Annamalai Swami was born in 1906 in a small village in Tamil Nadu, southern India. He was named Sella Perumal, and from an early age showed a keen interest in spirituality.
In 1928, when he was 22 years old, he traveled to Tiruvannamalai to meet Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi who lived near the city along the base of the slope of the holy mountain Arunachala. Following in the footsteps of Sri Seshadri Swamigal, who saved the young Ramana from the ravages of insects and vermin in the underground vault he first inhabited, and Palaniswami, who stayed with Ramana in Virupaksha Cave and Skandasraman Cave, he became the Maharshi’s personal attendant and given the name Annamalai Swami (Annamalai is another name for Arunachala). Swami Annamalai’s duties, after being directed to do so by Sri Ramana, was to oversee all phases of the ongoing construction, continuing expansion, and positive growth of the Ramana Ashram, including the goshala (cow shed), dining hall, dispensary and other projects