At the age of sixteen, Venkataraman lost his sense of individual selfhood, an awakening which he later recognised as enlightenment. A few weeks there-after he traveled to the holy mountain Arunachala, at Tiruvannamalai, where he remained for the rest of his life.
His first years were spent in solitude, but his stillness and his appearance as a sanyassin soon attracted devotees. In later years, he responded to questions, but always insisted that silence was the purest teaching. His verbal teachings flowed from his own understanding of Reality. In later years a community grew up around him, were he was available twenty four hours a day to visitors. Though worshipped by thousands, he never allowed anyone to treat him as special, or receive private gifts. He treated all with equal respect.
Venkataraman was renamed Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi by one of his earliest followers, Ganapati Muni. This was the name he became known by to the world.
In response to questions on self-liberation and the classic texts on Yoga and Vedanta, Ramana recommended self-enquiry as the principal way to awaken to the "I-I", realizing the Self and attaining liberation.
He also recommended Bhakti, and gave his approval to a variety of paths and practices.