Guide to this Blog

Arunachala is loved by many. This blog shows more of Arunachala and India than most visitors ever see. These postings may remind you of what you love, help you discover more about India, Tamil culture, and Arunachala, and plan a visit. Travel locations in and near India are also shown.

Blog Contents

Visitor Information

Arunachala Guide Guide to Arunachala, Pradakshina (Girivalam) route, the Inner Path and many of its caves. The most comprehensive guide to Arunachala.
Guide to Arunachala Pradakshina Route for Arunachala Pradakshina, and temples and shrines. The eight sacred Lingams and how to approach them. Giripradakshina scenes.
Resources for Western Visitors to Tiruvannamalai Find what you need for a successful trip.
Ramana Ashram  Posts showing Ramana Ashram and ashram events.
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi Timeline and Places Sri Ramana’s timeline and links to posts on associated locations.
Top Things to See in Tiruvannamalai Recommendations of special places to see.

Temples, Festivals and Celebrations

Temples, Shrines, and Ashrams in South India Holy places in Tiruvannamalai and South India
Festivals and Celebrations in Tiruvannamalai Religious celebrations are a big part of Tamil life. See these festivals.
Tamil Rites of Passage Tamils are an ancient people. See how they celebrate the passages of life.

Travel and Touring

Touring and Travel in India Travels within India.
Touring and Travel outside India Travels outside India.

Other Contents

 Articles about Arunachala Sadhus
Life in South India What is life like in Tiruvannamalai for Westerners?
Spiritual Teachers and Teachings A bit on spiritual teachers, with an eye towards my teacher, Nome, and those who visit Tiruvannamalai.

_______________________________________________________

We are Americans living in Tiruvannamalai because of our love for Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, and the holy mountain, Arunachala. We have lived in India for six years now, and continue to learn about it. I write this blog to show some of what we encounter and experience here. We love much of what we see, and I am naturally motivated to share what I love. I have no particular expertise, but am learning as I go along.

Notice: Starting in August, 2012 the Forest Department has banned use of the Inner Path. This seems like a tragedy for many devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi and others who have used this path for years and still use it regularly.  There are fines for violation of this ban.

arunachala-sunrise-after-mahasivaratri-night

Arunachala sunrise after Mahasivaratri

Arunachala Sunrise

Navigation

  • From the main page, use the Recent Posts and Top Posts to get started viewing the blog.
  • Other featured posts and series are listed above.
  • On any page, clicking anywhere in Arunachala picture / blog name at the top of the page returns you to this page. This is important, since the individual pages do not have the ‘Navigation bar’ shown to the right of this page.

Comments

Comments and questions are welcome as long as they are not abusive.

As a notice to all who comment on this blog: negative behavior is not acceptable.

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Om Arunachalesvaraya Namah,
Richard Clarke

Richard and Carol, exploring Arunachala

Richard and Carol

138 Responses to “Guide to this Blog”

  1. Shan Lancer Says:

    Hello Richard,
    Can we expect to see some election scene reporting?
    Thanks for your good work !!!

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      we will be out of the country at the time of the elections. Sorry.

  2. Ramachandran S Says:

    Dear Richard,

    This is Ram and I am in charge of strategy at Tamilnadu.com. Tamilnadu.com is the brainchild of Dr. V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai, the inventor of the world’s first email system. You can read more about him at inventorofemail.com. We wish to relaunch Tamilnadu.com as a stylish and well designed online newpaper which would be a platform for Tamils of the world to make themselves heard.

    I read some of the articles on your blog and would like to repost a few of them in the Culture section on the redesigned Tamilnadu.com which will be launching on March 15, 2014, when Dr VA Shiva is in India. We will be crediting you with the article with a small biography about yourself and a photo and a link to your email / website.

    I would really appreciate it if you could grant me permission to reuse a few of your articles and would also like you to send me a bio and a photo of yourself that we could publish on your profile page on Tamilnadu.com. Thanks in advance.

    Best regards
    Ram

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Please use what you want. I am pleased to share these with you and offer them to your readers. I will send you profile information soon. I am traveling now and do nhot have all at my hands.

  3. drsundaram Says:

    good morning richard and Karol
    so great is your article. i am delighted by reading and absorbing each and every word, thank you and Arunachala blesses you.

  4. spvy Says:

    Dear Mr. Clarke,
    I have avidly followed your blog over the last couple of years, when I discovered it by accident. I am fascinated by the fact that you find India so fascinating. I am Indian by ethnicity. I was born and raised in Tamil Nadu, and lived there until I was 21 years old. Then I moved to the USA to study, and later to Canada. I am now settled in Canada along with my family. I am no longer an Indian citizen, and have maintained only slim contacts with my relatives and friends in India.
    While I was growing up, I could not wait to get out of India. Sure, I liked and even loved a lot of things about the country (and still do), but the positive feelings were overwhelmed by feelings of revulsion over almost everything I saw around me. I loved the festivals, the kolams, the temples, the rituals and celebrations, the food, the history, literature and mythology, to name a few things. I hated the dirt, squalor, poverty, dishonesty, corruption, overpopulation, petty-mindedness, caste and religion-based quarrels, bad roads, mosquitoes, frequent electricity failures, rampant medieval attitudes towards women, litter everywhere, no civic hygiene, treatment of animals worse than garbage….. the list goes on. I still retain those feelings.
    I never visit India unless it is absolutely necessary for me to do so. I visited Thiruvannamalai a couple years ago and did the girivalam. The squalor around the city was as bad as anywhere in the country, notwithstanding the fact that pilgrims are expected to do the girivalam while barefoot. Since I don’t have a death wish, I chose to walk with my shoes on, but I simply can’t understand what goes through the minds of ‘pilgrims’ who litter everywhere and make the path dirty when they know very well that they and other pilgrims have to use that same path with bare feet. Even though I share the same blood, skin and genes as the rest of the pilgrims (being Indian by birth), I cannot understand most other Indians.
    My question to you is: why did you give up a comfortable life in a civilized environment like the USA to roast in a hot hell like India? How do you manage to survive the lack of electricity, water and most everything else that makes life livable? And WHY do you want to live a life like that? Why not go back to the USA and live happily there?

