Ramana Maharshi and Meenakshi Amman Temple

The house where Ramana Maharshi lived as a teenager is about 300 feet from Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, India, as shown in this picture from Google Earth:

When Ramana stood in front of his house he could see the temple’s south gopuram (gate tower) at the end of the block. The view looked something like this:

The house belonged to Ramana’s paternal uncle Subba.  Ramana moved there at the age of twelve soon after his father died and lived there until he realized the Self at age sixteen.   Today the house is a museum called Ramana Mandiram.  It’s the pink-and-white one in the middle:

The view from Ramana’s house has changed since the sepia photo was taken in the 1870s, but if you look past the trees, you can still see the temple tower:

After he realized the Self, Ramana remained at home for about six weeks before running away to Tiruvanammalai. During that period he visted the temple often. He told his biographer:

“One of the features of my new state was my changed attitude to the Meenakshi Temple. Formerly I used to go there occasionally with friends to look at the images and put the sacred ash and vermillion on my brow and would return home almost unmoved. But after the awakening I went there almost every evening. I used to go alone and stand motionless for a long time before an image of Siva or Meenakshi or Nataraja and the sixty-three saints, and as I stood there waves of emotion overwhelmed me.”

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Photos of Ramana Mandiram and present-day Chokkapa Naicken Street by Paul K., www.tripadvisor.com, taken Feb. 2015.
The quotation is from B.V. Narasimha Swami’s Self-Realization as edited by Arthur Osborne for his book The Mind of Ramana Maharshi.

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