Self-enquiry & Self-Realization
Self-enquiry ( Vichāra in Sanskrit) means the enquiry into the nature of the Self (Atman or Brahman, which nature is Sat-Chit-Ananda) and is the source and substratum of the ego, mind, body and all universe.
Although Advaita is the ultimate doctrine and Self-Enquiry is the supreme and most direct path throughout the ages, this is suitable only for ripe souls. The rest should follow different methods according to the state of their minds.
Self-enquiry / Who am I?
quotes of Sri Ramana Maharshi
Sri Ramana Maharshi: "Everybody, every book says “Be quiet or still.” But it is not easy. That is why all this effort is necessary. Even if you find one who has at once achieved the mouna (silence) or supreme state indicated, you may take it that the effort necessary has already been completed in a previous life. Such effortless and choiceless awareness is reached only after deliberate meditation."
"To attain … natural happiness one must know oneself. For that Self-Enquiry - “Who am I?” - is the chief means."
"The individual soul of the form of “I” is the ego. The Self (Atman) which is of the nature of consciousness(chit) has no sense of “I.” Nor does the insentient body possess a sense of 'I.”
"The aim is to reach the root (the Self) of the “I”-sense."
"The Self is that where there is absolutely no “I”-thought. That is called 'Silence'."
"To enquire `who am I ?’ really means trying to find out the source of the ego or the `I’-thought or 'I-sense; seeking the source of `I’ serves as a means of getting rid of all other thoughts; we should not give scope to other thoughts, but must keep the attention fixed on finding out the source of the `I’ – thought by asking, as each thought arises, to whom the thought arises. if the answer is `I get the thought’ continue the enquiry by asking `who is this “I” and what is its source?"
All you have to do is to find its source and abide in it as your real Self."
"By constantly fixing its attention on the Source, the Heart, the ego gets dissolved into it like a salt doll which has fallen into the ocean."
"To inhere in one's own Being (Self, Atman), where the “I,” or ego, is dead, is the perfect State."
"When it ( the abidance in the Self) becomes Sahaja* (natural -effortless) it is Self-Realization, Liberation."
*Sahaja:When the ego is eliminated totally the abidance in the Self -as the Self, becomes permanent and natural because the unique factor (the ego) which were the cause to externalize the mind and forget our true Self, to identify with the body, the objects and the mental and emotional forms, doesn't exist any more. This free from ego state and the without a break effortless abidance in the Self is Self-realization or Liberation. ~ Atman Nityananda