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      We like it here. We have learned how to live here comfortably. We can afford to live on our ss checks, which we could not do in the us. We find much of interest here, and there are always new things of interest. In India there are many temples. In the us, shopping malls. The life of the people is richer, even without all the things of the west. The faces of the children are brighter. The families are stronger. Sure there are hardships, poverty, etc. Just like in the us. There is more richness of life, though. My grandson said, amazed, that people talk to each other here.

  5. Vedika We Can Empower Says:

    Dear Richard sir,

    Loved your blog… Thank you for your service for ramana maharishi lovers I love bhagawanramana , but find it difficult to undeerstand and practice self inquiry.. vasanas and mental tendencies are a big obstacle…pls guide.

    Srikala.

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      replying by email. Best to have this discussion just between the two of us, and not in the comments of the blog.

  6. arunesh arun Says:

    Namo Ramana,
    An Opportunity to soak yourself in Ramananjali Music, Meditate on Arunachala and Express the joyous creativity.

    A Unique and Vast Contest and Fest – cross Nationalities, In 8 languages, ‘Every Family-Every Talent-Every Age’ from 1 to 101

    Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning, Bengaluru is holding a Global Online Contest and Fest in connection with Ramananjali’s 500th public offering and the centenary of the composition of Bhagavan’s Aksharamanamalai

    events.ramanacentre.com
    ra-info@ramanacentre.com

  7. ghariharan Says:

    Dear Richard:

    I am surprised that you have not met Sri Nochur Venkataraman. I was fortunate to attend the Bhagavatha Sapthaham held at Haridwar from Oct. 18 to 25, 2013. He is a scholar, no doubt, but more than that, he is a realised soul who has a passion to talk about advaita vedanta. Sri Ganesan, grand nephew of Ramana Maharishi, rates him almost as a reincarnation of Sri Ramana himself. He warns people not to miss the opportunity to benefit from interacting with Sri Nochur Venkataraman. Needless to say, he is easily accessible and unassuming. These days he lives in TVMalai. A series of lectures by him on Akshara Manamalai is scheduled from Nov. 8 thru 15th in TVMalai, I believe in Ramanashramam itself.
    Please make use of the occasion. This series is likely to be in Tamil. You can download discourses by him in Tamil, Malayalam and English from several sites on the internet, Geetham.net being one.

  8. Krishna San Says:

    Dear Richard

    Sri Nochur Venkataraman is a brahmin and married householder.

    He got attracted to Bhagavan Sri Ramana teachings from early childhood and had been into very orthodox and sadhana dedicated family.

    Having incurred all satvic qualities he considers devotion and knowledge both to be of same expression .

    He gives very deep contemplative lecture on Bhagavan’s Naan Yaar, Ulladhu Naarpadhu and other tamil works. He also gives beautiful lectures on Bhagavatam, Yoga Vashistam and other scriptures in English, Tamil and Malayalam.

    He is a sort of mystic but never boasts about himself.

    One can call him a Maha Pandit and a Pravanacharya meaning one who is immensely qualified for lectures which are called Pravachanams in Sanskrit.

    He visits Sri Ramanasramam occasionally and highs english lecture CDs can be obtained from Sri Ramasramam on order basis.

    As you were asking somebody about him I thought to reply you.

    Om Arunachala Sharanam.

    • Joe M Says:

      Hello Mr. Krishna San,

      How do I meet Mr. Nochur Venkatraman in Tiruvannamalai? I checked the website where his schedule is posted and there is nothing planned during my visit to TMalai. I am assuming that it means he would be at home.

      I could not find his English lectures anywhere. The sumukum website errored out when I tried it.

      Any thoughts, please?

      Thanks

  9. Dhamodharan Venkatesan Says:

    Hi Richard,

    I am getting delivery failure from richard@infiniteppie.net email id.

    I recently inquired about your Old age home in Tiruvannamalai (Address: Samutiram Village, Near Ramanashramam). And i came to know that it has been closed.

    Is it still functioning ?

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      First, my email is richard@infinitepie.net. The address yo used had two “p” in it.

      The trust is very much functioning, and is always in need of donations. From India you can donate by writing a check made out to “Quality of Life Trust” and sending it to them at:

      Quality of Life Trust
      Quality of Life Trust
      561 MGR Nagar, Perumpakkam Road
      Samuthiram Village, Ramanasramam,
      Tiruvannamalai. 606603

      Of you can deposit directly into their bank account:
      (deposit or EFT to)
      Canara Bank, Tiruvannamalai
      Acct No: 31039
      Account Name: Quality of Life Trust
      IFSC Code: CNRB0000953
      Branch code 000953
      No.19 Kosamada Street,, Tiruvannamalai 606601, Tamil Nadu
      Thank you for your interest in the Trust. They are doing very good seva with the care abandoned village elders, and with the feeding and care of aged and disabled sadhus along Arunachala Pradakshina Road

  10. Joe M Says:

    Hello,

    I am wondering about how to meet Mr. Nochur Venkatraman in Thiruvannamalai and your experiences meeting him.

    Any thoughts, please?

    Thanks
    Joe

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Who is he? I am not sure if I know him?

  11. Quixote de la Mancha Says:

    Hi Richard,
    You’ve posted that one can turn a tourist visa into a residence permit. I know this used to be possible, but is it still possible? And if so, is it possible in Tiru or everywhere there’s an FRO in India? “They” change the rules all the time – that’s why I’m asking.
    And if anyone else has the latest info on this subject, I’ll be most grateful to hear.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      You apply at the Foreign Registration Office at the Tiruvannamalai District Police office within 10 days of arrival to India. You stay working with the same offic e during your stay in India. Different places have different approaches, IN Tiru it is OK.

    • Quixote de la Mancha Says:

      Thank you, Richard, for your prompt reply. Much appreciated. Having lived in Tiru for 15 years (’80 to ’95), I really appreciate the service you are performing with this blog. Many people, especially newcomers, will be spared endless trouble as well as being educated about the area, the customs, and the local ‘how-to’s’..

  12. onedatadude Says:

    Hi Richard nice work, we would like to know how to go about arranging the feeding on Pradakshina road for Sadhus. Who do we contact to get that info?

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      email me at richard@infiniteppie.net. I will see what I can do.

