About Richard and Carol

Richard Clarke and Carol Johnson moved to India in 2007 to live near the holy mountain, Arunachala, after a life in Silicon Valley, CA, USA. Carol. Together they explore Arunachala, life in Tiruvannamalai and India, and  life in nearby Indian Villages.

They moved to Mexico in 2015, now living in the wonderful “gringo” community near Ajijic, Jalisco, on the shores of Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest lake.

Richard’s first spiritual interests we in Ch’an Buddhism, which he studied for 25 years. Richard now follows the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi starting in 1990, when introduced to Ramana by his teacher, Nome, of The Society of Abidance in Truth, in Santa Cruz, CA, USA.

Richard presently offers weekly Ramana Maharshi Self-knowledge satsangs, and Mindfulness Meditation training to small groups in Mexico.

For more about why Richard and Carol came to Arunachala, read these two posts:

Why move to Tiruvannamalai and Arunachala? – Part One
Why move to Tiruvannamalai and Arunachala? – Part Two

30 Responses to “About Richard and Carol”

  1. kalpa108 Says:

    Hi Richard and Carol,

    I hope you’re both very well…

    The Archives being closed I’ve been reading Face to Face with Ramana Maharshi. The charming entry number #46 by Akhilandamma mentions her first meeting with Bhagavan at Sadguru Swami Cave, so I looked this name up in your lovely blogs on caves but did not find it. Do you think it has another name, or did I miss it?

    Thanks in advance and Best Wishes

    John Maynard

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      John, so good to hear from you. I do not know the cave by that name. I am afraid I. for the most part, just wandered around the mountain without a guide. Perhaps Saran (know him?) knows. He lived on the mountain as a kid and knew much of it. What is your email? Can you send it to richard@infinitepie.net ?

  2. sivashambo Says:

    Hello sir, Thanks for giving a wonderful information

  3. henrichero Says:

    Namaste Richard,

    My Blessings to you and Carol.
    I am from Canada,Montreal
    I would like to retire in India having lived in the Himalayas from 1987 10 2000.
    I have been back in Canada for 11 years and I am at the point of finishing my western lifestyle.
    If I may ask a few questions.
    Can I live there on $1500 a month ?
    How much would a house dwelling cost for 1 person.
    Life in the Himalayas was very hard on the body,due to bacterias ,germs ,stomach viruses.
    Is the South subject to the same?
    Thank you so much for your beautiful Space
    Henri Chero

    • richardclarke Says:

      My wife and I live in Tiruvannamalai for less than $1500 per month. Not at all sureo fhouse costs around India, I am told that in Tiruvannamalai they are higher than the nearby big city, Chennai. Here a nice house might cost $25 – 50K. Renting is also a good option, as there are a number of houses designed for westerners. All this depends on where you want to live. Before you can buy, you must fulfill Indian residency rules, that is to have a stay greater than 180 days in the prior fiscal year (I think April to April).

      No ideas about diseases here vs. the north. I suspect, that in these tropic environments at lower altitude they are worse. That said, we have had few problems. We are careful with food and very careful with water, but to eat at a number of Indian places.

      Good luck, ask all the questions that you need.

  4. Good Kharma keeps the wheel turning Says:

    Good Kharma keeps the wheel turning…

    (…) My blog is PR2 and has 12k backlinks- please click my source link and you will get a do-follow link there upon approval of this trackback! Let’s share the Google love! (…)…

  5. annamalaiyar Says:

    hi richard iam cmng to thiruvannamalai on full moon day can i meet u in person and want to talk to u more about my findings of gods and siddhars who attained various levels , can i be with u in person ….here is my id …sen_1432003@yahoo.com / sen1432003@gmail.com ….my contact num:9842388803/9092121557… right now iam in chennai , i will be in thriuvannamalai on full moon day….if u wish i want to meet u , where should i cmae can i know ur address….or any contact details…….regards senthil….

