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  • Writer's pictureVyasa Speaking

The one question no one asks and no one answers.

These question trumps not only spiritual seekers but even a common man.

Why was I even born?

What is the purpose of my existence

When I leave this earth, how would I feel - fulfilled or empty?

The answers to these questions are still lost In the skies. Swami Ramana Maharishi breaks open this mystery and demystifies it in his own way. He believes he has the answer to the one question which many of us might not even ask ourselves, Who am I?

Once when Ramana Maharishi was deep in meditation, he attained state of Samadhi. He feared that he might not wake up from this trance. In this state of semi-consciousness, he started dissecting the concept of a body, mind and soul. He asked the question “Who am I?” and did not stop until he got his answer. We are going to delve deep into the conversation that was going on within him which he later narrated in his book, "Who am I"

Bhagawan Ramana Maharishi

This is a self-to-self conversation by Ramana Maharishi, the saint who was venerated as a Demi-God at Thiruvannamalai in Tamizh Nadu. This town's sacred monolith, Mount Arunachala is is believed to house many sages over many yugas. The locals believe that merely thinking about the mountain liberates them from the cycle of birth and death. It is documented in several spiritual texts that this mountain is an inanimate incarnation of Lord Siva.

There is a cryptic quote by Bhagwan Ramana - “In the end, everyone must come to Arunachala” It is believed that this is a seeker's paradise, who has burning questions about life and existence. Ramana Maharishi, who lived most part of his life, meditating under the shade of this mountain also believes self-inquiry is the only way to realise God, the universe or the self.

“Who am I?” is a masterpiece. A go-to book for all spiritual zealots who hope to find a missing part of themselves in India. As humans, we tend to identify ourselves with our mind and body. Ramana Maharishi, in a span of 10 pages explains how we are much more than that.

Mount Arunachala, Thiruvannamalai

Every page peels layers of human ego and ultimately reaches the fiery core. This exercise is unique to each person. It is natural to feel that the body or mind we have been endowed with might not be the right medium. Dissatisfaction begins within and eventually pours outside. And going inside is the only way to fix all loose joints. Sometimes, the answers to deepest questions are always hiding in plain sight.

Am I this body? No I’m not. Am I my senses? No, I’m not. Am I my organs that help me move, procreate, function? No, I'm not. Am I the prana, the breath? No, I’m not. So am I the mind that thinks? No, I’m not. Then, Who am I?

Bhagwan mentions that all that the mind does is, generate thoughts. And that’s about it. The respite comes when we sleep. When the mind wakes up, the world rises too. It turns on our internal projector and we experience stories with the images that are pre-stored in our cortex. How can we experience existential magic when the projector is well oiled and running? The two worlds do not blend. When we go deep within the self, the world disappears. And when the world appears, the self recoils.

He urges the reader to be laser-focussed and attack every thought-arrow with the question, "to whom has this thought risen?” And the reader will tend to respond, “ To me, of course?” Pursue the inner quest again with this question, “Ok, so who am I?” until there is silence.
Ramanashram, Thiruvannamalai

He promises that after a point of time, the mind will succumb to this question and return to its source. It will step aside to show the “real self”. At that moment, all thoughts will cease to exist. If this practise is done consistently, the mind will be locked in its source.

The world is held in its place by all man-made shackles. When the mind travels through the gross body, it objectifies everything it sees and hears. There is no subtlety. Everything must have a name and a form. However, when we impale the mind in its source, it's heart, all descriptions lose its meaning. Nothing is known and everything is known.

To go a little deeper, when we hold the mind in the heart, “I” no longer exists. And along with it, everything one has known and believed will no longer exist. Only the self will exist in all its glory. The nature of enlightenment, is this.

Vyasa Speaking is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Gaana and Castbox.

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