It was the middle of the year-1896.
Venkataramana was only seventeen years old. One day, as usual, he was in the first floor
of his uncle's house, in a mood of deep thought. His health was good. But all of a sudden,
he was seized by the fear of death. He felt he was almost dying. Trying to prevent this
feeling from weakening him, he began to think of what he should do. He said to himself:
'Now death is approaching. I am dying. What is death? This body gets lost.'
Then he held his breath completely, closed his lips and eyes, lay down as one dead, and
began to ponder:
'Now my body is dead. They will carry this body, motionless, to the cremation ground
and burn it. But do I really die with this body? Am I merely this body? My body is now
motionless. But still I know my name. I remember my parents, uncles, brothers, friends and
all others. It means that I have a knowledge of my individuality. If so, the "I"
in me is not merely my body; it is a deathless spirit.'
Thus, as in a flash, a new realization came to Venkataramana. His thoughts may seem
boyish fancy. But one thing must be remembered. Usually a man wins God realization by
performing tapas for years and years, without food and sleep; he subjects the body to
great suffering. But Venkataramana won the highest knowledge without all these. The fear
of death left him. Venkataramana became 'Ramana Maharshi'.
Studies at school, relations and friends none of them seemed important to him, He ever
dreamed of Arunachala. He spent the greater part of the day in solitary meditation. He
tried to escape from surroundings, and to grow in solitude. Away from friends he would
seek a lonely place. It became difficult for his mother to find him and bring him home for
food. Every day Venkataramana visited the Meenakshi temple. His interest in Gods and
saints grew deeper.
His brother observed all these changes in his behavior.