Ramana Maharshi was born on the 30th of December, 1879 in Tiruchuzhi, in the state of Tamil Nadu in southern India. He and his three siblings grew up in a Brahmin family. His father, who was a lawyer, died when Ramana was twelve years old. After that Venkataraman - which was his real name – lived with his uncle in Madurai and up until the age of 16, there was nothing unusual about him. Perhaps his photographic memory and his good athletic performances were noticeable. He also was very interested in the Nayanmars, the 63 Shaivite saints.
On the 16th of July, 1896, things should change. Ramana was, without a reason, overtaken by a sudden fear of death. He pictured his own death. However, after all vital functions were gone, his consciousness remained as before. This experience touched him so deeply that it caused Ramana to radically change his way of life.
On the 29th of August, 1896 Ramana Maharshi went away from home and spent the rest of his life as a renunciate on the sacred Arunachala mountain at Tiruvannamalai. This was followed by many years of intense, silent meditation. Gradually, more and more people gathered around this extraordinary young man. An ashram formed around him which soon attracted people from all around the world. On 14th of April, 1950 Ramana left his mortal body behind. This apparently had little impact on his popularity, because even today, 60 years after his physical death, his fellowship is still constantly growing. He is one of the most important saints of India.