Who Am I?

Sri Ramana Maharshi, in 1902, wrote out the answers to some questions asked by a disciple seeking spiritual guidance. These questions and answers, collected together as ‘Nan Yaar?’ or ”Who Am I?’, give a short introduction to self-enquiry as a path to liberation. The 8 page PDF of ‘Who Am I?’ is available here. The following excerpts may encourage you to read the full document.

Excerpt 1:

Q. What is the path of inquiry for understanding the nature of the mind?

A. That which rises as ‘I’ in this body is the mind. If one inquires as to where in the body the thought ‘I’ rises first, one would discover that it rises in the heart. That is the place of the mind’s origin. Even if one thinks constantly ‘I’ ‘I’, one will be led to that place. Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind, the ‘I’ thought is the first. It is only after the rise of this that the other thoughts arise. It is after the appearance of the first personal pronoun that the second and third personal pronouns appear; without the first personal pronoun there will not be the second and third. By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’ the mind will become quiet. The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning fire, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.

Excerpt 2:

Q. What is happiness?

A. Happiness is the very nature of the Self; happiness and the Self are not different. There is no happiness in any object of the world. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive happiness from objects. When the mind goes out, it experiences misery. In truth, when its desires are fulfilled, it returns to its own place and enjoys the happiness that is the Self. Similarly, in the states of sleep, samadhi and fainting, and when the object desired is obtained or the object disliked is removed, the mind becomes inward-turned, and enjoys pure Self-Happiness. Thus the mind moves without rest alternately going out of the Self and returning to it. Under the tree the shade is pleasant; out in the open the heat is scorching. A person who has been going about in the sun feels cool when he reaches the shade. Someone who keeps on going from the shade into the sun and then back into the shade is a fool. A wise man stays permanently in the shade. Similarly, the mind of the one who knows the truth does not leave Brahman. The mind of the ignorant, on the contrary, revolves in the world, feeling miserable, and for a little time returns to Brahman to experience happiness. In fact, what is called the world is only thought. When the world disappears, i.e. when there is no thought, the mind experiences happiness; and when the world appears, it goes through misery.

4 replies on “Who Am I?”

This one ,I just read on pdf… beautiful !

21. Is it necessary for one who longs for release to inquire into the nature of categories (tattvas)?

Just as one who wants to throw away garbage has no need to analyse it and see what it is, so one
who wants to know the Self has no need to count the number of categories or inquire into their
characteristics; what he has to do is to reject altogether the categories that hide the Self. The
world should be considered like a dream.

I had to look up ‘Tatva’ to understand the exact context of the question when I read this first. Wikipedia says: “According to various Indian schools of philosophy, tattvas (Sanskrit: तत्त्व) are the elements or aspects of reality that constitute human experience. Although the number of tattvas varies depending on the philosophical school, together they are thought to form the basis of all our experience. The Samkhya philosophy uses a system of 25 tattvas, while Shaivism recognises 36 tattvas.” So, what Ramana Maharshi is saying is that we have to not analyse our experience but recognise that all our experience is dream-like and unreal.

21. Is it necessary for one who longs for release to inquire into the nature of categories (tattvas)?

Me- At present, I see this ‘category’, as an object and the objectivity.

mukesh kr

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