Annamalai Swami

Annamalai Swami

1906–1995

Annamalai Swami was a direct disciple of Sri Ramana Maharshi who realized the Self after practicing Self-enquiry for decades. This experience gave him first-hand knowledge of how to perform Self-enquiry successfully, making his advice especially valuable to seekers. His teachings, which he delivered in plain, direct language, have been recorded in two books, both of which we recommend.

Biography

Annamalai Swami

Annamalai Swami was born in a tiny village called Tondankurichi in Tamil Nadu, India, in 1906. Soon after his birth, his father, who was an astrologer, came to the conclusion that the boy would become a sannyasin, a monk. To prevent this from happening his father decided to keep him illiterate by taking him out of school at a very early age. Despite his father's efforts, he taught himself to read and felt an attraction toward religion.

He recalled later, "Nobody had ever talked to me about religious matters, but somehow I had always known that there was a higher power called God, and that the purpose of life was to attain this God. Without being told, I instinctively felt that everything I saw was somehow illusory and not real. These thoughts, along with the idea that I should not become attached to anything in this world, were part of my consciousness even in my earliest boyhood.[1]"

1. Godman, David. Living by the Words of Bhagavan. Sri Annamalai Swami Ashram Trust, 1994, p. 7.

At age 17 he ran away from home and became a sannyasin. When he was 22, he decided that Sri Ramana Maharshi was his guru after seeing a photograph of him. He went to Sri Ramana's ashram and worked there for nearly a decade, first as Sri Ramana's personal attendant and later as the construction manager.

After ten years of service, Sri Ramana told him to leave the ashram and devote himself to Self-enquiry. He moved to a house near the ashram where he practiced Self-enquiry for decades and eventually realized the Self. He died in 1995.

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Recommended Books

Living by the Words of Bhagavan

This book is an autobiography of Annamalai Swami who became Self-realized after many years of effort and close association with his guru, Ramana Maharshi. It paints an unusually intimate portrait of the Maharshi based on Annamalai Swami's ten years of interactions with him, first as his personal attendant and then as supervisor of building projects at Sri Ramanasraman. The book is sober and free of the cloying sentimentality that mars many memoirs of this type. This is not a hagiography; Annamalai's Maharshi is a surprising figure who does quirky and even incomprehensible things. The final section of the book contains transcripts of conversations that Annamalai Swami held with seekers in the 1980s. Annamalai Swami worked hard for many years to realize the Self, making his advice especially useful to seekers for whom Self-realization does not come easily. We think this is a wonderful book, one of the best about Sri Ramana, and we recommend it very highly.

Where to Buy

Amazon

AHAM

Avadhuta

David Godman

InnerQuest

Sri Ramanashramam

 

Living by the Words of Bhagavan

Published by Sri Annamalai Swami Ashram Trust

Hardcover

367 pages

(No ISBN number)

Annamalai Swami: Final Talks

This small book is one of a half dozen that we recommend most strongly to people who want to practice self-enquiry in order to realize. It contains transcripts of talks that Annamalai Swami held with seekers during the last six months of his life. His advice about how to practice Self-enquiry is unusually valuable because he worked for a long time to become Self-realized. Annamalai Swami spent nearly ten years with Ramana Maharshi, first as his personal attendant and later as construction manager at Sri Ramana's ashram.

Where to Buy

AbeBooks

Amazon

AHAM

Avadhuta

David Godman

InnerQuest

Sri Ramanashramam

 

Annamalai Swami: Final Talks

Published by Annamalai Swami Ashram and AHAM (2000)

99 or 162 pages

ISBN-10: 0971137181 and 1888599170

ISSBN-13: 978-1888599176

This page was published on February  3, 2014 and last revised on February 15, 2014.

Photos courtesy David Godman.