Honestly; haven’t been to many ashrams in this life. Ramana Maharishi’s ashram is the second ever for me to visit.
As soon as I heard the name of the town for the first time; got a strong affinity to the name of the town itself (Tiru-vana-malai). There are extremely rare moments in life when the soul expresses its intense exhilaration on experiencing something. Coming to Ramanashramam was once such moment. Reached the ashram at 4 in the morning. The very first visual I had on entering the ashram was the deepam that was burning on top of Arunachala Hill and the next was the ever alight agni lingam infront of the samadhi of bhagvan. It was being attended by an old man with extremely kind eyes. As we had a language barrier; he gestured me to sit infront of the fire. Sitting there for few minutes; I proceeded to the meditation hall.
Spent 2 days at the ashram and still amazingly felt having spent an eternity in those 2 days. The surroundings, the disciplined life, the vedic chants in the evening, the prayers for the mighty Arunachala, the over filling meals, the morning prayers and rituals in the temple, the prankster monkeys, the flight of peacocks, the dogs lazing in the temple fearlessly. There was a very evident harmony in each and every form of life-force present in the ashram.
The trek through the thick of the trees to the Virupaksha cave as well as Skandashram is worth taking. Sitting in Virupaksha cave can give one goosebumps.
Can’t wait to visit again to do my girivalam around the Arunachala Hill.