Practical Experiments of Ramana Maharshi
Self-Inquiry and Exploring Your Own Experience
Spiritual teacher Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) taught folks a practice of "self-inquiry," or really investigating the nature of one's own experience.
"'I exist' is the only permanent self-evident experience of everyone. Nothing else is so self-evident as 'I am'. So to do self-enquiry and be that 'I am' is the only thing to do."
"From where does this 'I' arise? Seek for it within; it then vanishes. This is the pursuit of wisdom. When the mind unceasingly investigates its own nature, it transpires that there is no such thing as mind. This is the direct path for all." (50)
Example: a dialogue with Ramana Maharshi:
Disciple: How is one to realize the Self?
Maharshi: Whose Self? Find out.
D. I don't know how.
M. Just think over the question. Who is it that says "I don't know?" Who is the 'I' in your statement? What is not known?
D: Somebody or something in me.
M: Who is that somebody? In whom?
D: Perhaps some power.
M: Find out.
D: Why was I born?
M: Who was born? The answer is the same to all your questions.
D: Who am I, then?
M: (smiling) You have come to examine me? You must say who you are.
D: However much I may try, I do not seem to catch the 'I'. It is not even clearly discernible.
M: Who is it that say that the 'I' is not discernible? Are there two 'I's in you that one is not discernible by the other?
D: Instead of enquiring 'Who am I?', can I put the question to myself 'Who are You?" . . .
M: Whatever form your enquiry may take, you must finally come to the one I, the Self.
Excerpts in part from
Be As You Are: The Teachings Of Sri Ramana Maharshi
edited by David Godman