  6. annamalaiyar Says:

    here iam to say that richard had given a good message to peoples and devotees who all in search of god, he posted all the true facts of annamalayar and ramana maharishi, but TO ALL DEVOTEES . THAT RAMANA MAHARISHI DIDNT PASS AWAY HE IS STILL THERE IN THIRUVANNAMALAI HE, ATTAINED THE VARIOUS STAGES OF INNER LIGHTINGS AND SERVING THE PEOPLES PROBLEM WITHOUGHT THEIR KNOWLEDGE.
    iam a social person and sincere devotee of lord annamalaiyar and 18 siddhars iam in follower of inner personality of siddhars who are living in and arround us , and iam spreading all the awareness of god who is inside us and outside as the creator, visited so manny caves in and arround tamil nadu and doing meditations for the past 10 years my guru is been located at mahalingam near rajapalayam dist , if any one wants to visit any cave i can take them there

  7. ReadersHeaven Says:

    Hi, nice to meet you !

  8. prakasham9 Says:

    You can manage here with English without tamil knowledge

  9. prakasham9 Says:

    Dear divineshan,

    You can come to Tiruvannamalai from cochin by any train coming to Chennai. Take ticket to Katpadi junction and from Vellore which is about 5 kms from the Junction, there are lot of buses about 2 minutes interval to tiruvannamalai

  10. divineshan Says:

    Dear Richard Sir,

    I am so glad to find your blog today.

    I have never been to Arunachala before but for last few days
    feel this desire to come to this Holy Place and circle it.

    This is the first time I will be coming.

    I am an Indian living in Cochin,Kerala.

    Since this is my first time,I was wondering if I should take a guide
    along who can guide me around the mountain safely.Can you
    pls suggest someone trustworthy or give me their phone number/email?
    (I can speak in Hindi/English but dont know Tamil).

    I can find out from here but if you do happen to know
    what is the best way for me to get from Cochin to
    Arunachala Hill,Pls let me know.I am thinking
    of taking a Bus.

    How much Rupees approx do I need for a 2 day trip?

    Pls suggest decent hotel to live in Thiruannamalai?

    Is it true that that there are snakes and other animals in the
    mountain which one should be careful of?

    Is it easy to get around the city if one doesnt know Tamil?

    Any other tips for a first timer would be appreciated
    from anyone.

    Can you also send me your email for future correspondence?

    Thank you so much,Shukriya:)

  11. Praveen Says:

    My blog entry on my trip…

  12. Praveen Says:

    Dear Richard,
    It was a great experience of going to Thiruvannamalai and coming back. It was about 6.30 in the evening, on 1st November, I took bath and started to the CMBT bus stop by 6.45 and reached there by 7.15. I and two more friends were going, so I was waiting for the guys there. After sometime we three made it to the bus. I got a bus and immediately I asked them to go in. We all got three different seats in which one fellow agreed to exchange. We started to Thiruvannamalai and we were talking and chatting for sometime and slept off.We reached Thiruvannamalai by about 12.30. We started walking to the temple. We got into the temple, kept our shoes and started to walk, it was a total of fourteen kilometres and there were lingas in the way. We were placing camphor every time we crossed a shrine and we reached the main temple at last. We missed only one Linga and that’s Agni Linga (the second one). It was actually another path, we had to take. We waited for another hour and got the dharshan of the Annamalai Nadhar and Unnamalai Amma. The best offering for them would be, Bilva Leaves and Kumkum. After that we started to the shoe stand and got our sandals and started to the bus stop by an auto. There was another comedy happened. We had to reserve seats in bus by paying 5 Rs and we started to Chennai by about 9 AM. We reached CMBT by about 1.

    P. Praveen Kumar,
    CEO & Chairman
    PraveenTech Research Labs

  13. Praveen Says:

    Hey Richard,
    This is Praveen, from Chennai. I just had a great experience in Thiruvannamalai, just a few days ago, during that Pournami. I had a great experience. Is it possible for you to call me up or catch up with me by mail?

