Who is Ramana Maharshi? Who am I?
Ramana Maharshi taught non-duality (Advaita) from his silence. Whoever went to him to question used to get the answers from his silence.
Ramana Maharshi was known as Venkataraman in his childhood. When he later attained self-realization at the age of sixteen, many people did not know that he would be known as Ramana Maharshi.
Maharshi (in Sanskrit) means a great sage who is also known as a Jnani.
Jnani (also in Sanskri) is the seer who knows the truth about the universe, creation and the soul.
According to Ramana Maharshi, anyone can attain the supreme knowledge about the Truth. Here Truth refers to the reality and very nature of The Soul.
He says that one will realize about one’s own self by repeatedly and earnestly questioning oneself, “who am I?”.
You don’t really need all the complicated methods of meditation or Yoga techniques. You must seriously inquire about the nature of ‘I‘ until that ‘I‘ disappears as you go on questioning deeply and searching for the origin of the ‘I‘.
Ramana Maharshi used to give everyone the same answer again and again never getting bored or tired of the same question “Who am I?” asked differently by different questioners who were curious to know the answer expecting it to be different when differently asked with little or no variation in the framing of the question.
Whatever was asked would get boiled down to the same question, “Who am I?”.
For example, if someone asked a question like this: “How do I realize God?”, he would say “First ask yourself to know who is that is questioning?” and keep on inquiring about that ‘I’ that is questioning from within your own self. By such self-inquiry, you would realize that there is no such ‘I’ that is raising questions but there is ONLY that ‘I’ that is just existing everywhere and at all the time.
Knowing that omnipresent ‘I’ while losing your egotistic ‘I’ will lead you to the True Knowledge that is unchangeable and existing As It Is forever not influenced by passage of time.
How I got to the question of knowing ‘I’?
I came across the most wonderful book titled “Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi” written by David Godman who recorded the very essence of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi by taking notes for so many years while he stayed with the Maharshi. David Godman’s intention was only to tell the world what he learnt from the Maharshi’s teachings.
It would be astonishingly interesting to know what is this elusive ‘I’ in reality.
Are you interested to know in the words of Raman Maharshi? Then go to this link: Be As You Are.
Maharshi never tells you to sit composed in a Yogic posture for years together to know what he had experienced himself at the age of sixteen as an ordinary human.
He always says, “Just be calm and go on asking ‘Who am I?’”
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To know what Ramana Maharshi did to find the answer to the question “Who am I?”, go to this Wikipedia page
Chapter 3 - The jnani
Chapter 4 - Self-enquiry — theory
Chapter 5 - Self-enquiry — practice
Chapter 6 - Self-enquiry – misconceptions
Link to a wonderful poem by Buzz : Your and My Illusion