Question : I begin to ask myself `Who am I?', eliminate the body as not
`I', the breath as not `I', and I am not able to proceed further.
Well, that is as far as the intellect can go. Your
process is only intellectual. Indeed, all the scriptures mention the
process only to guide the seeker to know the truth. The truth cannot be
directly pointed out. Hence this intellectual process.
You see, the one who eliminates all the `not I' cannot eliminate the
`I'. To say `I am not this' or `I am that' there must be the `I'. This
`I' is only the ego or the `I'-thought. After the rising up of this
`I'-thought, all other thoughts arise. The `I'-thought is therefore the
root-thought. If the root is pulled out all others are at the same time
uprooted. Therefore seek the root `I', question yourself `Who am I?'.
Find out its source, and then all these other ideas will vanish and the
pure Self will remain.
Question : How to do it?
The `I' is always there - in deep sleep, in dream and
in wakefulness. The one in sleep is the same as that who now speaks.
There is always the feeling of `I'. Otherwise do you deny your
existence? You do not. You say `I am'. Find out who is.'
Question : I meditate neti-neti [not this - not this].
No - that is not meditation. Find the source. You must
reach the source without fail. The false `I' will disappear and the real
`I' will be realized. The former cannot exist apart from the latter.
There is now wrong identification of the Self with the body, senses,
etc. You proceed to discard these, and this is neti. This can be done
only by holding to the one which cannot be discarded. That is iti [that
Question : When I think `Who am I?', the
answer comes `I am not this mortal body but I am chaitanya, atma
(consciousness, the Self ).' And suddenly another question arises, `Why
has atma come into maya [illusion]?' or in other words, `Why has God
created this world?'
Ramana Maharshi: To enquire `Who am I ?' really means trying to find
out the source of the ego or the `I'-thought. You are not to think of
other thoughts, such as `I am not this body'. Seeking the source of `I'
serves as a means of getting rid of all other thoughts. We should not
give scope to other thoughts, such as you mention, but must keep the
attention fixed on finding out the source of the `I' - thought by
asking, as each thought arises, to whom the thought arises. If the
answer is `I get the thought' continue the enquiry by asking `Who is
this "I" and what is its source?`
Question : Am I to keep on repeating `Who am I?' so as to make a mantra
Ramana Maharshi: No. `Who am I ?' is not a mantra. It means that you
must find out where in you arises the `I'-thought which is the source of
all other thoughts.
Source: from David Godman Excellent Book "Be As You
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26 and 40 verses of Reality
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