  13. DIVAS Says:

    hi Richard,
    Do you know any cave in Arunachala where one can meditate for a long time? And what about food and water?

  14. Ragas Neevarp Says:

    and yeah..as i was reading abt swami nityananda, i was amazed at your humility and non judgement when u at the end wrote ” i know that i dont know” i think that one lines explains everything…we cannot judge anything on this planet from our limited intellect esp when Life is in constant flux and million unknown factors keep influencing mankind…whats right today , when unknown factors come out , might become wrong and vice versa…

    as fer nityananda is concerned,..without getting into any contraversies…..i feel his knowledge books are really good…just take whats good and ignore bad…at the end of day…u have to live your own life….

    sir..if possible , please mail me ur phone number so taht i can contact you when iam in arunchala

  15. Ragas Neevarp Says:

    hiii…i loved ur blog. i dug every word u have written …i had my own share of mystical experiences which i have chronicled in my blog.
    i am curious and would love to converse with you and know your spiritual odyssey…iam planning to come to Arunachala this weekend to experineces rich spiritual vibrations of holy Hill.
    plzz mail me if you are free for a moment when i am at arunchala
    praveensagarindian@gmail.com

    http://matrixstrikesback.blogspot.in/2012/11/omg-4-musing-on-mystical-mountain.html

    in faith n awe
    PS

  16. Seth Paul Burton Says:

    Hey Richard

    My name is Seth, we met at SAT a few times. Great blog!!!!

    I am wondering if there is any update on inner Pradakshina, or if it is even possible? I am thinking of coming.

    peace,

    Seth

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Inner Path still closed, maybe this will change wince there are new officials now involved. We will see. Evfen if closed you can still go to the top of Arunachala.

    • Matt Toerien Says:

      Hi Seth .Lets go together ,in early Nov.

      Matt

  17. Matt Toerien Says:

    Hi Richard.I think that I am returning to The Great Arunachala ,this November, but only if my guru, Sri Sarada says that I should, and as usual She’s not responding to my letters,so could I trouble your good self to ask Her please ? She lives at a house about 1km south of Ramanashram called Arunachala Hrudayam at the end of the newish road. I am Matt Toerien who lives at 70 Clare Crescent,Leatherhead,Surrey KT22 7QZ ,U.K .email add:matttoerien@hotmail.com . You will be very fortunate if you get to meet Her. I would like to meet you as well.
    Regards ,Matt.

    • drsundaram Says:

      can i have a briefing of sri sarada please

  18. Rajalakshmi Velu Says:

    Mr.Richard always await for your new posts.. and also become curious to know what would be your next post…
    Thank you very much…
    My love to madam
    Would also like to know more about spiritual sadhanas for various Sri Ramana disciples and sadhus lived and living…
    Rajalakshmi
    chennai

  19. Sathya Ijjapureddy Says:

    Dear Sir,
    My name is Sathya, planning to Visit Thiruvannmalai first time and me and my wife both wanted to do Giri pradakshina , I have Two kids girl (8) and Son (4). It would be little tough for them the do pradakshina , Is there any Rickshaws ( man pulling) available in thiruvannamalai ? I’m bit nerves , Please suggest ?

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      There are rickshaws if you get to where it is too hard for your kids. Call Rajan 9442415221 if you do no see one. Do not be nervous.

  20. Mike Anbae Sivam Says:

    dear richard. thinking of purchasing a small house in the view of retirement at thiruvanmalai. need your guidance and assistance. please email me at tfeocean@hotmail.com thz
    mani

  21. South Portland Maine Guitar Says:

    Hello -

    I am writing from South Portland, Maine
    in the U.S.A. to ask if you might be able
    to explain to me the circumstances
    around Radha Ma’s passing in 2011.
    It seems she doused the body with kerosene
    and set it alight.

    Can you please let me know any further
    thoughts you might have on the subject.

    I have been exposed to her presence through
    video posted on the internet and have been
    moved by her teaching. A friend recently asked
    me to explain how her action wasn’t simply nihilism
    or self destructive.

    Thank you very much -
    John C. McCain
    South Portland, Maine

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I cannot say anything to give you any more clarity. All I know is rumor and speculation, and none of this is helpful.

  22. Kreb Dragonrider Says:

    That is great works done for the elderly sadhus! I have been following your blog for several years. It’s my birthday, a good day for me to donate via paypal.

  23. Lalitha Ramesh Says:

    Thank you for the delightful story of Narayana Seva.
    In memory of my beloved mother who passed away on Mar 20 last year I have been sponsoring the Narayana Seva on the 20th of every month, but have been unable to be come over to the Ashram. Your detailed photo story gave me immense satisfaction. Thank you once again

  24. macromicrocosm Says:

    Do you know of any, or could you possibly ask around, if there are any physiotherapists in the area? Local or Western? I want to spend time in Tiru but I have to continue rehab for a broken leg and could use the guidance. Also osteopath? Massage?

    Thanks!

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      There are massage therapists here, and osteopaths. NOt sure of Physiotherapists.

    • macromicrocosm Says:

      Ok thanks.

  25. thisisvj Says:

    @Richard: Please help me with the following as I feel you may be the right person, since you are there in Tiruvannamalai itself:
    I believe, on Lord Dakshinamurthi, the following translations were made by Ramana Maharishi:
    Translations from Shankaracharya
    1. Dakshinamurti Stotra
    2. Shankaracharya’s Hymn to Dakshinamurti
    3. Guru Stuti
    From the website of Ramanashramam, I was able to get the translations of Dakshinamurti Stotra and Guru Stuti.

    Please help me with the tamil translation by Ramana Maharishi of 2. Shankaracharya’s Hymn to Dakshinamurti.

  26. mysticresearcher Says:

    @Richard

    Just wanted to know are you visiting the Maha Kumbh Mela to be held in Allahabad in Jan 2013
    thanks

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      NO plans. MY wife attended Kumbh Mela, I think in 2010 or 2011. Are you going?

  27. Sundaram Srinivasan Says:

    so great and nice of you mr richard.. you are a wonderful service to all fellow devotees of Bhagavan Ramana and Arunachala

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Thank you for the kind words. It is all service to Arunachala. It is grace that lets us serve.

