Source ~ Translation of 1923 booklet ~ http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/who_am_I.pdf
From Introduction ~
”The mind consists of thoughts. The ‘I’ thought is the first to arise in the mind. When the enquiry ‘ Who am I?’
is persistently pursued, all other thoughts get destroyed, and finally the ‘I’ thought itself vanishes
leaving the supreme non-dual Self alone. The false identification of the Self with the phenomena
of non-self such as the body and mind thus ends, and there is illumination.”
Who Am I ? ~
”As all living beings desire to be happy always, without misery, as in the case of everyone there
is observed supreme love for one’s self, and as happiness alone is the cause for love, in order to
gain that happiness which is one’s nature and which is experienced in the state of deep sleep
where there is no mind, one should know one’s self. For that, the path of knowledge, the inquiry
of the form “Who am I?”, is the principal means.”
”The gross body…I am not; the five cognitive sense organs…I am not; the five vital airs…I am not; even the mind that thinks, I am not.”
If I am none of these, then who am I?
After negating all of the above-mentioned as ‘not this’, ‘not this’, that Awareness which alone
remains – that I am.
What is the nature of Awareness?
The nature of Awareness is existence-consciousness-bliss
When will the realization of the Self be gained?
When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be realization of the Self
which is the seer.
What is the nature of the mind?
What is called ‘mind’ is a wondrous power residing in the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise.
Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind. Therefore, thought is the nature of mind. Apart
from thoughts, there is no independent entity called the world. In deep sleep there are no thoughts,
and there is no world. In the states of waking and dream, there are thoughts, and there is a world
also. Just as the spider emits the thread (of the web) out of itself and again withdraws it into itself,
likewise the mind projects the world out of itself and again resolves it into itself. When the mind
comes out of the Self, the world appears. Therefore, when the world appears (to be real), the Self
does not appear; and when the Self appears (shines) the world does not appear. When one
persistently inquires into the nature of the mind, the mind will end leaving the Self (as the residue).
What is the path of inquiry for understanding the nature of the mind?
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.
How will the mind become quiescent?
By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’. The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the
stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise
What is the means for constantly holding on to the thought ‘Who am I?’
When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire: ‘To whom do they
The answer that would emerge would be “To
me”. Thereupon if one inquires “Who am I?”, the mind will go back to its source; and the thought
that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the
skill to stay in its source.
”The source is the same for both mind and breath. Thought, indeed,
is the nature of the mind. The thought “I” is the first thought of the mind; and that is egoity. It is from
that whence egoity originates that breath also originates. Therefore, when the mind becomes quiescent,
the breath is controlled, and when the breath is controlled the mind becomes quiescent.”
”’Till the time of death, the mind keeps breath in the body; and when
the body dies the mind takes the breath along with it.”
”One should completely renounce the thought “I am a sinner”; and concentrate keenly on
meditation on the Self; then, one would surely succeed. There are not two minds – one good and the
other evil; the mind is only one. It is the residual impressions that are of two kinds – auspicious and inauspicious. When the mind is under the influence of auspicious impressions it is called good; and
when it is under the influence of inauspicious impressions it is regarded as evil.”
All that one gives to others one gives to one’s self. If this truth is
understood who will not give to others? When one’s self arises all arises; when one’s self becomes
quiescent all becomes quiescent.
What is the nature of the Self?
What exists in truth is the Self alone. The world, the individual soul, and God are appearances in
it. like silver in mother-of-pearl, these three appear at the same time, and disappear at the same
time. The Self is that where there is absolutely no “I” thought. That is called “Silence”. The Self
itself is the world; the Self itself is “I”; the Self itself is God; all is Siva, the Self.
”Since the supreme power
of God makes all things move, why should we, without submitting ourselves to it, constantly worry
ourselves with thoughts as to what should be done and how, and what should not be done and how
not? We know that the train carries all loads, so after getting on it why should we carry our small
luggage on our head to our discomfort, instead of putting it down in the train and feeling at ease?”
”Each one should by his own
effort pursue the path shown by God or Guru and gain release. One can know oneself only with
one’s own eye of knowledge, and not with somebody else’s.”
What is the difference between inquiry and meditation?
Inquiry consists in retaining the mind in the Self. Meditation consists in thinking that one’s self is
What is release?
Inquiring into the nature of one’s self that is in bondage, and realising one’s true nature is release.
(OM TAT SAT)