Ramana's technique

Nanda Kumar nkumar at OPPENHEIMERFUNDS.COM
Thu Oct 23 10:38:30 CDT 1997

I'm reading this book called "The experential dimension of Advaita
Vedanta" by Arvind Sharma and there's is an interesting techinque
devised by Ramana Maharishi which is quoted in the book :

"Aspirants in self-enquiry were advised by Sri Ramana to put their
attention on the inner feeling of 'I' and to hold that feeling as long as
possible. They would be told that if their attention was distracted by
other thoughts they should revert to the awareness of the 'I' thought
whenever they became aware that their attention had wandered. He
suggested various aids to ask oneself 'Who am I?' or 'Where does this I
come from?' - but the ultimate aim was to be continuously aware of the 'I'
which assumes that it is responsible for all the activities of the body and
the mind.

In the early stages of practice attention to the feeling 'I' is a mental activity
which takes the form of a thought or a perception. As the practice
develops the thought 'I' gives way to a subjectively experienced feeling
of 'I', and when this feeling ceases to connect and identify with thoughts
and objects it completely vanishes. What remains is an experience of
being in which the sense of individuality has temporarily ceased to
operate. The experience may be intermittent at first but with repeated
practice it becomes easier and easier to reach and maintain. When
self-enquiry reaches this level there is an effortless awareness of being
in which individual effort is no longer possible since the 'I' who makes the
effort has temporarily ceased to exist. It's not Self-Realization since the 'I'
thought periodically reasserts itself but it's the highest level of practice.
Repeated experience of this state of being weakens and destroys the
mental tendencies which cause the 'I' thought to rise and when their hold
has been sufficiently weakened, the power of the Self destroys the
residual tendencies so completely that the 'I' thought never rises again.
This is the final and irreversible state of Self-Realization."

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