  28. hotboots Says:

    Hi Richard, we met briefly last week at Ramanashram where I was with Saran. For anyone going to Tiru I cannot recommend Saran highly enough, he was brilliant and his love for Arunachala shone brightly each day we were out together. I met him through your blog and so a big thank you to you too.
    Just a note for anyone wanting to climb the mountain (and it was the highlight of my stay) good footwear is very important. Saran has a good walking pole which he lends out and also a backpack as he will carry your things but you do need trainers to be comfortable for some parts a quite stony.
    Julie

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I am glad that you have a good visit and that Saran was such a good guide. I do think he is the best guide that you can find, and his love for Arunachala is one big reason. You certainly are right about shoe, good shoes are important if you are going to climb the mountain.

    • yj000018 Says:

      Just climbed today, great experience!! Alternative to good shows: walk bare foot paying full respect to Lord Shiva/Arunachala…that’s what we did Satan and I, worth it: feeling the energy from the feet, humbling…

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Wonderful. You are getting off to a good start. Also his name is Saran.

  29. Yannick Jolliet Says:

    NEED YOU!…

    Hi Richard,

    So glad to have found your great blog! I really, really enjoyed reading at most pages…
    I will be coming mid of November to Tiru for a silent/alone retreat of few months on the Arunachala. On my spiritual path, I clearly feel now the need for such a time to deep dive into It… My Guru is also encouraging me, so I will drop my “normal life” here in Switzerland for 3-4 months and stop…

    I have few questions to prepare my retreat, and thought you would be the best one to maybe take few minutes to help me… It would also be really nice to meet you there ;-)

    Many thanks in advance to contact me on yannick.jolliet (AT) gmail.com

    Namaste
    Yannick/Yogeshwar

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      Happy to meet and give you what help I can. Email me at richard at infinitepie.net

  30. vedanticthoughts Says:

    Dear Richard, you have a wonderful blog, very useful for seekers coming to Tiruvannamalai. I would like to get some insights from you about Tiruvannamalai and had obtained your number from my friend John Maynard. I have been trying to reach you on your mobile the last few days. Unfortunately it is switched off. Kindly let me know how I can connect with you. I can be reached at shivakumar.v at gmail.com. Warm regards, Shiva

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      I am very sorry. We are in Kathmandu right now, will not be back in Tiruvannamalai until mid-Oct.

  31. Sylvia Florin Says:

    Hi Richard, what a terrific blog. You mention that you hold weekly video? satsangs at your house once a week with Nome. Is this still a happening thing? I would be interested in attending one (or who knows, maybe more…)
    Thanks Richard, for your efforts.

    Sylvia

  32. Martin Dunn Says:

    Namaste,

    I so enjoy your blog and my memories of Tiru. Thanks for sharing your great photos.

    Very excited to be returning for Deepam and staying into Jan this year.

    Wondering if you may have a phone number or email for Mr. Sham the proprietor of Mountain Breeze guest house in Tiru. Will be returning there this fall and wish to rent from him again. Thanks for your help and consideration.

    In Harmony,
    Marty

    Thank you,

    Martin Dunn
    http://www.artefx.com/

  33. drsundaram Says:

    will anabhakta tell me the video link that he has posted in Living in the embrace of arunachala. thank you
    drsdm23@yahoo.in

  34. drsundaram Says:

    i am so facinated and read the writings of Richard. he is doing fantastic service to bring alive all information of arunachala.

  35. Shan Velan Says:

    Dear Richard,

    Have you been Tirukovilur next to Tiruvannamalai.

    In Tirukovilur, there is a Vishnu temple at the center of the town. It is Ulagalandha Perumal / Tiruvikramaswamy temple.

    The veerataneshwarar temple is a Shiva temple which is older than the Vishnu temple is in Tirukovilur. It is located in the same Arakandanallur were the cave temple is located.

    If visit or already visited please post the pictures of veerataneshwarar Shiva temple.

    Thanks
    Shan

  36. Srimat Sadhananda Swamigal Ashramam, Alapakkam - Sadhanandapuram, left turn before perungalathur police station Chennai. 600063 Says:

    thank for you 2 years before i see your blog about Guide to the Inner Path,last year i went,

    I see all your blog , but you are not write about Parvathamalai Place is very auspicious Siva Temple in 35 kms north of thiruvannamalai (Arunachala). Now he is call You,,

    [ http://sadhanandaswamigal.blogspot.in/2010/11/parvathamalai-place-is-very-auspicious.html ]

  37. Mark Walker Adamson Says:

    hey richard, hope this finds you enjoying the moment.. I am currently in auroville and hoping to make the journey to the mountain in the next few weeks, and i was hoping you might be able to help me track down 2 beautiful canadians i met in mcloud gang a few years ago… The info i have is pretty sparse as unfortunately all info , addresses, etc went the way of the west wind.. They live or are from somewhere across from vancouver island, maybe in there late 50s early sixties and have a house on the other side of the mountain. I know the other side is probably not much use, but thats what i remember them saying ” go to the other side and ask for us, but as i dont remember their names, that is probably going to be a problem.. Anyway, if any of this rings any bells, fantastic, if not, then thats the way its meant to be… blue skies, mark.

    • richardclarke Says:

      Don’t know, Mark.

  38. Neil Harvey Says:

    Hi Richard & Carol

    Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your website. We were met you at the Ashreya Hotel where we were staying in November.

    We were only in Tiruvanamalai for 2 days although I had been there once before a couple of years ago. After reading the articles I now wish that we had stayed longer as I would liked to have explored the mountain a bit more.

    India is such an amazing place and in many ways I envy you for making a life there.

