Ramana Maharshi -
from a painting in oils
Archive films and photos of Ramana Maharshi - Video Presentation
Ramana Maharshi:Abide as the Self - Video
Part 2 -
Part 5 -
Part 6 -
Ramana Maharshi: Bhagavan's Life Story - Video Presentation
Collected Works of Ramana
Maharishi and Thayumanavar - Robert Butler, T. V. Venkatasubramanian and
Baghavan Maharishi Ramana - Discussion Group
T. M. P. Mahadevan
Vicharasangraham of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi -
Translation by T.M.P. Mahadevan
from the original Tamil
- Ramana Maharishi
Talks with Ramana - Part 1
Talks with Ramana - Part 2
Talks with Ramana - Part 3
Day by Day
Maha Yoga in the
Light of Ramana's Teachings - Paul Brunton
Rishi & His Message - Paul Brunton
Rishi & the Path of Knowledge - A Biography - Arthur Osborne
Ramana Maharishi, Somerset Maugham & Razor's Edge "..In January
1938 Somerset Maugham, the British novelist, visited Sri Ramanashram for a
few hours. The brief contact he had with Bhagavan inspired Maugham so much,
he decided to use him as the model for a fictional Guru in
The Razor's Edge, a novel of his that was published a few years later
in 1944. Maugham also wrote a non-fiction account of his visit in an essay
entitled 'The Saint', which was published twenty years after the event in
All about The Razors Edge
The Razor's Edge - Somerset Maugham
David Godman: Obeisance to Ramana. "By seeing Chidambaram, by being
born, in Tiruvarur, by dying in Kasi, or by merely thinking of
Arunachala, one will surely attain Liberation. The supreme knowledge
(Self-knowledge), the import of Vedanta, which cannot be attained without
great difficulty, can easily be attained by anyone who sees the form of this
hill from wherever it is visible or who even thinks of it by mind from afar.
Such is the assurance given by Lord Siva in the Arunachala Mahatmyam about
the power of the mere thought of Arunachala, and this assurance has received
striking confirmation from the life and teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana. ."
Be As You Are : The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi - David Godman
(Editor) Book Review by
Fred Chapur at Amazon.com - "You don't find a book, a book
finds you!..Ramana was a true master, He knew
that truth could not be put into words, he knew that truth could not be a
concept or an idea, he knew that truth was beyond mind, beyond the
horizontal plane of existence of apparent beginings and ends so his favorite
method was his silent teaching. Silence was his preferred way to communicate
truth. Those who needed more than silence, will ask him questions and he
will answer. But as always as soon as you use words to explain truth you
will encounter that with the same words, on the same answer, some will see
beautiful wisdom and others absolute nonsense. That is the power, beauty and
mystery that happens when you try to express truth in words.If this book has
find you, or even if you are reading this review,realize that there is
something you can learn or become aware from this book, because even if you
feel you got nothing out of it, that is still something! Read some of the
pages from this book, and by doing that, something inside you will tell you
yes, there is some beautiful wisdom here, or no, this is a soup of letters
and I have no clue what this guy is talking about.
Thanks Ramana, thanks David, thank you for having enough compassion to know
that there are fools like myself out there that need more than silence to
have at least a taste of what truth is all about!
Off Site Links
The story of
Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
The Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi - Arthur Osborne
Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self-Knowledge - Arthur Osborne
The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi
The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi - Arthur Osborne (Editor)
Philosophy of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi - N.D. Sonde
Sri Ramana Maharshi, a bibliography compiled by K. Subramaniyam
Ramana Maharshi : the Sage of Arunachala - T.M.P. Mahadevan
A practical guide to know yourself : conversations with Sri Ramana Maharshi
More talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi : leaves from diary - N. N. Rajan
THE SAGE OF THIRUVANAMALAI
Sayings of Ramana
Interview with Ramana -
Who Am I - Nan Yaar?
Translation by T. M. P. Mahadevan from the original Tamil
Thus Spake Ramana - Compiled
by Lucy Cornelssen
"..Reality is simply the loss of the ego... How is the ego
to be destroyed? Hold the ego first and then ask how it is to be destroyed.
