SWAMI ANNAMALAI


1906-1995

Annamalai Swami was born in 1906 in a small village in Tamil Nadu, southern India. He was named Sella Perumal, and from an early age showed a keen interest in spirituality.

In 1928, when he was 22 years old, he traveled to Tiruvannamalai to meet Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi who lived near the city along the base of the slope of the holy mountain Arunachala. Following in the footsteps of Sri Seshadri Swamigal, who saved the young Ramana from the ravages of insects and vermin in the underground vault he first inhabited, and Palaniswami, who stayed with Ramana in Virupaksha Cave and Skandasraman Cave, he became the Maharshi’s personal attendant and given the name Annamalai Swami (Annamalai is another name for Arunachala). Swami Annamalai’s duties, after being directed to do so by Sri Ramana, was to oversee all phases of the ongoing construction, continuing expansion, and positive growth of the Ramana Ashram, including the goshala (cow shed), dining hall, dispensary and other projects.


HOW THE ASHRAM LOOKED WHEN ANNAMALAI ARRIVED IN 1928



HOW THE ASHRAM LOOKED WHEN ANNAMALAI LEFT IN THE MID 1940s
In 1938, ten years after his arrival in Tiruvannamalai, Swami Annamalai realized the Self, Awakening to the Absolute under the grace and light of Sri Ramana. Five or six years later, sometime in the mid-1940s, Bhagavan instructed him to leave the ashram and engage in intense Sadhana. Interestingly enough, the same year Annamalai’s realization occurred, 1938, was the same year British playwright and author W. Somerset Maugham showed up gathering background material for his book The Razor’s Edge. What is even more interesting is that the same year Annamalai arrived at the ashram in the first place, 1928, the central character in Maugham’s story, Larry Darrell, arrived at the ashram as well. In that Darrell is based on a person in real life (see) most likely the two of them either met or knew each other. Two years after his arrival, according to the narrative of Maugham’s story, Darrell exprienced Awakening under the grace and light of the Maharshi.

Following his departure from Sri Ramanasramam, Annanamalai took up a quiet, austere life in his own hut in Palakottu (Palakothu), an area that borders the western boundry adjacent to his master’s home. He would occasionally meet the Maharshi on his walks, but never again in the fifty years that followed did he reenter Sri Ramanasramam nor engage in conversation with him. Even so, a few years later, acting on Bhagavan’s instructions, he built the Sri Annamalai Swami Ashram. He lived there until his death on November 9, 1995.

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