Sri Ramana Maharshi (Tamil: ரமண மஹரிஷி) (December 30, 1879 – April 14, 1950), born Venkataraman Iyer, was a Hindu jnani. He was born to a Tamil-speaking Brahmin family in Tiruchuzhi, Tamil Nadu. After having attained liberation at the age of 16, he left home for Arunachala, a mountain considered sacred by Hindus, at Tiruvannamalai, and lived there for the rest of his life. Although born a Brahmin, after having attained moksha he declared himself an “Atiasrami”, a Sastraic state of unattachment to anything in life and beyond all caste restrictions. The ashram that grew around him, Sri Ramana Ashram is situated at the foothill of Arunchala, to the west to the pilgrimage town of Tiruvannamalai.
Sri Ramana maintained that the purest form of his teachings was the powerful silence which radiated from his presence and quieted the minds of those attuned to it. He gave verbal teachings only for the benefit of those who could not understand his silence (or, perhaps, could not understand how to attain the silent state). His verbal teachings were said to flow from his direct experience of Consciousness (Atman) as the only existing reality. When asked for advice, he recommended self-enquiry as the fastest path to moksha. Though his primary teaching is associated with Non-dualism, Advaita Vedanta, and Jnana yoga, he recommended Bhakti to those he saw were fit for it, and gave his approval to a variety of paths and practices.