Who asks this question? It is the ego. Can the ego ever agree to kill
itself? This question is a sure way to cherish the ego and not to kill it.
If you seek the ego you will find it does not exist. That is the way to
"What is the use of knowing about everything else when you do
not yet know who you are? Men avoid this enquiry into the true Self, but what
else is there so worthy to be undertaken?... The only thing that keeps us from
realization is the belief that we are not realized..."
"Pursue the inquiry 'Who am I' relentlessly. Analyse your entire
personality. Try to find out where the I-thought begins. Go on with your
meditations. Keep turning your attention within. One day the wheel of thought
will slow down and an intuition will mysteriously arise. Follow that intuition,
let your thinking stop, and it will lead eventually to the goal." - Ramana
Maharishi, quoted in 'In Days of Great Peace' by Mouni Sadhu
"Bhakthi, Karma, Jnana and (Raja) Yoga, all these paths are one.
You cannot love God without knowing Him nor know him without loving him. Love
manifests itself in everything you do and that is Karma. The development of
mental perception (Yoga), is the necessary preliminary before you can know or
- Ramana Maharishi quoted in 'Crumbs from his Table' by Ramanananda
"Jnana is given neither from outside nor from another person. It can be
realised by each and everyone in his own Heart. The jnana Guru of everyone
is only the Supreme Self that is always revealing its own truth in every
Heart through the being-conciousness 'I am, I am.' The granting of true
knowledge by him is initiation into jnana. The grace of the Guru is only
that Self-awareness that is one's own true nature. It is the inner
conciousness by which he is unceasingly revealing his existence. This divine
upadesa is always going on naturally in everyone." - Ramana Maharshi
Interview with Ramana
in Paul Brunton's A Search in Secret India, published
by Rider & Co., London:
Q: What exactly is this Self of which you speak? If what
you say is true there must be another self in man.
Sri Ramana: Can a man be possessed of two
identities, two selves? To understand this matter it is
first necessary for a man to analyse himself. Because it has
long been his habit to think as others think, he has never
faced his 'I' in the true manner. He has not a correct
picture of himself: he has too long identified himself with
the body and the brain. Therefore I tell you to pursue this
enquiry, 'Who am I?' You ask me to describe this true
Self to you. What can be said? It is That out of which the
sense of the personal 'I' arises and into which it will have
Q: Disappear? How can one lose the feeling of one's
Sri Ramana: The first and foremost of
all thoughts, the primeval thought in the mind of every man,
is the thought 'I'. It is only after the birth of this
thought that any other thoughts can arise at all. It is only
after the first personal pronoun, 'I', has arisen in the
mind that the second personal pronoun, 'you', can make its
appearance. If you could mentally follow the 'I' thread
until it led you back to its source you would discover that,
just as it is the first thought to appear, so it is the last
to disappear. This is a matter which can be experienced.
Q: You mean that it is possible to conduct such a mental
investigation into oneself?
Sri Ramana: Certainly. It is possible
to go inwards until the last thought, 'I', gradually
Q: What is then left? Will a man then
become quite unconscious or will he become an idiot?
Sri Ramana: No; on the contrary, he
will attain that consciousness which is immortal and he will
become truly wise when he has awakened to his true Self,
which is the real nature of man.
Q: But surely the
sense of 'I' must also pertain to that?
Sri Ramana: The sense of 'I' pertains
to the person, the body and brain. When a man knows his true
Self for the first time something else arises from the
depths of his being and takes possession of him. That
something is behind the mind; it is infinite, divine,
eternal. Some people call it the Kingdom of Heaven,
others call it the soul and others again Nirvana, and Hindus
call it Liberation; you may give it what name you wish. When
this happens a man has not really lost himself; rather he
has found himself.
Unless and until a man embarks on this quest of the true
Self, doubt and uncertainty will follow his footsteps
through life. The greatest kings and statesmen try to rule
others when in their heart of hearts they know that they
cannot rule themselves. Yet the greatest power is at the
command of the man who has penetrated to his inmost depth.