    Neil

  39. awareness82 Says:

    I would like to share my views about the greatness of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s teaching which is the path of self enquiry. Previously, the question who am I ? was very confusing later when this question became very serious in my mind, I found in one of Sri Ramana’s book that the enquiry – who am I would make sense only if the mind is turned inwards. He has recommended eating sattvic food, being in the company of seers (sat sang), or doing japa, meditating / uttering the divine names/attributes of God with such an intense feeling that the meditator, the object of meditation become one and finally what remains ultimately is the experience of meditation. He has also strictly advised to the seekers not to speak ill about others and interfere in other’s matter as this would pollute the mind and make it flow outwards. He further explains the seekers about self enquiry with the example of an Hand kerchief..the hand kerchief is composed of minute threads thus the collection of these threads is hand kerchief. Similarly, mind is nothing but collection of feeling, latent tendencies which we have accumulated over a vast expanse of time.. when the seeker realises that he is not the personality who is getting affected by the feeling be it positive or negative for example, the feeling may be happiness, sorrow, greed, jealous lust, pride, virtue, helping tendency, or any other good / bad attribute for that matter then he becomes free from the influence of these tendencies. The seeker can actually “see” this drama going only if his mind is turned inwards. Because a mind turned inwards has tremendous strength and like a concave mirror burning a piece of paper by concentrating sun’s beam, a concentrated, inwardly turned mind can burn out the latent tendencies of the mind. Thus the seeker could find that because of certain happening which he/she has experienced in the past, he/she has imbibed a certain type of personality or a feeling (positive / negative) which actually ‘suffers’ or ‘enjoys’ but the seeker remains a mere observer unmoved by the experience (pain/joy). He just remains a witness. At this stage, the mind reaches a state where it doesn’t get affected either by pleasure or pain. The mind reaches eqanimity which the Hindu scripture – Bhagwad Gita refers as “Sthitha Pragya” (meaning sthitha – equilibrium, pragya – consciousness). Thus the seeker’s mind attains a state of equlibrium and for such a seeker there is nothing like friend or foe. He treats every one as equal because he clearly sees that the there is no “person (good or bad)” in others but only personalities (good and bad) exist. As the mind becomes quiter and quiter because of this uninterrupted witnessing consciousness (which the buddhist say Zen meditation) the seeker slowly becomes aware that there is nothing called mind. Because the identification with ‘inner personalities(good / bad)’ has almost faded. So, he gives up judging others. For such a seeker, the question WHO AM I strikes like a thunder bolt on the pseudo existance of the mind. with this Self enquiry, the seeker becomes identified with the changeless, pure self awareness which the Hindu scriptures mention as “Atman”. Thus, the “person” gets totally “relieved ” “personalities” what remains is existence which can not be described. But even to a worldy person, if his / her energies are surrendered to a Guru (like Bhagavan Sri Ramana). If the “mind” is able to find rest at the lotus feet of Guru, then he / she need not worry about “getting” liberation because Sri Ramana insists that by surrender, the seeker surrenders everything to Guru and even the question of getting freedom will NOT arise in seeker’s heart because the ‘questioner’ should cease existence if the seeker has truely surrendered. All of us are really blessed because it is our good fortune that we have heard about Sri Ramana. I would call this a good fortune because out of millions of people in this world only few have came to know about him and only very few people were able to comprehend his unique approach of self enquiry.

  40. Christina Brennan Says:

    Can you recommend a good Vedic astrologer in Thiruvanamalai? Many thanks for your blog.

    • richardclarke Says:

      Do not know, maybe another reader can recommend?

  41. Heather Graham Says:

    Hi Richard and Carol,
    We enjoyed chatting to you at the Hotel Ashreya at Tiruvannamalai in November 2011. Hope you are both well.
    Kind Regards,
    Heather and Neil (Australia)

  42. Lalitha Ramesh Says:

    Thank You very much for such lovely pictures of Arunachala !

  43. Wim de Ridder Says:

    Hi Richard,

    Can you tell us something about Hillviewresidency, is it any good because the prices are really good for us. We cannot find any info about this hotel other than their website so we thought we are going to ask Richard because he knows. We are planning a trip to tir. in Februari/ March.
    Thank you so much and Namaste.

    Wim and Marjan from The Netherlands

    • richardclarke Says:

      Hillview REsidency is pretty close to Ramanasramam and to places to eat and internet cafes. Rooms usually good AC available (you will want in Feb/March. It is a place that I suggest. Prices good, too. Some people have had problems with the people who run it, others not.

  44. Galina Husaruk Says:

    I thank you for taking the time to help us! I will take the time to read more. I will be In Tiruvannamalai in January 2012. Do you have the email address of the SP guest house, or a phone number, because it was highy recommended but I cannot find any info on the place except for the address THANK YOU
    Galina Husaruk from Montreal , Canada
    ghusaruk1@hotmail.com

  45. anabhakta Says:

    Thank you, Richard.

    The link to the video is this:

    Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya!
    Ana.

  46. anabhakta Says:

    Hi, Richard,

    I am a constant reader of this blog and like very much your posts and also the photos you take. I am just preparing a simple video with Arunachala as subject, and I’d like to have your permission to use some of your shots in this video. My intention is just to pay a humble homage to the mountain and to my guru, Sri Ramana. If you give your permission, when ready the video, i will upload it in youtube with the proper credits. If you prefer, email me at ana,bhakta@gmail.com.

    Om Namo Bhagavate Sri Ramanaya!

    Ana.

    • richardclarke Says:

      Certainly you can use my photos. Please creadit ‘Richard Clarke at richardarunachala.wordpress.com.

  47. zfireiam Says:

    Richard, please contact me at zfireiam(at)yahoo.com You may remember me from NoMe? Zephyr. I need some help with a situation in Tiru and you are the perfect Being to help in accomplishing this simple task. Thanks Brother, look forward to hearing from you!

  48. karthigainathan Says:

    Hello Richard,
    Good photographs which are explaining each and every steps of the whole process of a function,
    or a village, or a traditional event and etc in Tiruvannamalai. Good work. Keep it work.
    And How did Tiruvannamalai inspired you this much?! Just i want to know…
    if you have some free time, please visit my blogs… karthigainathan.wordpress.com

    • richardclarke Says:

      Looked at your blog, can not read Tamil, so cannot read blog. Tiruvannamalai is not what inspired me, it was Arunachala.

  49. kevjkelly Says:

    Hi Richard. I recently read Swami Abhishiktananda’s ‘The secret of Arunachala’. I would be interested to know if you have ever dipped into this source about the use of various caves on Arunachala in the early 1950s; which he spent periods living on the mountain. Kevin

    • richardclarke Says:

      No I have not, sounds like it would be interesting. Thanks.

