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AHAM’s Founding Spiritual Director
A. Ramana was born on All Saints Day, November 1st, 1929, in El Paso, Texas. His legal name was Dee Wayne Trammell. From a very young age, Ramana was very zealous in his conscious quest for a deeper spiritual understanding of the Truth about God, the world, the Self; for the real meaning and purpose of life.
In the summer of 1973, his ongoing lifetime of spiritual quest or search was at last ended, and his dedication finally rewarded and stabilized with the discovery of his real and final Teacher (or guru) the great being, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi – the Sage of Arunachala. This extraordinary “mystical encounter” occurred in Houston, Texas where A. Ramana was living at the time. It was an unexpected and unexplainable, intense experience. On that day, he was overwhelmed by an unknown and uncompromising influence, like an invisible force, that compelled him to go to a specific bookstore where he was directed to a specific book on one of the bookshelves. He didn’t know how or why it was “chosen,” nor anything about this book, which contained Sri Bhagavan’s teachings. He was not attracted to the book by its title, for he didn’t even see its name or anything about the book at the time, other than its color was purple. But it was not the color of the book that attracted him, it was this unknown force that directed him to the bookstore and down the particular aisle on which the book was located, and simultaneously directed his eye and hand to apprehend or reach out for it.
On opening the book he immediately saw a picture of the gentle sage. On simply peering into the intensity, depth, beauty and compassion of the sage’s eyes, emanating from his picture in the book, Ramana immediately and directly underwent an instant, radical spiritual awakening and transformation of his total being. A facsimile of the same picture is contained in AHAM's “Discover Meditation™” booklet.
This experience caused a quickening deep in the very core of Ramana’s being, focused in his spiritual Heart, and he experienced everything around him as if it was floating in an ocean of pure Consciousness that was actually himself. He was consciously merged with all that he observed, seeing everything in a sea of light, love and joy. At that moment he came to the end of his search and the need for any further seeking, as his mind merged in pure, simple Awareness, the Peace, Freedom, Bliss of the Self.
Later, phone calls and personal visits that Ramana made to other bookstores revealed that this was the only copy of this book, or any other book by or about Sri Ramana Maharshi available in that or any other bookstore in the city of Houston at that time. Ramana knew the owner and manager of the store. When he asked them about it, without telling either of them anything about his extraordinary experience, neither one could account for the presence of the book in the store, as there was no record of it being in their inventory. And neither of them remembered ordering the book. They simply didn’t know how it got on their shelf.
With Sri Bhagavan’s Teaching, and with the discovery of Self-Inquiry (which is the one true method for ending all unhappiness, all thought, as well as seeking), which was explained in this book, Ramana was able thereafter to withdraw his mind from thought at will, and establish it in the Self.
In mid-1974, Ramana underwent a more radical completion in consciousness, which ended all further need to practice Self-Inquiry in the usual form of the “Who am I?” question. This came about due to the time he spent in simple Self-abidance through the use of this direct and powerful process. It culminated by the spiritual influence and additional quickening in consciousness brought about by his personal meeting with and time spent in the company of the late Swami (“Baba”) Muktananda, the world famous Self-realized yogi-saint and Teacher (guru) from Ganeshpuri, India.
“Baba” easily and immediately recognized Ramana’s state of consciousness and gave him the name of “Ramana” – which means, “reveling in Ram” (Ram means God)– thus naming him after his beloved guru, Sri Bhagavan Ramana.
[A NOTE: The name “Arunachala” was added to Ramana’s name several years later by V. Ganesan, a grandnephew of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. For over 35 years, Ganesan was the manager of Sri Ramanasramam, the ashram of Sri Ramana Maharshi in South India, and for 25 years he was the managing editor of “The Mountain Path,” which is the magazine published by the ashram.
Ramana used his full name, Arunachala Ramana, on formal occasions. He used the initial “A.” with his name when writing articles or books, but most often only went by the single name, “Ramana.”]
Baba told Ramana that his new name means, “playing in God.” This may account for Ramana’s fun loving way of playfully handling or dealing with people relating with him, who are truly dedicated to realizing and abiding in the True Nature of Being. He loved joking with people, and often used wit, kidding, humor and laughter to make certain points, and to get his ideas and deep understanding across to his listeners.
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