Who Am I? - (Nan Yar?) The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi Translation b !r" T" M" #" MA$A!
%&AN from the original Tamil #'blishe( b &" S" RAMANAN #R%SI!%NT) B*AR! *+ TR,ST%%S SRI RAMANASRAMAM TIR,&ANNAMA-AI) S" IN!IA INTR*!,.TI*N /Who am I?/ is the title given to a set of 0'estions an( ans1ers bearing on Self-en0'ir " The 0'estions 1ere 2't to Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi b one Sri M" Siva2ra3asam #illai abo't the ear 4567" Sri #illai) a gra('ate in #hiloso2h ) 1as at the time em2lo e( in the Reven'e !e2artment of the So'th Arcot .ollectorate" !'ring his visit to Tir'vannamalai in 4567 on official 1or3) he 1ent to &ir'2a3sha .ave on Ar'nachala $ill an( met the Master there" $e so'ght from him s2irit'al g'i(ance) an( solicite( ans1ers to 0'estions relating to Self-en0'ir " As Bhagavan 1as not tal3ing then) not beca'se of an vo1 he ha( ta3en) b't beca'se he (i( not have the inclination to tal3) he ans1ere( the 0'estions 2't to him b gest'res) an( 1hen these 1ere not 'n(erstoo() b 1riting" As recollecte( an( recor(e( b Sri Siva2ra3asam #illai) there 1ere fo'rteen 0'estions 1ith ans1ers to them given b Bhagavan" This recor( 1as first 2'blishe( b Sri #illai in 4578) along 1ith a co'2le of 2oems com2ose( b himself relating ho1 Bhagavan9s grace o2erate( in his case b (is2elling his (o'bts an( b saving him from a crisis in life" 9Who am I?9 has been 2'blishe( several times s'bse0'entl " We fin( thirt 0'estions an( ans1ers in some e(itions an( t1ent -eight in others" There is also another 2'blishe( version in 1hich the 0'estions are not given) an( the teachings are rearrange( in the form of an essa " The e:tant %nglish translation is of this essa " The 2resent ren(ering is of the te:t in the form of t1ent -eight 0'estions an( ans1ers" Along 1ith &icharasangraham (Self-%n0'ir )) Nan Yar (Who am I?) constit'tes the first set of instr'ctions in the Master9s o1n 1or(s" These t1o are the onl 2rose-2ieces among Bhagavan9s Wor3s" The clearl set forth the central teaching that the (irect 2ath to liberation is Self-en0'ir " The 2artic'lar mo(e in 1hich the en0'ir is to be ma(e is l'ci(l set forth in Nan Yar" The min( consists of tho'ghts" The 9I9 tho'ght is the first to arise in the min(" When the en0'ir 9 Who am I?9 is 2ersistentl 2'rs'e() all other tho'ghts get (estro e() an( finall the 9I9 tho'ght itself vanishes leaving the s'2reme non-('al Self alone" The false i(entification of the Self 1ith the 2henomena of non-self s'ch as the bo( an( min( th's en(s) an( there is ill'mination) Sa3shat3ara" The 2rocess of en0'ir of co'rse) is not an eas one" As one en0'ires 9Who am I?9) other tho'ghts 1ill arise; b't as these arise) one sho'l( not iel( to them b follo1ing them ) on the contrar ) one sho'l( as3 9To 1hom (o the arise ?9 In or(er to (o this) one has to be e:tremel vigilant" Thro'gh constant en0'ir one sho'l( ma3e the min( sta in its so'rce) 1itho't allo1ing it to 1an(er a1a an( get lost in the ma<es of tho'ght create( b itself" All other (isci2lines s'ch as breath-control an( me(itation on the forms of =o( sho'l( be regar(e( as a':iliar 2ractices" The are 'sef'l in so far as the hel2 the min( to become 0'iescent an( one2ointe("
+or the min( that has gaine( s3ill in concentration) Self-en0'ir becomes com2arativel eas " It is b ceaseless en0'ir that the tho'ghts are (estro e( an( the Self reali<e( - the 2lenar Realit 1hich there is not even the 9I9 tho'ght) the e:2erience 1hich is referre( to as /Silence/"
This) in s'bstance) is Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi9s teaching in Nan Yar (Who am I?)" T" M" #" MA$A!%&AN ,niversit of Ma(ras >'ne 86) 45?7 *m Namo Bhagavathe Sri Ramana a Who Am I? - (Nan Yar?) As all living beings (esire to be ha22 al1a s) 1itho't miser ) as in the case of ever one there is observe( s'2reme love for one9s self) an( as ha22iness alone is the ca'se for love) in or(er to gain that ha22iness 1hich is one9s nat're an( 1hich is e:2erience( in the state of (ee2 slee2 1here there is no min() one sho'l( 3no1 one9s self" +or that) the 2ath of 3no1le(ge) the in0'ir of the form /Who am I?/) is the 2rinci2al means" ------------------------------------------------------------------------------4 " Who am I ? The gross bo( 1hich is com2ose( of the seven h'mo'rs ((hat's)) I am not; the five cognitive sense organs) vi<" the senses of hearing) to'ch) sight) taste) an( smell) 1hich a22rehen( their res2ective ob@ects) vi<" so'n() to'ch) colo'r) taste) an( o(o'r) I am not; the five cognitive sense-organs) vi<" the organs of s2eech) locomotion) gras2ing) e:cretion) an( 2rocreation) 1hich have as their res2ective f'nctions s2ea3ing) moving) gras2ing) e:creting) an( en@o ing) I am not; the five vital airs) 2rana) etc") 1hich 2erform res2ectivel the five f'nctions of in-breathing) etc") I am not; even the min( 1hich thin3s) I am not; the nescience too) 1hich is en(o1e( onl 1ith the resi('al im2ressions of ob@ects) an( in 1hich there are no ob@ects an( no f'nctioning9s) I am not" 7" If I am none of these) then 1ho am I? After negating all of the above-mentione( as 9not this9) 9not this9) that A1areness 1hich alone remains - that I am" 8" What is the nat're of A1areness? The nat're of A1areness is e:istence-conscio'sness-bliss A" When 1ill the reali<ation of the Self be gaine(? When the 1orl( 1hich is 1hat-is-seen has been remove() there 1ill be reali<ation of the Self 1hich is the seer" B" Will there not be reali<ation of the Self even 1hile the 1orl( is there (ta3en as real)?