What is the use of knowing about everything else
when you do not yet know who you are? Men avoid this enquiry
into the true Self, but what else is there so worthy to be
Who Am I - Nan Yaar?: The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi -
Translation by T. M. P. Mahadevan from the original Tamil [also
Introduction by T. M. P. Mahadevan -
"Who am I?" is the title given to a set of questions and answers bearing on
Self-enquiry. The questions were put to Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi by one Sri
M. Sivaprakasam Pillai about the year 1902. Sri Pillai, a graduate in
Philosophy, was at the time employed in the Revenue Department of the South
Arcot Collectorate. During his visit to Tiruvannamalai in 1902 on official work,
he went to Virupaksha Cave on Arunachala Hill and met the Master there. He
sought from him spiritual guidance, and solicited answers to questions relating
to Self-enquiry. As Bhagavan was not talking then, not because of any vow he had
taken, but because he did not have the inclination to talk, he answered the
questions put to him by gestures, and when these were not understood, by
writing. As recollected and recorded by Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai, there were
fourteen questions with answers to them given by Bhagavan. This record was first
published by Sri Pillai in 1923, along with a couple of poems composed by
himself relating how Bhagavan's grace operated in his case by dispelling his
doubts and by saving him from a crisis in life. 'Who am I?' has been published
several times subsequently. We find thirty questions and answers in some
editions and twenty-eight in others. There is also another published version in
which the questions are not given, and the teachings are rearranged in the form
of an essay. The extant English translation is of this essay. The present
rendering is of the text in the form of twenty-eight questions and answers.
Nan Yar (Who am I?) constitutes the first set of instructions in the Master's
own words. These two are the only prose-pieces among Bhagavan's Works. They
clearly set forth the central teaching that the direct path to liberation is
Self-enquiry. The particular mode in which the enquiry is to be made is lucidly
set forth in Nan Yar. 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, Sakshatkara. The process of enquiry of course, is not an
easy one. As one enquires 'Who am I?', other thoughts will arise; but as these
arise, one should not yield to them by following them , on the contrary, one
should ask 'To whom do they arise ?' In order to do this, one has to be
extremely vigilant. Through constant enquiry one should make the mind stay in
its source, without allowing it to wander away and get lost in the mazes of
thought created by itself. All other disciplines such as breath-control and
meditation on the forms of God should be regarded as auxiliary practices. They
are useful in so far as they help the mind to become quiescent and one-pointed.
For the mind that has gained skill in concentration, Self-enquiry becomes
comparatively easy. It is by ceaseless enquiry that the thoughts are destroyed
and the Self realized - the plenary Reality in which there is not even the 'I'
thought, the experience which is referred to as "Silence".
substance, is Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi's teaching in Nan Yar (Who am I?).
Om Namo Bhagavathe Sri Ramanaya
Who Am I? - (Nan Yar?)
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.
1 . Who am I ?
The gross body which is composed of the seven
humours (dhatus), I am not; the five cognitive sense organs, viz.
the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell, which
apprehend their respective objects, viz. sound, touch, colour,
taste, and odour, I am not; the five cognitive sense-organs, viz.
the organs of speech, locomotion, grasping, excretion, and
procreation, which have as their respective functions speaking,
moving, grasping, excreting, and enjoying, I am not; the five vital
airs, prana, etc., which perform respectively the five functions of
in-breathing, etc., I am not; even the mind which thinks, I am not;
the nescience too, which is endowed only with the residual
impressions of objects, and in which there are no objects and no
functioning's, I am not.
2. 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.
3. What is the nature of Awareness?
The nature of Awareness is
4. 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.
5. Will there not be realization of the Self even
while the world is there (taken as real)?
There will not be.
The seer and the object seen are like the rope and
the snake. Just as the knowledge of the rope which is the substrate
will not arise unless the false knowledge of the illusory serpent
goes, so the realization of the Self which is the substrate will not
be gained unless the belief that the world is real is removed.
7. When will the world which is the object seen be
When the mind, which is the cause of all cognition's
and of all actions, becomes quiescent, the world will disappear.
8. 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 referred to as the Self
is the Atman. The mind always exists only in dependence on something
gross; it cannot stay alone. It is the mind that is called the
subtle body or the soul (jiva).
