of which was about his enlightenment. He stayed in a cave adjacent to the asram in order to be present during many of the question and answer sessions, which Ramana had with devotees. It was after sustained research extending over two years that he wrote his biography of Ramana, 'Self Realisation', which was published in 1931. Its appeals is undimmed nearly seventy years later. In 1954, Arthur Osborne wrote his biography, 'Ramana Maharshi and the Path of self Knowledge'. His basic data was drawn from the earlier biography. He himself says to. But what makes his book fascinating is his style of writing, his acceptance of Ramana as his guru, and the account of the three years spent in Ramana's physical presence. Many have been drawn to Ramana and are still being drawn by this powerful presentation.
T. S. Ananthamurthy has written a very appealing biography in 1972, 'Life and Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi'. In 1974, Professor K. Swaminathan wrote a biography cum teachings book, 'Ramana Maharshi'. The biography portion is only fifty-four pages. Therefore, though the book has a special fragrance, written as it is by one soaked in Ramana, its coverage was limited due to space constraints. The same holds good for T. M. P. Mahadevan's 'Ramana Maharshi'. This biography published in 1977 is scholarly but short being only seventy- seven pages. The rest of the book is devoted to the teachings. In 1980, Ramana's birth centenary year, Joan Greenblatt and Mathew Greenblatt wrote their pictorial biography, 'Bhagavan Sri Ramana'. The design and presentation backed by their love and reverence for Ramana have made this book very attractive.
To all these earlier biographers, each great in their own way, I offer my humble salutations.
I also offer my salutations to the vast and growing circle of disciples and devotees of Ramana. They are scattered all over the world.
It is their collective spiritual power which has to be the backing for this new biography.
Over the past several decades we have vast, varied and authentic material about Ramana which was either not available to or could not be used by the earlier biographers. It is now nearly seventy years since the first biography was written. There is need for new insights and fresh perspectives as there is a growing awareness of the power of Ramana's presence. One is able to relate more directly to him. Readers in the millennium need to savour and enjoy the sweetness of the fresh discoveries and new materials, which has unfolded since then. But where is the need to justify? The sweetness of his life itself is enough reason. It draws one irresistibly to him. For, 'once the Maharshi's story is heard or read, who would care to listen to or read any other?"
The story of Sri Rama was written by Valmiki, Mahabharata by Sage Veda Vyasa, and Bhagavatam on Sri Krishna, by Suka Brahmam. They were all jnanis. Dante wrote his 'Divine Comedy' and Milton 'The Paradise Lost' and 'Paradise Regained'. Both were immersed in their stature to write a biography of Ramana whose story is of epic proportions, at this juncture when there is so much of material available.
This book one of the trilogy planned as a homage to Bhagavan Ramana on the occasion of his centenary of enlightenment. The first of these ' Radiance of the Self' with over 170 photographs, including some from the archival films, was published last years. This sacred biography is the second one. The third book 'Arunachala-From Rgveda to Ramana Maharshi' is expected to be ready by the middle of next year.
Many refer to Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi as 'Bhagavan'. Some others refer to him as 'Maharshi'. I have preferred to use the word Ramana throughout for it casts a magic spell beyond the reach of words and the mind.
Back of the Book
Ramana became the enlightened one when he was only sixteen years of age. This happened on July 17, 1896, at Madurai. About six weeks later journeyed to Tiruvannamalai in obedience to 'His Father's Command', the command of Arunachala- Siva. His advent at Arunachala was on September 1, 1896. For the next fifty-four years till his Mahanirvana on April 14, 1950, he remained at this one place, as The Sadguru guiding seekers on the path of Self-knowledge. There is no parallel to his for the retention of the body for such a long period after enlightenment, for the welfare of the world. As the timeless guru' shining within, without, and everywhere', there can be no end to his guidance.
The simple and direct teachings of Ramana, which are covered in this book, and which open the flood-gates of joy are perhaps important reasons for Ramana's timelessness. Truth has been made so easily accessible, so unbelievably close, so experientially possible for each and everyone that the fascination of Ramana's teachings is irresistible.
Those who are familiar with his auspicious and sweet life regard him as an ideal held out before mankind. For he combined in himself the vast peace of the silent mind while being at the same time the repository of all power as well. His love was universal. He was a "Purushottama, a man among men".
Over the past several decades we have acquired vast, varied and authentic material about Ramana. These were either not available or could not be used by the earlier biographers. It is now nearly seventy years since the first biography was written. There is need for new insights and perspectives as there is a growing awareness of the power of Ramana's presence. One is able to relate more directly to him. Readers in the new millennium need to savour and enjoy the sweetness of the fresh discoveries and new material which has unfolded since then.
Ramana's beauty beggars all description. To highlight this more than one hundred illustrations have been included to enhance the artistic of the presentation.
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