It is customary to speak only well of Ramana Maharshi. Unlike Osho, Gurdjieff and other mystics of the last century, there are no dark spots or actions in his biography that could be interpreted ambiguously. Maharshi is simple, pure and radiant. Does that mean that perhaps he is a head above all the rest of the mystics? I am certain that there will be found people who will say precisely that. But there is, however, one explanation enabling us to look at the situation somewhat differently. Ramana Maharshi did not do anything, and therefore he could not be mistaken, nor end up in ambiguous situations, and in general, virtually nothing happened in his external life. He didn’t need to look for students, because they found him themselves; the emergence of an ashram also happened almost by itself – out of necessity and according to the wish of the students. Osho travelled all over India with his appearances before he settled in Puna, and all the others had to travel a lot to disseminate knowledge with the purpose of attracting those who needed the Truth. Everyone had to take action, and only Maharshi refrained from any action; even so, he became a mystic with world renown.
Truly, the ways of the Lord are inscrutable. Why does one person have to apply a lot of efforts to realize his mission, but for another, everything comes on its own? Regarding Maharshi, the answer is rather obvious – from the very start, he did not intend to be a teacher, and he had no clearly-realized mission at all. He was, in fact, a simple person, as much as the concept of “simple” can be applied at all to a mystic. It is known that his Way began when at the age of 16, Raman experienced an awareness of death which began with severe fear of it, changing to a sensation of dying. It would seem that death came and its onset was absolutely inevitable. Then Ramana lay down on the floor and began to look at what was happening, contemplating about what was in fact dying. Everything that was happening turned his attention inside, to the nature of what was mortal inside of him and what was not. He internally accepted death, and from that moment, his life changed. Not without reason, many mystics claim that if you want to awaken from the sleep of unconsciousness, you should constantly remember the inevitability of your own death. The acute, sudden onset of the experience of the inevitability of death, and with the sensation of dying here and now, awakened Ramana and turned him inside himself. Judging from how Maharshi himself described his experiences at that moment, it could be said that he received an impulse of the Grace of God which is what brought him internal transformation. Why Maharshi received the impulse of Grace without any preliminary preparation is not given to us to know, and any explanations will be far-fetched, as in the case of Porfiry Ivanov. And here is what is interesting – with both Maharshi and Ivanov, soon after the transformation, an attraction to specific places was discovered – for the former, to Mount Arunachala, and for the latter, to the Chuvilkin Hill. Both Arunachala with Maharshi and Chuvilkin Hill with Ivanov were imbued with mystical significance as places possessing special power. Arunachala, of course, was and remains significantly higher than Chuvilkin Hill, but the scale of Maharshi as a mystic was also more than the scale of Porfiry Ivanov.
Every place has its energy. Whether it is an apartment, a river bank or some hill – in each place exists its power which, in principle, every person senses, although he is rarely aware of it. Thanks to developed perception, mystics find certain places special to them, in which their practice or Work is easier to perform. Sometimes such places are discovered accidentally; sometimes the Will of God leads to them, and it also happens that there are places with a particular energy where mystical work was previously performed. Living in an apartment, a person unwittingly fills it with his energy. This is impossible to do on an open space in which any human energy instantly disperses. The performance of various types of magic rituals can fill a certain space with energy which, in fact, also disperses after awhile. But there exist places and spaces in which energy helps a seeker to rise above the endless grumbling of the mind, where he can easily enter into silence or imbibe a certain energy helping him to work on himself. In the slang of our esoterics, energetically powerfully places are usually called places of power, in each of which can be sensed a somewhat different effect. We cannot know what happen with Maharshi on Arunachala or Ivanov on the Chuvilkin Hill. We can only suppose to what extent the energy of a certain place can influence the development of a mystic, since quite a few of them got by without attachment to any particular space. It is possible that Maharshi’s attachment to Arunachala was the very attachment which enabled him to remain in a body as long as possible.
In places of venerations of the graves of saints; in buildings where people gather for prayer or to perform spiritual practices, a specific energy is accumulated which positively influences those present. But the perception of it, like the perception of energy of any place, will not be the same for different people; moreover, a habituation develops in time as well to its influence – like any other influence in the world. Mystics find places in which God becomes closer to them, and this closeness is not stipulated by the height of the given place above sea level, but depends on the energy of a concrete mystic and concrete place. If the energies are strong in a certain place of the Ascending Flow of Creation, then it is much easier to practice in it than in other places. And that means it is easier to come to an interaction with God. For example, Osho, while in Uruguay after he was deported from America, stated a number of times that the place in which he was then located was amazingly well-suited for meditation and that nowhere in the world had he felt such energy which so enabled its performance.