9. 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
10. 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 Self-realization.
11. 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 arise?' It does not
matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should
inquire with diligence, "To whom has this thought arisen?". 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. When
the mind that is subtle goes out through the brain and the
sense-organs, the gross names and forms appear; when it stays in the
heart, the names and forms disappear. Not letting the mind go out,
but retaining it in the Heart is what is called "inwardness"
(antar-mukha). Letting the mind go out of the Heart is known as
"externalisation" (bahir-mukha). Thus, when the mind stays in the
Heart, the 'I' which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the
Self which ever exists will shine. Whatever one does, one should do
without the egoity "I". If one acts in that way, all will appear as
of the nature of Siva (God).
12. Are there no other means for making the mind
Other than inquiry, there are no adequate means. If
through other means it is sought to control the mind, the mind will
appear to be controlled, but will again go forth. Through the
control of breath also, the mind will become quiescent; but it will
be quiescent only so long as the breath remains controlled, and when
the breath resumes the mind also will again start moving and will
wander as impelled by residual impressions. 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. But in deep sleep, although the mind becomes quiescent,
the breath does not stop. This is because of the will of God, so
that the body may be preserved and other people may not be under the
impression that it is dead. In the state of waking and in samadhi,
when the mind becomes quiescent the breath is controlled. Breath is
the gross form of mind. 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. Therefore, the exercise of breath-control is only an
aid for rendering the mind quiescent (manonigraha); it will not
destroy the mind (manonasa).
Like the practice of breath-control. meditation on the forms of God,
repetition of mantras, restriction on food, etc., are but aids for
rendering the mind quiescent.
Through meditation on the forms of God and through repetition of
mantras, the mind becomes one-pointed. The mind will always be
wandering. Just as when a chain is given to an elephant to hold in
its trunk it will go along grasping the chain and nothing else, so
also when the mind is occupied with a name or form it will grasp
that alone. When the mind expands in the form of countless thoughts,
each thought becomes weak; but as thoughts get resolved the mind
becomes one-pointed and strong; for such a mind Self-inquiry will
become easy. Of all the restrictive rules, that relating to the
taking of sattvic food in moderate quantities is the best; by
observing this rule, the sattvic quality of mind will increase, and
that will be helpful to Self-inquiry.
13. The residual impressions (thoughts) of objects
appear wending like the waves of an ocean. When will all of them get
As the meditation on the Self rises higher and
higher, the thoughts will get destroyed.
14. Is it possible for the residual impressions of
objects that come from beginningless time, as it were, to be resolved,
and for one to remain as the pure Self?
Without yielding to the doubt "Is it possible, or
not?", one should persistently hold on to the meditation on the
Self. Even if one be a great sinner, one should not worry and weep
"O! I am a sinner, how can I be saved?"; 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.
The mind should not be allowed to wander towards worldly objects and
what concerns other people. However bad other people may be, one
should bear no hatred for them. Both desire and hatred should be
eschewed. 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. To the extent we behave with humility, to that
extent there will result good. If the mind is rendered quiescent,
one may live anywhere.
15. How long should inquiry be practised?
As long as there are impressions of objects in the
mind, so long the inquiry "Who am I?" is required. As thoughts arise
they should be destroyed then and there in the very place of their
origin, through inquiry. If one resorts to contemplation of the Self
unintermittently, until the Self is gained, that alone would do. As
long as there are enemies within the fortress, they will continue to
sally forth; if they are destroyed as they emerge, the fortress will
fall into our hands.
16. 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.
17. Is not everything the work of God?
Without desire, resolve, or effort, the sun rises;
and in its mere presence, the sun-stone emits fire, the lotus
blooms, water evaporates; people perform their various functions and
then rest. Just as in the presence of the magnet the needle moves,
it is by virtue of the mere presence of God that the souls governed
by the three (cosmic) functions or the fivefold divine activity
perform their actions and then rest, in accordance with their
respective karmas. God has no resolve; no karma attaches itself to
Him. That is like worldly actions not affecting the sun, or like the
merits and demerits of the other four elements not affecting all
18. Of the devotees, who is the greatest?
He who gives himself up to the Self that is God is
the most excellent devotee. Giving one's self up to God means
remaining constantly in the Self without giving room for the rise of
any thoughts other than that of the Self. Whatever burdens are
thrown on God, He bears them. 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?