  14. prakasham9 Says:

    Dear Richard Sir,
    I have known about you last week only by chance during reading the post of Sro Omkar. I have read many of your posts and still to read many. Thanks to both of you to select livie in India and in Tiruvannamalai. I am from Tiruchengodu, in Namakkal District where is the temple of lord Arthanareeswara is placed and only one idol of Arthanareeswarar in the world made of Navabashana. You can get details from the following link.
    it is about 160 kms from tiruvannamalai. If you have leisure time and spare one or two days, please visit here.
    Thank you,

    • richardclarke Says:

      Dear Sri Prakasam,

      Thank you the information. When we get back to India, we will probably try to go there. I appreciate that y0u told us about it.

      Om Arunachala,

  15. psrimathi Says:

    Thanks for all the info in the blog. Really helps people connect to Arunachala and Ramana and one gets the feel of living in T V malai.

    Thanks again.

    Arunachala Siva
    Om Namo Bhagavathe Sri Ramanaya

  16. psrimathi Says:


    I live in Bangalore and have been planning to shift to T V Malai. My question is, has the shift to T V malai made a difference in your spiritual practice, peace, life in general? Have you had specific instances/experiences of the power of Arunachala.

    • richardclarke Says:

      We feel Arunachala in our hearts all the time now. This is very good. We are happy and at peace. It is hard to find specific instances when you feel the grace of Arunachala with you at all times.

  17. srolandd Says:


    Appreciate the information on the SBI. Why I’ve never got this simple answer before, is a little puzzling. Next time I go to L.A. I will visit the SBI branch armed with your information. Even for traveling only, an India account would be of so much help. I do plan to live in India for extended time but that move may be gradual. Just like the previous blogger, Ralph, I’m also a follower of the Ramakrishna Movement. There are many possible places to stay in India but when the time comes I’ll probably form a base in the Kolkata area. I have an Indian family there that would like me to stay with them. I keep Holy Arunachala in my mind after my visit there in 2006.

    Yours in the Self,

  18. shibudevadas Says:

    As an aficionado of Zen Flesh Zen Bones, you no doubt recall the Zen master’s blessing — “Father dies, son dies, grandson dies.” In like manner I would bless you, “Richard dies in India, Carol dies in India.” I could hope to be similarly blessed.

    After reading most, if not all, of your postings, it came to me that the “e” in Nome is not silent. Is that how he says it, “No me”? When I read “born on Long Island, reared in New Jersey,” I immediately thought (stereotype alert) “Hmm, Jewish?” His nose, at least, looks Jewish. It sometimes seems that many highly advanced entities and even highly evolved ones take incarnation in Jewish families. This has obviously had advantages culturally and materially, perhaps even spiritually, as well as a few drawbacks. We often view the highly advanced ones as using their powers for purely egotistical purposes, but perhaps that doesn’t really apply either.

    I once read a book by the late Suzanne Segal, Collision with the Infinite. After being a teacher of Transcendental Meditation for a few years, and doing the extended meditation that that involved, she abandoned TM completely. After about five years, while standing on a corner in Paris, waiting for the bus, her ego completely dissolved, never to return. This was quite a shock to her and she spent years coming to grips with it, seeking help from psychotherapists, etc. She didn’t seem to relate it to her TM practice at all, even in the book as I recall.

    By the way, I myself spent many years doing TM exclusively, but added back my Ramakrishna Vedanta practice about 14 years ago. TM is quite a good practice I would say.

    Getting back to the worldly stuff: Last year I encountered a young Indian Navy sub-lieutenant on a train through eastern Bihar. He pulled out his laptop and plugged a modem (mobile device, I guess it was) into a USB port and we went online “as the train went rumblin’ through.” His was not a high speed hookup. Does yours go direct to satellite or what? I’m not conversant with some of this stuff. Do you have a fax/printer or are you able to use software to directly fax a PDF file or some such from your laptop to SBI/CA?

    Also, your sterling example has me somewhat interested in blogging. I get the impression you are editing the CSS material — true? Were you in web design maybe?