  50. sureshmr Says:

    Gautama Maharishi ashram is in TVM and in one of the blog of Richard there are palces especially the tortoise rock and the seven pits always with water

  51. sureshmr Says:

    Then Gautama Maharshi, an expert in Pranayama, went into deep meditation on Varuna Deva for 6 months. Then Varuna Deva appeared before him and offered him a boon. (It is interesting for us to see that Gautama did not do a Yajna, he did a Tapas, and that it was directed towards Varuna Deva and not towards Indra.
    Gautama asked Varuna to make it rain. Varuna said, “How can I disobey the Gods and make it rain? Please ask for something that I can do”. Then, Gauthama, who wanted to help others, said, “Please give me a water source, that never dries and gives us rewards everyday”. Then Varuna made Gauthama dig a shallow pit (as deep as a hand’s breadth), and filled it with water, that would never be exhausted, that would be called Gauthama tirtha. And the special reward of that Tirtha was that any tapas, or charity, yajnam, or shraddham performed in that place – would also have everlasting effects.
    , because of the inexhaustible water supply, there was never a drought again.

    The 7 wells in annamalai is the replica, Gautama Maharishi wife is daughter of Brahma and Gautama Maharishi gave place for UMA to unite with SIva to become arthanari.
    It is a fact not many knows that seshadiri when he went to see the place where UMA met Siva was struck by lightening and the person who poured water on him could see fumes. the rishi died after four days and buried at Ramana ashram.. It was Ramana Maharishi who sent Seshadiri with an intusion and then quoted Sehsdiri got the punya instead of me.

  52. lakkireddy123 Says:

    Dear sir,
    Hope you and carol are doing well. I regulary follow your blog. Since last year I have been coming to TVM every 3-4 months. I want to meet you when I come over there next time. Could you let me know how can contact you over there?

    Thank you,
    Lakkireddy

  53. sureshmr Says:

    Dear Sir,
    You have been in TVM for long and I am sure whatever little help you can give or guide me shall be the right direction as you are not only the follower of Ramana but in principle arunachala and good or bad I shall be glad to have got something from a blessed person living in the TVM for years If you can give your mail id I can take your suggestion or meet you when I am there next week

  54. sureshmr Says:

    And Further I am now desperate to buy a land. When I was there(TVM) few months ago I met a Swami who predicted three deaths , that will happen as the result of Raja minister deals . Today just now reading the news e version of Times I was shoked to see the second death of 30 year nephew of Raja.
    I was also told by this Swami that Japan is the north east position in the globe and called esan portion of the world the wet area of death and birth as per Siva’s law and he told me to help him do a pooja for Biravar for 48 days at the agni of SIva which is TVM and take it to Japan and install it there.
    Lookign at the hindsight well the problem of Japan is they have kept agni or the reactors in esan of the earth and Siva the destroyer has started his rudra destruction dance.

    So I am now inclined to meet this person again and then do the second job Thanks for your help and guidance

  55. sureshmr Says:

    I am NRI and my Wife Indian . I am told the cost of land is heavy in TVM and you must have known person to help you out. As such I do not want to go by the internet ads until I personally visit and then finish the deal maybe after 14th April the new year since this is a public forum I do not want to disclose more details unless I can mail you

    • richardclarke Says:

      It is good that you want to look at the4 land, not buy from Internet. I am not a land or real estate expert, and there is only a little help that I can give.

  56. sureshmr Says:

    Hi I am planning to buy property in TVM can you suggest the rules and how to get land for lease for some charity activity

    • richardclarke Says:

      Are you Indian? Or NRI? The rules are very different if not.

  57. jamesbey Says:

    Hello, Richard, and thank you for this informative website.

    Question what do all of you do about malaria? I too am thinking of coming to Tıru for resident sadhana, and I wonder what precautions are necessary.

    best,
    Jamesbey in Konya

    • richardclarke Says:

      We learned from an Indian nurse in the USA that the same medicine used to prevent the disease is the same as to cure an infection. So we do not take the preventative, but have the meds so in case we have a problem we can start taking them.

  58. babita2008 Says:

    Hi Richard,

    Any idea if Swami Annamalai is still alive? Does David Godman live in Tiruvannamalai? Thanks again for all your help!
    Regards,

    Babita

    • richardclarke Says:

      Swami Annamalai was killed in when a motor bike hit him while he was dancing around Arunachala, maybe three years ago. David Godman still lives in Tiru.

  59. sweetyqueen Says:

    my dad thinks this blog is great and he would like to get in touch with u n he knows a lot of arunachala… he would want ur email to interract. r u on facebook?

    thankyou

    • richardclarke Says:

      On facebook. Or he can contact me through this blog. Such contact is most welcome.

  60. ramanajyothi Says:

    Discovered this blog recently. I’m thoroughly enjoying your articles. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It’s interesting to see things from a westerner’s perspective. Also, thanks for the facebook account, ‘Song of the Ribhu’.

    Regards,
    Jyothi

  61. bhanuvaranasi Says:

    My Dear Richard
    Thanks for reply. Recently I visited Arunachala and Asram for the first time , being Indian Hindu ,after 50 years of my birth and I was fascinated about the glory of temple and arunachala and the power of silence in the asram premises.India is a vedic land and as per vedas , 33 crores davatas are protecting this land. All westerners are fascinated and adopting Hindu way of life and I pity some of the brothers in India are making mockery of this culture by their sheer ignorance. I also feel that you are only showing one custom of tamil nadu and you must see the entire Indian states and write about their customs and culture. We have 23 states and each state has its own importance. Come to telugu land of Andhra pradesh and write about our culture. You also see the marriages , upanayanams, pushkar bathings and other rituals so that you can understand fully about this great India., Mahan Bharat. Jai Ramana

  62. bhanuvaranasi Says:

    hi richard
    why r u so much impressed with arunachala . I feel taht you are not spresding the message of Raman maharshi rather you are promoting tiruvannamalai or rajan?

    • richardclarke Says:

      Many voices already praise Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. There is little I feel I can add to what is already there. Bhagavan was drawn by Arunachala, as are many millions of people each year. IF I ‘promote’ anything, it is Arunachala. I also have found it of benefit to provide information that may be of use to the many people. both Indian and westerners, who visit Tiruvannamalai and Arunachala.

