Sri Sadhu Om lived at Sri Arunachala Ramana Nilayam located near Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, for almost thirty years until he left his mortal coil in 1985. His service to Ramana devotees was exemplary. Sri Sadhu Om (Swamigal) compiled and edited Sri Ramana Jnana Bodham in verses sung extempore by the senior devotee, Sri Muruganar, which ran to nine volumes in manuscript form. This was published by Sri Ramana Kendra, New Delhi because of the interest shown by Dr K Swaminathan.

Swamigal also compiled the book Sri Ramana Vazhi (The Path of Ramana) in four volumes, the first volume is on Self Enquiry (Who am I?), the second is on Karma and Bhakti, the third volume, entitled Sadhanai Saram; contains instructions for aspirants on the path. The final of the four volumes is a compilation of Sri Sadhu Om’s writings in Arul – a  magazine of which he was the editor. This final volume is comprised of questions asked by devotees of Sri Ramana Maharshi, and the answers given to them. These questions and answers were in manuscript form until 1965, at which time they were printed in order that the teachings could reach a greater number of devotees.

Sadhu Om also wrote commentaries on Sri Bhagavan Ramana’s Upadesa Undhiyar, Ulladu Narpadhu and Hymns on Arunachala. The only way one can pay tribute to this supremely benevolent human being, is by applying his practical hints in one’s practice of Self-enquiry.

From a young age Swamigal was bent upon knowing Truth and was in search of a Guru. He was born in the village of Punnai Nalloor near Tanjore, South India. On completion of his schooling he joined the Revenue Department as a clerk. In his search for a Guru, he went to Sri Ramakrishna Mutt, Chennai and told the President that he was in search of Truth and asked for guidance. The President seeing his pakva asked him to visit Sri Ramana Maharshi. On Swamigal’s enquiring from friends about Sri Ramana devotees living nearby, he was directed to Janaki Mata (who used to regularly visit Sri Ramanashram with friends).

When Swamigal visited her home, Sri Aksharamanamalai was under recitation. Swamigal was thrilled and his yearning to visit Tiruvannamalai increased. Janaki Mata informed Swamigal that they were leaving for Tiruvannamalai the next week and invited him to join her party.

On 6th July, 1946, Sadhu Om went with Janaki Mata to meet Sri Bhagavan. Everyone went into the hall where Sri Bhagavan was sitting and prostrated before him. When Sadhu Om went up to prostrate before Sri Bhagavan, he saw only Sri Bhagavan's empty seat. Thinking that Sri Bhagavan had gone out without his noticing, he prostrated before the seat. When Sadhu Om got up, he saw a dense mass of light appear which gradually took the form of Sri Bhagavan's physical body. In this way, Sri Bhagavan revealed His Nirguna Sath Swaroopa for Sri Swamigal on his very first visit.

A couple of weeks later, Sadhu Om went back to Sri Ramanasramam to have darshan of Sri Bhagavan. He sat on rock on Arunachala composing poems on Sri Bhagavan under the title, Vetkai [Divine longing]. After composing the 7th poem, he realised it was breakfast time, and he quickly went to the Ashram dining hall.

He entered the dining hall and seeing that Sri Bhagavan was eating there, he sat in front of Sri Bhagavan, and started eating. When Sri Bhagavan finished his breakfast, he got up from the seat. Seeing this, Sadhu Om also got up, although he had not finished eating. Sri Bhagavan looked at Sadhu Om and said, Vandha Velaiyaip Paar (Look after the business for which you have come).

Sadhu Om then sat down, but since he had gotten up while eating, he was reluctant to continue eating. Sri Bhagavan, after washing his hands, was walking alongside the dining hall. Seeing that Sadhu Om was reluctant to eat, he repeated the words, Vandha Velaiyaip Paar. Hearing these words, Sadhu Om started eating again. As Sri Bhagavan went near the entrance and was about to pass over the threshold, Sadhu Om turned back and looked at Sri Bhagavan. Sri Bhagavan also looked at Sadhu Om and uttered the same words, Vandha Velaiyaip Paar, for the third time in succession.