19. What is non-attachment?
As thoughts arise, destroying them utterly without
any residue in the very place of their origin is non-attachment.
Just as the pearl-diver ties a stone to his waist, sinks to the
bottom of the sea and there takes the pearls, so each one of us
should be endowed with non-attachment, dive within oneself and
obtain the Self-Pearl.
20. Is it not possible for God and the Guru to effect
the release of a soul?
God and the Guru will only show the way to release;
they will not by themselves take the soul to the state of release.
In truth, God and the Guru are not different. Just as the prey which
has fallen into the jaws of a tiger has no escape, so those who have
come within the ambit of the Guru's gracious look will be saved by
the Guru and will not get lost; yet, 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. Does he who is Rama require the help of a mirror to
know that he is Rama?
21. Is it necessary for one who longs for release to
inquire into the nature of categories (tattvas)?
Just as one who wants to throw away garbage has no
need to analyse it and see what it is, so one who wants to know the
Self has no need to count the number of categories or inquire into
their characteristics; what he has to do is to reject altogether the
categories that hide the Self. The world should be considered like a
22. Is there no difference between waking and dream?
Waking is long and a dream short; other than this
there is no difference. Just as waking happenings seem real while
awake. so do those in a dream while dreaming. In dream the mind
takes on another body. In both waking and dream states thoughts.
names and forms occur simultaneously.
23. Is it any use reading books for those who long
All the texts say that in order to gain release one
should render the mind quiescent; therefore their conclusive
teaching is that the mind should be rendered quiescent; once this
has been understood there is no need for endless reading. In order
to quieten the mind one has only to inquire within oneself what
one's Self is; how could this search be done in books? One should
know one's Self with one's own eye of wisdom. The Self is within the
five sheaths; but books are outside them. Since the Self has to be
inquired into by discarding the five sheaths, it is futile to search
for it in books. There will come a time when one will have to forget
all that one has learned.
24. What is happiness?
Happiness is the very nature of the Self; happiness
and the Self are not different. There is no happiness in any object
of the world. We imagine through our ignorance that we derive
happiness from objects. When the mind goes out, it experiences
misery. In truth, when its desires are fulfilled, it returns to its
own place and enjoys the happiness that is the Self. Similarly, in
the states of sleep, samadhi and fainting, and when the object
desired is obtained or the object disliked is removed, the mind
becomes inward-turned, and enjoys pure Self-Happiness. Thus the mind
moves without rest alternately going out of the Self and returning
to it. Under the tree the shade is pleasant; out in the open the
heat is scorching. A person who has been going about in the sun
feels cool when he reaches the shade. Someone who keeps on going
from the shade into the sun and then back into the shade is a fool.
A wise man stays permanently in the shade. Similarly, the mind of
the one who knows the truth does not leave Brahman. The mind of the
ignorant, on the contrary, revolves in the world, feeling miserable,
and for a little time returns to Brahman to experience happiness. In
fact, what is called the world is only thought. When the world
disappears, i.e. when there is no thought, the mind experiences
happiness; and when the world appears, it goes through misery.
25. What is wisdom-insight (jnana-drsti)?
Remaining quiet is what is called wisdom-insight. To
remain quiet is to resolve the mind in the Self. Telepathy, knowing
past, present and future happenings and clairvoyance do not
26. What is the relation between desirelessness and
Desirelessness is wisdom. The two are not different;
they are the same. Desirelessness is refraining from turning the
mind towards any object. Wisdom means the appearance of no object.
In other words, not seeking what is other than the Self is
detachment or desirelessness; not leaving the Self is wisdom.
27. What is the difference between inquiry and
Inquiry consists in retaining the mind in the Self.
Meditation consists in thinking that one's self is Brahman,
28. What is release?
Inquiring into the nature of one's self that is in
bondage, and realising one's true nature is release.