The Aruna Partnership. Supporting self-help programs in South India.

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  Who we are

The Aruna Partnership is a US non-profit organization inspired by the selfless lives of Dr. Hugo Maier and his wife, Anne.

We have chosen to partner with Shanthimalai Research and Development Trust (founded by Dr. Maier) because it is the most remarkable non-profit organization we have seen! Shanthimalai’s long-term, dedicated service to the poor has resulted in outstanding programs that have proven over many years to be sustainable.

Those of us at Aruna Partnership are deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with Shanthimalai. It is an invitation to step into a much richer relationship with life than we could have imagined, and opens us continually to new possibilities. We feel that the way Shanthimalai works is unique, a direct expression of the profound vision of Dr. and Mrs. Maier.

A short synopsis of their lives:

Dr. Maier founded Shanthimalai Research and Development Trust in Tiruvannamalai, South India. Here at the foot of Arunachala, a mountain considered sacred since ancient times, lived one of India’s greatest sages, Sri Ramana Maharshi. His life (1896-1950) and teachings of compassionate love for all his fellow beings are an enduring inspiration for mankind,- both east and west.

Dr. Maier first came to Arunachala in 1959, just nine years after Ramana`s physical passing. He settled at the small hermitage which had grown up around the sage. Although the surroundings were wretchedly poor, the atmosphere was spiritually rich and serene. Having learned since childhood to serve and care for others in need,- and unafraid of hardship, Dr. Maier was well suited to the extreme difficulties of life in this barren region. Immediately he began to put into practice the central precepts of the sage, - who said, - “You are not different from the world nor is the world different from you”.

At this time there were few westerners living at Arunachala. Most came and went, - unable to confront their own inner poverty which was mirrored so clearly by the extreme outer poverty of the local people. Yet this young man remained!

When Dr. Maier first arrived,- the people in the villages surrounding Arunachala lived in a material poverty which was unimaginable to most westerners. Yet in spite of this many of them retained their innate human dignity and a luminous quietude in the face of deepest suffering.

Dr. Maier began to give free treatment and medicine to the poor,- and at the same time continued his own interior work. After years of intense efforts,- coupled with dedicated service to the destitute,- he realized all he had sought for. The living Reality which expressed Itself as the Great Ramana,- awakened directly within his own Heart and took the form of an unending compassion and peace.

Afterwards,- all his activities were the spontaneous outflow of this awakened compassion. Dr. Maier married in 1986,- and was joined in his life-work by his wife, Anne.

Those who came later and experienced the Maier’s selfless life among these unique people, - wanted to try and follow their rare example and experience directly (as they had) to honour within the lives of the poor, the one eternal spirit of all!

Dr. Maier’s Research and Development Trust grew out of this living compassion. He reminded everyone that it is the greatest privilege to serve the rejected, the unloved and the despised,- and that it is the quickest way to come away from one’s small self….

"Aruna" is the root of the Sanskrit word for compassion. May all the activities of the Aruna Partnership flow as an expression of this living compassion,- which is the deepest essence of the human heart.

We extend our fullest gratitude to the Maiers for their living example of this truth, and also to the beloved people of India, and their greatest spiritual son,- Ramana Maharshi, the Sage of Arunachala.

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