At this point, Sadhu Om realised that the words were Sri Bhagavan's upadesa for him, to look after the business for which he was born in this world.

In 1950, when Ramana Maharshi left his physical body, Sri Sadhu Om departed from Tiruvannamalai and stayed at Jaanaki Nilayam for five years. While there he managed the magazine Arul, which was published every month in Tamil by Janaki Mata.

In the second week of June, 1955, Sadhu Om left Jaanaki Nilayam. During this period, Swamigal (as a result of having an intense longing for Sri Ramana) started praying for darshan of the Sage in verses later named Sri Ramana Varugai. When Sadhu Om had composed the hundred and seventy-second verse, he had a vision of Bhagavan Ramana. After some time, the vision ceased and he went into a deep state of meditation, when he opened his eyes; he actually saw the physical form of the Sage in front of him. Sage Ramana said to Sadhu Om, ‘Why do you call me to you? Why can’t you come to me at my abode, Arunachala?”

Swamigal said to Sage Ramana, ‘If I go back to Tiruvannamalai, how will I look after my daily needs and obtain food to feed myself?’ Following this he had a vision of an empty dining hall, with lots of banana leaves (used as plates for eating) spread on the floor. Now, Sage Ramana said to Sadhu Om, ‘Why should you not serve food to yourself?’ After questioning thus, Sage Ramana’s vision disappeared.



Immediately after this experience, Sri Sadhu Om left for Tiruvannamalai. He stayed there for about thirty years until he passed away in March 1985. He dedicated his entire life to Bhagavan, spreading the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

After Bhagavan Ramana had cast off his mortal body, many devotees from both India and abroad came to gradually recognize Sri Sadhu Om, not only as a foremost disciple of Bhagavan, but also as a person endowed with a rare gift to elucidate Ramana Maharshi’s teachings in a clear and simple manner which could easily be understood and followed in practice by seekers of true knowledge. Thus many devotees used to approach Sri Sadhu Om seeking clarification about various aspects of the Sage’s teachings, especially about the method of practicing Self-enquiry. Finding the lucid explanations given by Sadhu Om (in answers to their various questions) to be of great help to their spiritual practice, some devotees used to make notes of his oral replies, while others used to collect and preserve the letters which he wrote to them in answer to their doubts.

In spite of his versatile genius; as a Tamil poet of surpassing excellence, a talented musician, a melodious and sweet-voiced singer, a lucid writer of prose, and a brilliant philosopher endowed with a deep spiritual insight and a power of expressing the truth in a clear, simple and original manner, he never sought for himself any recognition or appreciation from the world. In fact, his life was a perfect example of strict adherence to the principal precept of Self-enquiry taught by Sage Ramana.




“Sri Swamigal often used to say, “We should not run after the world; we should not look outwards at the world, we should look inwards . . . If we try and chase after our shadow, we will never catch it but if we go towards the sun, our shadow will automatically come running behind us . . . It is therefore unnecessary for the Reality to run after the world. Moreover, according to the great truth discovered and revealed by Sri Ramana Bhagavan, a good person leading a simple yet highly spiritual life and passing away unknown to the world does far more good to the world than all the political and social reformers and all the platform-heroes of philosophy . . .”

In the evening of Thursday, March 14, 1985, Swamigal performed Arunachala girivalam and after returning home took food and retired to bed. During the night he had a cerebral haemorrhage which left him partially paralysed and unable to speak. On the advice of a local doctor, devotees took Swamigal to a hospital in Pondicherry, where the doctors explained the severity of his condition. As it was the expressed wish of Swamigal to shed his body in Tiruvannamalai, his devotees returned with him to Arunachala. At 9.05 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, March 17, Swamigal peacefully breathed his last, whilst his devotees chanted the hymn Sri Aksharamanamalai. The samadhi of Sri Sadhu Om is located in a compound south of the Hill.