Maharishi Play

The Tamil play depicting the life of Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi was fantastically staged. All the artists had given their heart and soul to the play. Huge kudos to everyone.

Update: You can read the follow up to this post here: Maharishi Gita.

The Play

The slides with the brilliant appropriate background pictures took us back to Tamil Nadu of 1890s and early 1900s. The pleasant music straddled between divinity and drama. The setting which at the outset would look simple was anything but - each piece on the stage was done well and those who have read the story would recognize.

The way the story was narrated in a nice way - switching between Ramanar in the 1940s to the early childhood to the youth who makes a daring self-experiment to the one who would wander off to Thiruvannamalai to the middle-aged by now well-recognized yogi/maharishi was done beautifully.

A short intro to Who am I

For those unfamiliar, Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi’s teaching is one of the most simplest to explain, the easiest to try but at the same time one of the hardest ever to persevere through. The alpha to omega of the teaching can be summarized in three words “Who am I?”. Bhagavan’s advice goes : keep asking the question repeatedly. Anyone can give surface level banal answers (my name, my profession, status in society / country / state / city/ community/ office / family) to the cleverer ones (my mind, intellect, heart, soul, jivatma ..). All of them change. Keep going deeper. What is a constant? What is the source?

And that’s how Ramana Maharishi takes one to the pinnacle of the exact same teaching of Advaita Vedanta.

Three scenes

Here are three scenes that touched me.

  1. A devotee asks Bhagavan “But what about those following another path such as (Ashtanga) Yoga?” (with respect to his teaching of incessantly / deeply questioning “who am I”). Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi’s answer: You want to take a bullock-cart to the destination. Yoga is where you are sitting on the cart and driving the bulls into submission with some force to get them to stay on the way. “Who am I” method is like going to the front of them, luring them with grass and taking (cajoling) them to the same destination.

  2. Another devotee’s question: “Bhagavan, people are saying that you take a long time to answer when they ask you a question”. Answer: “just like you all mention that it is very hard for your minds to not think about things ….. it is very hard for me to think about things. So most of them, I have to be pulled out, come back to the world and then comprehend the question to answer”.

  3. One asked: “Why are you reading Vivekachoodamani?”. Maharishi’s answer, “I wanted to read about Shankara’s description of my state”. Swami Ishwarananda’s talk was short and to the point - but to the point of wanting more. He is an amazing orator and I wished to learn more.


Huge shout out to my dear friends Shoba Rao, who released her autobiographical book and Suresh Sankaralingam for doing three amazing sketches / paintings and both of them donating all the proceeds to Cancer Institute – this is beyond their volunteering tirelessly for all these events for more than a decade.

I thought I did not know anyone acting in the play. As fate would it (or should I say Maharishi’s divine play?), I knew not one but two and not just any two, but sakshaath the two Ramanars (the middle-aged Ramanar played by Badri and the aged-Ramanar played by Sriraman). The former who I would meet and make an acquaintance of just a few days back and the latter, we live in the same housing community! They both played it so well and the dialogues and their appropriate delivery were both goosebumps inducing.

Thiruvannamalai Trip

I have been to Thiruvannamalai only twice - one trip was a half day hurried trip for a family function but my trip last February was a 4 day trip where I made the trip with 3 friends who I had not even seen before - met them “on the internet” - I kid, we are part of a Gita satsang. But as things happen with Maharishi, just spinning out a thought out to the Universe was enough to set things in motion and for a trip to materialize and for others to join and it was a wonderful blissful four days. We visited the Thiruvannamalai temple, did the Giri valam, went to Seshadri swamigal ashram and of course, many times to Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi’s ashram. We would also meet Swami Guruparananda on the way (since he lives near by Kanchipuram) and meet Swami Paramarthananda (on the way back, in Chennai).

Blast from the Past

If you are interested, you can read about our Thiruvannamalai trip

Notes from our Q&A with Swami Guruparananda

Notes from our Q&A with Swami Paramarthananda

Notes from Talk by Swami Ishwarananda for Ramanar-Jayanthi

Om Tat Sat.