      If you want to see more on the internet extolling Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi perhaps you should start a blog yourself.

  63. jimkett Says:

    Hey Richard, sorry I missed you and Carol when you came to CA. I met you when I came with Jim C last Oct. I will be back in Tiru in Nov. and have some questions. Send me an email and I will reply to that. Hope to see you in November. Glad to see the many additions to the site.

  64. philji123 Says:

    This is such a wonderful resource for anyone interested in Arunachala and Sri Ramana. Many Thanks for offering it.

  65. monacarol Says:

    HELLO IM NEW TO THIS SITE,BUT IM VERY INTRESTED

  66. babita2008 Says:

    Thanks a lot Richard. I will ponder over this.

  67. babita2008 Says:

    thanks Richard. Any idea why the sudden unrest and disturbed meditation after the visit to the ashram. It seems like my sadhana is taking me backwards instead of forward. How does one explain that? Can’t find the answers on my own unfortunately.

    • richardclarke Says:

      Forward and backwards are just ideas. How do you measure these in the vast absolute Being-Consciousness-Bliss?

      What is it that brings you the thought of ‘moving backwards?’

      Deeper or less deep are what matters. Deeper is more absorbed in Being. Less deep is more being involved with that imaginations of mind, body and world.

      There is immediate Existence-Consciousness. Only. If your practice is that as your experience, then no more needs to be done. If you practice moves this way, then that is good. (If it moves this way, then there is probably less ego) If not, then why not? What imagined identity are you taking that moves it ‘away.’ (By the way, It never moves away, it is just obscured by imagination and ideas.)

  68. babita2008 Says:

    Hi Richard,

    I have a strange query. I was in the ashram in April of this year for three days. Although I had a wonderful visit ever since I have come back my mind seems to have become more cluttered with thoughts. My meditation is disturbed and I have started suffering from insomnia (It’s 1.30 am in the US right now). I’m unable to explain this unrest. I’ve suddenly been taken by this urge to abandon all books and experience things within rather than reading the wonderful experiences of Bhagavan’s devotees. All this is suddenly creating anxiety in me and I’m confused and baffled by this turn of events. Any idea what could be the reason? Bhagavan is everything to me and I can’t believe I could feel such unrest after returning from his abode.

    Blessings,
    Babita

    • richardclarke Says:

      Bhagavan said that real self-inquiry is more of a feeling than a thought. If your urge is to directly know that within you that does not come and go, then follow the urge. Books are mental. They are beneficial in that they can get the mind prepared for inquiry. Inquiry needs no books. It just needs the genuine investigation of what is your real nature.

      Ramana talked about ‘the stick used to stir the fire.’ This stick gets consumed in the fire when it is not longer needed.

      Books are for the mind. Are you a mind? Who knows this mind? Does the mind know itself? In this way you can ‘look’ to where the books are pointing, to ‘the unknown knower of all the known.’ There is a Zen saying to the effect that when the master uses his finger to point to the moon (the absolute Self) do not confuse the finger with the moon.

  69. mahabhutani Says:

    Hi, Richard and Carol! We are very pleased to discover your blog! We have been studying Bhagavan´s teaching for several years. I have just finished translating texts of our Guru, writing a book in Portuguese: AOS PÉS DO GURU (At the feet of the Guru). Please, visit our site: http://www.nitcult.com.br/sobuhir.htm and tell us your opinion. We intend to continue visiting and enjoying your site. Thank you! Yours in Bhagavan. Sebastião Carvalho and Rosa Maria Rossi de Carvalho

    • richardclarke Says:

      I hope this site helps you to see Bhagavan in your Heart! The page that shows all of the places associated with Ramana, should be very good for you: http://richardarunachala.wordpress.com/guide-to-this-blog/ramana-maharshi-timeline-and-sites/

      I was important for us to visit all these places. I feel important to share them with others as well.

      I looked at your site, can’t read Portuguese though. Have you considered translating THE book most used at Ramanasramam during Bhagavan’s day into Portuguese? this is the Tamil Ribhu Gita. Our teacher, Nome, along with Dr. Ramamoorthy, a Tamil and Sanskrit scholar, made a wonderful English translation, ‘Song of Ribhu. This has been reprinted by Ramanasramam, and also been translated into other languages (I think Italian and Korean). Maybe it is time for the Portuguese version?

  70. babita2008 Says:

    Hi Richard,

    I was in Tiru in April and want to return in December with my husband. We are planning on coming in end of December. Do you think it will be too crowded then? Your comments will be greatly appreciated.

    Blessings,
    Babita

    • richardclarke Says:

      Deepam is early this year, in Early Dec, so I think it will be OK.

  71. karthik681 Says:

    Thanks for you info.
    I’ve been visiting T.V.Malai for last five years. When you said they are just six (observed) saints, what about the rest.
    How does one distinguishes between saints and orange clad men. Is the answer that one should find his guru.

    • richardclarke Says:

      Some feel the men in orange are half way to becoming saints. Perhaps some are.

    • richardclarke Says:

      As to how to distinguish a saint, a jnani (one who knows himself), there is no outer ‘test.’ One way is by the sense of peace you feel when you are with them.

  72. karthik681 Says:

    Hi,

    Your website has become an encyclopedia of the holy mountain, i could like to know more on saints (sadhus) in T.V Malai, and their mysterious powers if any. I strongly believe there must exist a bit of secrets still left from A Search in Secret India.

    Thanks

    • richardclarke Says:

      The locals say that there are six saints living around Arunachala at any time. Some are known, many are known only by a few, or not at all. There is one man now, who walks the road around Arunachala. He does not wear sadhu’s orange, rather a blanket, or just a dhoti when it is hot. He will refuse any money. If you give it to him, he will just take it and throw it on the ground. The same with food. He is revered by some, unknown by most.

  73. vidya1984 Says:

    Respectfully Respected Sir, I have read your guide about GIRIPRADHAKSHANA, I am verymuch impressed and I want more information from you. After seeing your photos in net and description about other information, I really felt that I have missed so many thing in my life, about information furnished by yourself. We are frequent visitor of Tiruvannamalai and stranch DEVOTEE OF MAHAN SRI SESHADRI SWAMIGAL a grate SAINT who bring BHAGAVAN SRI RAMANA MAHARISHI to the outer world. We are very lucky. From the age of 20 I am coming to T.V.Malai and now I am running 60 with good health/physique. I am very much eager to round with all INNER PATH. I need you help and guidence. I hope you will help me to fulfull my ambitions. I am very much eager and want to speak to you. I want to here your voice, kindly give me your cell number. I am also very much eager to meet you in person.

