Is soham (the affirmation `I
am he') the same as `Who am I
Question : Shall I meditate on `I am Brahman' (aham
The text is not meant for thinking `I am Brahman'. Aham [`I'] is known to every one. Brahman abides as aham in every one.
Find out the `I'. The `I' is already Brahman. You need not think so.
Simply find out the `I'.
Question : Is not discarding of the sheaths (neti-neti) mentioned in the
Ramana Maharshi: After the rise of the `I'-thought there is the false
identification of the `I' with the body, the senses, the mind, etc. `I'
is wrongly associated with them and the true `I' is lost sight of. In
order to sift the pure `I' from the contaminated `I', this discarding is
But it does not mean exactly discarding of the non - Self, it means the
finding of the real Self. The real Self is the infinite `I'. That `I' is
perfection. It is eternal. It has no origin and no end. The other `I' is
born and also dies. It is impermanent. See to whom the changing thoughts
belong. They will be found to arise after the `I'-thought. Hold the
`I'-thought and they subside. Trace back the source of the `I'-thought.
The Self alone will remain.
Question : It is difficult to follow. I understand the theory. But what
is the practice?
Ramana Maharshi: The other methods are meant for those who cannot take
to the investigation of the Self. Even to repeat aham Brahmasmi or think
of it, a doer is necessary. Who is it? It is `I'. Be that `I'. It is the
direct method. The other methods also will ultimately lead everyone to
this method of the investigation of the Self.
Question : I am aware of the `I'. Yet my troubles are not ended.
Ramana Maharshi : This `I'-thought is not pure. It is contaminated with
the association of the body and senses. See to whom the trouble is. It
is to the `I'-thought. Hold it. Then the other thoughts vanish.
Question : Yes. How to do it? That is the whole trouble.
Ramana Maharshi : Think `I, I', and hold to that one thought to the
exclusion of all others.
Question : Is not affirmation of God more effective than the quest, `Who
am I?' Affirmation is positive, whereas the other is negation. Moreover,
it indicates separateness.
Ramana Maharshi : So long as you seek to know how to realize, this
advice is given to find your Self. Your seeking the method denotes your
Question : Is it not better to say `I am the supreme being' than ask
`Who am I?'
Ramana Maharshi : Who affirms? There must be one to do it. Find that one.
Question : Is not meditation better than investigation?
Ramana Maharshi : Meditation implies mental imagery, whereas
investigation is for the reality. The former is objective, whereas the
latter is subjective.
Question : There must be a scientific approach to this subject.
Ramana Maharshi : To eschew unreality and seek the reality is
Question : I mean there must be a gradual elimination, first of the
mind, then of the intellect, then of the ego.
Ramana Maharshi : The Self alone is real. All others are unreal. The
mind and intellect do not remain apart from you. The Bible says, `Be
still and know that I am God.' Stillness is the sole requisite for the
realization of the Self as God.
Question : Is soham (the affirmation `I am he') the same as `Who am I?'
Ramana Maharshi : Aham [`I'] alone is common to them. One is soham. The
other is koham [Who am I?]. They are different. Why should we go on
saying soham? One must find out the real `I'. In the question `Who am
I?', `I' refers to the ego. Trying to trace it and find its source, we
see it has no separate existence but merges in the real `I'.
You see the difficulty. Vichara is different in method from the
meditation sivoham or soham [`I am Siva' or `I am he']. I rather lay
stress upon Self-knowledge, for you are first concerned with yourself
before you proceed to know the world and its Lord. The soham meditation
or `I am Brahman' meditation is more or less a mental thought.
But the quest for the Self I speak of is a direct
method, indeed superior to the other meditation. The moment you start
looking for the self and go deeper and deeper, the real Self is waiting
there to take you in. Then whatever is done is done by something else
and you have no hand in it. In this process, all doubts and discussions
are automatically given up just as one who sleeps forgets, for the time
being, all his cares.
Source: from David Godman Excellent Book "Be As You
Who am I Technique is direct but
Ramana Maharshi on Meditation and
Why is self-enquiry more direct than other
Ramana Maharshi Self Inquiry
Ramana Maharshi - Only the quest `Who am
I?' is necessary
To enquire `Who am I ?' really means
finding source of `I'-thought
Ramana Mahashi on Turiya and Samadhi
Ramana Maharshi Free PDF
Ribhu Gita chapter
26 and 40 verses of Reality
Bhagwan Ramana Maharshi Teachings Blog (opens in a new window)
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