In silence the Self

By Pradeep Krishnan

December 2012

Pradeep Krishnan meets Swami Madhurananda, author of Effortless Meditation, who asserts that behind the intense effort of spiritual practice lies effortlessness and it is there that the Self resides.

 During my recent annual pilgrimage to Sri Ramanasramam, Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, the favorite destination of sincere spiritual seekers, I had the good fortune to meet Swami Madhurananda. Also called Madhu, he is the author of the popular book, Effortless Meditation, that has gone through three reprints in a short time. A native of Honavar, in the West coast of Karnataka, Madhu was a staunch atheist until the middle of his university studies. After graduating as an electronics engineer, instead of pursuing a professional career, he joined the Ramakrishna Mission in Bangalore. After three years of arduous spiritual practices in the monastery, he still had reached nowhere.

Then, one day suddenly he stumbled upon the effortless meditative state of silence, hitherto inexperienced, infusing his whole being with profound happiness without any reason whatsoever. Forthwith, he gave up all sadhanas, which were centerd on effort, and became fascinated by the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, who continuously point to the effortless state. Madhu left the Mission after 11 years, and eventually settled in Thiruvannamalai, the abode of Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Ending monastic life

In 2006, he gave up his robes, after 16 years of monastic life, and wrote the book, Effortless Meditation. By the mysterious ways of destiny, an Indian girl working in the US happened to read the book, was impressed by it, and started interacting with Madhu. Ultimately, the friendship brought her to India, and the couple got married. According to Madhu, his insight into peace changed his whole perspective of life, including that of marriage.

He says effortless meditation unlocks the secret of one’s own being, full of peace and blessedness. He adds, “The discovery of inner peace is the greatest wonder that can ever happen to you. There is nothing that can fascinate you, if it does not fascinate you.”

I met Madhu at his residence, Shantidham, situated by the side of the holy Arunachala.

Atheism to spirituality

What caused him to shift from atheism? Maadhu responded that while in college, he began to realize that life was transient; this conviction made him question his course of life, including his
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