Ramana Maharshi, most commonly known as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, taught self-enquiry as the principal means to remove ignorance and abide in Self-awareness, together with bhakti (devotion), which is surrendering to the Self.
He is recognised worldwide as being an enlightened being and his teachings are growing ever popular, particularly due to his approval to a variety of paths and practices people could follow. The essence of Ramana Maharshi’s teachings is that the “Self” or real “I” is a “non-personal, all-inclusive awareness.
Here are 17 of his teachings.
Happiness is your nature.
It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside
when it is inside.
Nearly all mankind is more or less unhappy
because nearly all do not know the true Self.
Real happiness abides in Self-knowledge alone.
All else is fleeting.
To know one’s Self
is to be blissful always.
…Bliss is not something to be got.
On the other hand you are always Bliss.
This desire [for Bliss] is born of the sense of incompleteness.
To whom is this sense of incompleteness?
Enquire. In deep sleep you were blissful.
Now you are not so.
What has interposed between that Bliss and this non-bliss?
It is the ego.
Seek its source and find you are Bliss.
Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s true self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.
We loosely talk of Self-realization, for lack of a better term. But how can one realize or make real that which alone is real? All we need to do is to give up our habit of regarding as real that which is unreal. All religious practices are meant solely to help us do this. When we stop regarding the unreal as real, then reality alone will remain, and we will be that.
Nobody doubts that he exists, though he may doubt the existence of God. If he finds out the truth about himself and discovers his own source, this is all that is required.
That inner Self, as the primeval Spirit,
Eternal, ever effulgent, full and infinite Bliss,
Single, indivisible, whole and living,
Shines in everyone as the witnessing awareness.
That self in its splendour, shining in the cavity of the heart
This self is neither born nor dies,
Neither grows nor decays,
Nor does it suffer any change.
When a pot is broken, the space within it is not,
And similarly, when the body dies the Self in it remains eternal.
Every living being longs always to be happy, untainted by sorrow; and everyone has the greatest love for himself, which is solely due to the fact that happiness is his real nature. Hence, in order to realize that inherent and untainted happiness, which indeed he daily experiences when the mind is subdued in deep sleep, it is essential that he should know himself. For obtaining such knowledge the inquiry ‘Who am I?’ in quest of the Self is the best means.
Reality is simply the loss of ego. Destroy the ego by seeking its identity. Because the ego is no entity it will automatically vanish and reality will shine forth by itself.
God dwells in you, as you, and you don’t have to ‘do’ anything to be God-realized or Self-realized, it is already your true and natural state.” Just drop all seeking, turn your attention inward, and sacrifice your mind to the One Self radiating in the Heart of your very being. For this to be your own presently lived experience, Self-Inquiry is the one direct and immediate way.
It is false to speak of realisation. What is there to realise?
The real is as it is always. We are not creating anything new or
achieving something which we did not have before. The illustration
given in books is this. We dig a well and create a huge pit. The
space in the pit or well has not been created by us. We have just
removed the earth which was filling the space there. The space
was there then and is also there now. Similarly we have simply
to throw out all the age-long samskaras [innate tendencies] which
are inside us. When all of them have been given up, the Self will
There is no greater mystery than this, that we keep
seeking reality though in fact we are reality. We
think that there is something hiding reality and that
this must be destroyed before reality is gained.
How ridiculous! A day will dawn when you will laugh
at all your past efforts. That which will be the day
you laugh is also here and now.
Relative knowledge pertains to the mind and not to the Self. It is therefore illusory and not permanent. Take a scientist, for instance. He formulates a theory that the Earth is round and goes on to prove it on an incontrovertible basis. When he falls asleep the whole idea vanishes; his mind is left a blank. What does it matter whether the world remains round or flat when he is asleep? So you see the futility of all such relative knowledge. One should go beyond relative knowledge and abide in the Self. Real knowledge is such experience, and not apprehension by the mind.
‘I exist’ is the only permanent self-evident experience of everyone. Nothing else is so self-evident as ‘I am’. What people call self-evident, that is, the experience they get through the senses, is far from self-evident. The Self alone is that. So to do self-enquiry and be that ‘I am’ is the only thing to do. ‘I am’ is reality. I am this or that is unreal. ‘I am’ is truth, another name for Self.
“Heart” is merely another name for the Supreme Spirit,
because He is in all hearts.
The entire Universe is condensed in the body,
and the entire body in the Heart.
Thus the Heart is the nucleus of the whole Universe.
Your own Self-Realization
is the greatest service you can
render the world.
You and I are the same.
What I have done is surely possible for all.
You are the Self
now and can never be anything else.
Throw your worries to the wind,
turn within and find Peace.
- “Be As You Are” The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi – Edited by David Godman
- “Talks with Ramana Maharshi” – by Ramana Maharshi
- The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi – by Ramana Maharshi