At the age of 16, Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950), named Venkataraman at birth, had an intense spiritual experience involving a sudden and overwhelming fear of death. He went into the experience and it became the death of his ego, which invoked a flood of Self awareness. Soon after, he left home for Arunachala – a South Indian mountain whose very name had mysteriously called to him as a holy place worth seeking – to pursue a purely spiritual life. He spent his time in deep meditation, often entering high states of consciousness and samadhi. Eventually he settled on the slopes of Arunachala and his followers built an ashram around him. He answered their questions and commented on the spiritual works they presented him, but always with the same simple issue, pointing to the source of our thoughts summed up in the question: Who am I?
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