    Thanking you Sir,

    K.KUMARASWAMI, 9444208625

  74. vidya1984 Says:

    Dear Sir,

    Very good information. We are frequent visitor of Tiruvanamalai. My dad use to come on monthly basis or weekly basis. We got an oppurtunity to visit your blog thru the book “A Guide to Giripradakshina” We are stranch devotee of Sri Seshadri Swamigal & Sri Ramana Maharishi.

    We were at Tiruvanamalai from 14th – 16th March. Also, we went for Giripradakshina & Skandashram. My father is very eager to do Giripradakshina in inner path

    During next time visit we would like to meet you.

    Thank u…

    • richardclarke Says:

      I nsaw your post on March 20th. Maybe the next time you are in Tiru?

  75. 23royal Says:

    Hi Richard, my name is Royal. Pista and Willa recently turned me on to you and your blog. I’m so ever grateful. I’ve been a devotee of beloved Ramana since he summoned me in 1996. I spent a couple months in T in 2002. I will return to settle there in April/May 2010. I would like to rent a small, modest house in the countryside around Arunachala. I’m coming from Los Angeles. There’s somewhat of an overwhelming feeling of details that is demanding my attention to make this transition as harmonious as possible. I heard a recent change in visa laws for US citizens? My current tourist visa is good until 2012. I obviously need to be free to stay indefinitely. I need some advice in a few areas. Thank you for your selfless service, may the winds of Grace be always at your back!

    • richardclarke Says:

      You can get residency permit, that extends that stay beyond the six months of visa, must be done within two weeks of coming to India. Many details you must attend to. Maybe house rent is rs 10,000. Will need to buy AC (rs 36000) and probably scooter (maybe after a while) – rs 40,000- 50,000. Recommend you make a monthly deal with my rickshaw driver, Rajan, to give you the help you need in first few months.

      Also to make money transfer very easy, we got account with State Bank of India of California. US money goes there. We have SBI account in tiru, use their bank card to get funds. Send me email to ask about more richard@infinitepie.net. The time you come is the hottest of the year.

  76. babita2008 Says:

    Thanks a lot for the advice. It is very helpful.

  77. babita2008 Says:

    Hi Richard,

    I’m visiting Tiruvannamalia on April 16th and plan on staying for 2 days at the ashram. I wanted to ask you how long it takes to do the giripradakshina? For someone who is deeply devoted to Sri Bhagavan how would you make the most of the 2 days? I’m asking for your advise since you have spent many years here. I’m visiting from NJ, USA.

    Thanks for all the useful information you have posted on your website. I look forward to your feedback.

    In reverence to Sri Bhagavan,

    Babita

    • richardclarke Says:

      Giripradakshina is 4 or 5 hours. What is best for two days depends on you. Many people find just sitting in the old hall is enough. I would try to be up a Skandashram at 8 AM for the chanting. The swami walks up the hill right after breakfast, so you could too. I would say no NOT do pradakshina in the middle of the day, too hot for most westerners. April will be hot, maybe 106 degrees.

  78. satkrsh Says:

    Hi Richard,

    Thank You. I really appreciated the information you had shared through this blog; very informative. Though I am from Tamilnadu (settled in Bangalore now) only recently I became aware of Sri Ramana Maharishi and his teachings. Thanks again for sharing these wonderful experiences. Planning to visit TVM and walk the inner path soon.

    Warm Regards,
    Sathish

  79. Jingle Says:

    interesting blog!

  80. ayyachamy1962 Says:

    Nice postings. Would like to meet you next time when I am in Arunachala.

    • richardclarke Says:

      Before you come, send me an email – richard@infinitepie.net.

  81. chirichard Says:

    Hi Richard,

    GREAT website! I’m a native Californian (Ojai) who has lived in France the past 29 years, and plan to come to Tiruvannamalai for 2 weeks this summer, roughly the last week of July/first week of August. I find conflicting stories about summer weather, so my question is, is it any hoter than California in summer??!!

    Best,
    Richard Laubly

    • richardclarke Says:

      Most days it will be high of 100 low of 80. Stays hot after the sun goes down, unlike CA.

  82. swamyek Says:

    The first step to self-realisation is the “fear of death”. This fear turns one’s mind inwards. I ve experienced it myself. Your posts on samadhis of Smt Sarasvati and Shri A. Ramana helped me to turn my mind inwards. I only need to catch this feeling strongly to move forward. May Bhagvan Ramana maharshi be with me ever.

  83. ramkumarhalo Says:

    Good works for Arunachala..
    Im an fan of your blog..

  84. prabaharanaece Says:

    Hi Richard & Carol,

    I had seen u guys many times in Ramana Ashram unfortunetly i dont know u at that time. no while seeing your pics i recognize u. hope u had a great stay in Tvm

  85. smvel Says:

    Hi Richard Arunachala,

    Great blog with wonderful inputs on our dear and beloved Arunachala.

    May Arunachala keep you near him and motivate you to contribute more of the same.

    Regards
    Murugavel

  86. grkumarvv Says:

    hello sir,
    i am delighted to found such a great work from you. do you have intrest to do such articles on other holy places? if you are then can get in touch with me. I am not as experienced as you . i am only in begining stage of knowing about siddhars and their teachings.

    you can reach me at grkumarvv@yahoo.com

    Regards,
    Ramkumar

  87. vikgrt1 Says:

    Wow, awesome! Really liked the blog. Keep up the good work.. Felt happy browsing through the pics on the blog from the place of Ramana Maharishi. Thanks for putting up such an effort… All the best to your inner quest!

    -Vikram

  88. apnkrajesh Says:

    Dear sir,
    very nice ur devotinal site. great work. fentastic superb sir.
    om nama shivaya….,,,,,,,,

    devotional site lists http://kamalakanniamman.blogspot.com

  89. tapas Says:

    I love your blog..keep it going!

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