Ramana Maharshi (1879 – 1950) was an Indian sage who, at the age of 16, had a “death-experience” where he became aware of a “current” or “force” (avesam) which he recognized as his true ‘I’ or “self.” Six weeks later he left his uncle’s home in Madurai, and journeyed to the holy mountain Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai, where he took on the role of a sannyasin (though not formally initiated), and remained for the rest of his life. He soon attracted devotees who regarded him as a wise man, and in later years an ashram grew up around him, where visitors received upadesa (“spiritual instruction”) by sitting silently in his company and by asking questions. Many of these question-and-answer sessions have been transcribed and published.
Quotes by Ramana Maharshi…
There is no reaching the Self. If Self were to be reached it would mean that it is not here and now but that it is yet to be obtained. What is got afresh will also be lost. So it will be impermanent. What is not permanent is not worth striving for. So I say the Self is not reached. You are the Self. You are already That.
If the mind is happy, not only the body but the whole world will be happy. So one must find out how to become happy oneself. Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.
Bliss is not something to be got. On the other hand you are always bliss. This desire for bliss is born of the sense of incompleteness. To whom is this sense of incompleteness? Enquire. In deep sleep you were blissful. Now you are not so. What has interposed between that bliss and this non-bliss? It is the ego. Seek its source and find you are bliss.
Nearly all mankind is more or less unhappy because nearly all do not know the true Self. Real happiness abides in Self-knowledge alone. All else is fleeting. To know one’s Self is to be blissful always.
Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.
We loosely talk of self-realization, for lack of a better term. But how can one realize or make real that which alone is real? All we need to do is to give up our habit of regarding as real that which is unreal. All religious practices are meant solely to help us do this. When we stop regarding the unreal as real, then reality alone will remain, and we will be that.
That inner Self, as the primeval Spirit, Eternal, ever effulgent, full and infinite bliss, single, indivisible, whole and living, shines in everyone as the witnessing awareness. That Self in its splendour, shining in the cavity of the heart, this Self is neither born nor dies, neither grows nor decays, nor does it suffer any change. When a pot is broken, the space within it is not, and similarly, when the body dies the Self in it remains eternal.
Every living being longs always to be happy, untainted by sorrow; and everyone has the greatest love for himself, which is solely due to the fact that happiness is his real nature. Hence, in order to realize that inherent and untainted happiness, which indeed he daily experiences when the mind is subdued in deep sleep, it is essential that he should know himself. For obtaining such knowledge the inquiry “Who am I?” in quest of the Self is the best means.
Reality is simply the loss of ego. Destroy the ego by seeking its identity. Because the ego is no entity it will automatically vanish and reality will shine forth by itself.
God dwells in you, as you, and you don’t have to “do” anything to be God-realized or Self-realized, it is already your true and natural state. Just drop all seeking, turn your attention inward, and sacrifice your mind to the One Self radiating in the Heart of your very being. For this to be your own presently lived experience, Self-Inquiry is the one direct and immediate way.