    Jai Bhagavan,

  19. srolandd Says:


    Love this site, thank you. I’m in with the same questions by the previous blogger. Actually mine is just limited to the bank account. I live in California. I tried contacting SBoI in LA over internet and didn’t get anywhere. How specifically do I go about establishing an SBI account here? What is required, anything? Then do I need to establish another SBI account in India to have access to their ATM. Do they transfer money from one to the other without charge? I live in Orange County, where would I need to go? What is needed to establish the account in India?
    If I want to live in India for some time or a long time, what do I need to have to get the right visa?
    You are providing a valuable service and I appreciate your time.

    Jai Arunachaleshwar!

    • richardclarke Says:

      I went to SBI office in California to set up account, don; tknow if it can be done over internet. Then when I got to India, I set up the account here. Someone told me that they had SBI/CA set up both accounts. I don;t know about this. The ATM I use is for SBI/India account. There is no charge for transfer of funds from USA to India. To initiate a transfer, I fax a form to the SBI/CA office. It is usually transferred the next business day.

      For visa, I got 10 year visa. This is only good for six month stays, though. ONce in India, within 14 days of arrival, I went to local police office and registered and got residential permit. this allows for a longer stay than six months, and can be readily renewed.

      Good luck with your plans. Where do you plan to stay?

      Om Arunachala,

  20. shibudevadas Says:

    Richard, I’ve been to India a few times and have, naturally, wondered about living there for an extended period. Though I’ve been to Tiruvannamalai on each of my last three visits, and revere Sri Ramana greatly, I’m devoted to Ramakrishna. I’ve done giripradakshina each time, and last time climbed to the top of Arunachala. By the way, I’m just about six weeks older than you are.

    I’d like to know more about the mechanics of living in India, specifically how you get your funds for disbursement in India. Do you have a State Bank of India checking account that your Social Security checks are direct-deposited to? Do you use a debit card at ATMs? Do you have someone “back home” who directs any of this for you?

    Do you have the services of an Internet Service Provider at your home? Do you use your laptop to make financial transactions at firms in the USA? If so, has this been a secure link?

    Keep up the good blogging!

    • richardclarke Says:


      I have a State Bank of India – California account in which my social security check is direct deposited. I also have a SBI account here, and use faxes to send money to India from US, and use ATM card here. My wife has another bank with which she does financial transaction through the internet. I have BSNL (India’s state-run phone company) high speed internet at home with wireless modem used by my wife and myself.

      Mostly life has been easy here and making the transition to living here has been much easier than we had thought it would be. One still needs to be patient with the differences in India.

      Please ask other question you may have.

      Om Arunachala,

  21. goldlisa Says:

    Richard – thank you so much for putting all this information out there.
    Its so helpful!
    I’ll be in Mysore at the end of April for 6 weeks and am planning to go to Tiruvannamalai.
    How many days do you think are “sufficient” to spend there?
    That may be a really dumb question as you have MOVED there… but I wanted to stay for a few days and at least have some time to explore the caves, etc. Do you think I should plan for a full week? Or would a long weekend suffice? Would it be best to come at Full Moon for Pradakshina?
    Any advice is appreciate…


  22. richardclarke Says:


    There are a number of Guest Houses near Ramanasramam. Probably you wil be able to find a room. YOu will be here when it is busiest, though.

    Here is one place you can look for them:


    I will be happy to meet you when you are here.

    Om Arunachala,

  23. jeffjohnsphoto Says:

    Dear Richard,

    I am a young student traveling to southern India in a couple weeks and am planning a 2 week stay in Tirvannamalai. I am fascinated by the mystic qualities I have read about in this town as well as the festival of karthikai deepam. I am planning to be in Tiru from Nov 29-Dec 12. I am wondering if you would maybe be willing to meet for lunch and talk to me about your experiences in this town. I spend all of my time traveling and love meeting new people in new places. The best way to see a city is through the eyes of a local. Also, I have found it very hard to find any information on lodging/hotels in Tiru. Any ideas? Thank you so much.

    Jeff Johns

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