Sri Lakshmana Swamy
Sri Lakshmana Swamy is a direct disciple of Sri Ramana Maharishi. After several years of intense meditation Sri Lakshmana Swamy realised his self on Vijayadasami in 1949 in the presence and by the grace of Sri Ramana Maharishi. The book, No Mind, I am the Self, contains details about him.
Brief Life Sketch (based on No Mind, I am the Self):
Sri Lakshmana Swamy was born on December 25th 1925 in Gudur, Andhra Pradesh. His birthday is significant, being holy for at least three religious groups, Vaikunta Ekadasi for Hindus, Moharram for Muslims, and Christmas for Christians.
Lakshmana Swamy was not particularly religious as a child. However, an event in his 17th year changed this attitude. Lakshmana Swamy was sleeping in his family home, when he suddenly felt that some evil force was pressing down on him. Involuntarily and spontaneously he started doing nama japa of Rama. This repetition of Rama’s name successfully warded of the evil force, and proved the efficacy of such repetition to Lakshmana Swamy. Lakshmana Swamy did not mention this event to anyone around him since he believed that none of them would be able to give a satisfactory explanation. From that day on Lakshmana Swamy started waking up early in the morning to do pranayama (learnt from reading Swami Vivekananda’s work on Raja Yoga) and nama japa of Rama. Dispassion started taking root in him.
He had his first significant spiritual experience during summer holidays following his first year in college. He was doing pranayama on the dry bed of the man-made lake on the edge of Gudur. Suddenly his mind became concentrated, one-pointed and still. There was a sudden flash of light within him, which immediately enveloped him. He lost body consciousness. Paramatma (the supreme self) shined in fully glory in the ensuing stillness. He understood that Atma is God himself in the temple of one’s body. He was overjoyed on finding that Atma had become his Guru.
However, subsequent attempts by Lakshmana Swamy to re-experience that state failed. Lakshmana Swamy realised the need for a human Guru to permanently establish himself in the Self. However, Lakshmana Swamy was not aware of such a competent Guru. Therefore, he continued with his earlier spiritual practice.
On the last day of his second year in college, he witnessed a large crowd outside a lecture hall. He could see that one of his professors was giving a lecture on someone whose picture was placed by his side on the platform. The professor mentioned that the portrait was that of Sri Ramana Maharishi. These were the only words uttered by the professor which Lakshmana Swamy could hear clearly.
Lakshmana Swamy, while returning to Gudur the following day, saw a small booklet titled, “Sri Ramana Maharishi” on sale in the railway bookstore. Upon reading that booklet, Lakshmana Swamy became convinced that Sri Ramana Maharishi was the Guru he was searching for.
Lakshmana Swamy’s first visit to Sri Ramanasramam occurred during the time of Kumbabishekam (consecration ceremonies) of the Mathrubuteshwara temple (built over the Samadhi of Ramana Maharishi’s mother). Ramanasramam was crowded and Lakshmana Swamy did not have a chance to speak to Sri Ramana Maharishi. Lakshmana Swamy spent a total of three days in Ramanasramam during his first visit.
Returning to Gudur, Lakshmana Swamy wanted to continue his sadhana in a quiet place. He had a hut built in Govindapalli, a village on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. He spent five months there. However, he was soon struck down with malaria and spent two months recuperating from it. Many around him thought that he would die.
Upon recovering, Lakshmana Swamy decided to return back to Tiruvannamalai. He reached there during the Navaratri festivities of 1949. It was on the last day of these festivities, Vijayadasami, that Lakshmana Swamy finally became permanently established in the Self in the presence and by the grace of Ramana Maharishi.
On the following day Lakshmana Swamy handed a brief note in Telugu to Ramana Maharishi via Venkataratnam, an attendant. The note read “O Bhagavan, in your presence and by the quest [‘Who am I?’] I have realised the Self”. Upon reading the note, Sri Ramana looked at Lakshmana Swamy and smiled. Both of them looked at each other for a few moments. When Sri Ramana enquired as to where he was from, Lakshmana Swamy replied that he was from Gudur. Ramana ascertained whether this Gudur was the one near Nellore. Lakshmana Swamy replied that it was. These were the only words ever exchanged between Guru and disciple.
Sri Ramana Maharishi attained Mahanirvana in April of 1950. Lakshmana Swamy continued to stay in Tiruvannamalai till October of that year. Finally, unable to look after his body, he agreed to move back to Gudur.
A hut was built in Chillakur, which is about 1 ½ miles from Gudur, for Lakshmana Swamy. Lakshmana Swamy spent about 20 hours in a day in the padmasana pose, absorbed in the Self; lying down for the rest of the four hours to rest his leg muscles. To satisfy people, he gave public darshan once a year on Shivaratri. Eventually, this increased to twice a year, with his birthday becoming another darshan day.
Lakshmana Swamy returned back to Tiruvannamalai for a brief period of 2-3 months during 1954. Lakshmana Swamy accepted the offer by a devotee of a parcel of land measuring approximately nine acres in Chillakur. A modest ashram was built for him there. The period 1954 to 1972 was relatively uneventful.
Lakshmana Swamy became more accessible to the public in 1972. In 1974, Saradamma, for whom Lakshmana Swamy was waiting for, finally appeared. The period relating to Saradamma is covered in the section on her on this website.
Today, both Lakshmana Swamy and Saradamma live in Tiruvannamalai. They are not available for darshan to the general public. Some devotees and sadhakas choose to meditate near the gate of their compound. Images of Ganapathy and Dakshinamoorthy have been installed there for their benefit. Lakshmana Swamy and Saradamma do Giripradikshana in the morning. However, such Giripradikshana has become more sporadic lately.