There 1ill not be" C" Wh ? The seer an( the ob@ect seen are li3e the ro2e an( the sna3e" >'st as the 3no1le(ge of the ro2e 1hich is the s'bstrate 1ill not arise 'nless the false 3no1le(ge of the ill'sor ser2ent goes) so the reali<ation of the Self 1hich is the s'bstrate 1ill not be gaine( 'nless the belief that the 1orl( is real is remove(" D" When 1ill the 1orl( 1hich is the ob@ect seen be remove(? When the min() 1hich is the ca'se of all cognition9s an( of all actions) becomes 0'iescent) the 1orl( 1ill (isa22ear" ?" What is the nat're of the min(? What is calle( 9min(9 is a 1on(ro's 2o1er resi(ing in the Self" It ca'ses all tho'ghts to arise" A2art from tho'ghts) there is no s'ch thing as min(" Therefore) tho'ght is the nat're of min(" A2art from tho'ghts) there is no in(e2en(ent entit calle( the 1orl(" In (ee2 slee2 there are no tho'ghts) an( there is no 1orl(" In the states of 1a3ing an( (ream) there are tho'ghts) an( there is a 1orl( also" >'st as the s2i(er emits the threa( (of the 1eb) o't of itself an( again 1ith(ra1s it into itself) li3e1ise the min( 2ro@ects the 1orl( o't of itself an( again resolves it into itself" When the min( comes o't of the Self) the 1orl( a22ears" Therefore) 1hen the 1orl( a22ears (to be real)) the Self (oes not a22ear; an( 1hen the Self a22ears (shines) the 1orl( (oes not a22ear" When one 2ersistentl in0'ires into the nat're of the min() the min( 1ill en( leaving the Self (as the resi('e)" What is referre( to as the Self is the Atman" The min( al1a s e:ists onl in (e2en(ence on something gross; it cannot sta alone" It is the min( that is calle( the s'btle bo( or the so'l (@iva)" 5" What is the 2ath of in0'ir min(? for 'n(erstan(ing the nat're of the
That 1hich rises as 9I9 in this bo( is the min(" If one in0'ires as to 1here in the bo( the tho'ght 9I9 rises first) one 1o'l( (iscover that it rises in the heart" That is the 2lace of the min(9s origin" %ven if one thin3s constantl 9I9 9I9) one 1ill be le( to that 2lace" *f all the tho'ghts that arise in the min() the 9I9 tho'ght is the first" It is onl after the rise of this that the other tho'ghts arise" It is after the a22earance of the first 2ersonal 2rono'n that the secon( an( thir( 2ersonal 2rono'ns a22ear; 1itho't the first 2ersonal 2rono'n there 1ill not be the secon( an( thir(" 46" $o1 1ill the min( become 0'iescent? B the in0'ir 9Who am I?9" The tho'ght 91ho am I?9 1ill (estro all other tho'ghts) an( li3e the stic3 'se( for stirring the b'rning 2 re) it 1ill itself in the en( get (estro e(" Then) there 1ill arise Selfreali<ation" 44" What is the means for constantl I?9 hol(ing on to the tho'ght 9Who am
When other tho'ghts arise) one sho'l( not 2'rs'e them) b't sho'l( in0'ireE 9To 1hom (o the arise?9 It (oes not matter ho1 man tho'ghts arise" As each tho'ght arises) one sho'l( in0'ire 1ith (iligence) /To 1hom has this tho'ght arisen?/" The ans1er that 1o'l( emerge 1o'l( be
/To me/" There'2on if one in0'ires /Who am I?/) the min( 1ill go bac3 to its so'rce; an( the tho'ght that arose 1ill become 0'iescent" With re2eate( 2ractice in this manner) the min( 1ill (evelo2 the s3ill to sta in its so'rce" When the min( that is s'btle goes o't thro'gh the brain an( the sense-organs) the gross names an( forms a22ear; 1hen it sta s in the heart) the names an( forms (isa22ear" Not letting the min( go o't) b't retaining it in the $eart is 1hat is calle( /in1ar(ness/ (antar-m'3ha)" -etting the min( go o't of the $eart is 3no1n as /e:ternalisation/ (bahir-m'3ha)" Th's) 1hen the min( sta s in the $eart) the 9I9 1hich is the so'rce of all tho'ghts 1ill go) an( the Self 1hich ever e:ists 1ill shine" Whatever one (oes) one sho'l( (o 1itho't the egoit /I/" If one acts in that 1a ) all 1ill a22ear as of the nat're of Siva (=o()" 47" Are there no other means for ma3ing the min( 0'iescent? *ther than in0'ir ) there are no a(e0'ate means" If thro'gh other means it is so'ght to control the min() the min( 1ill a22ear to be controlle() b't 1ill again go forth" Thro'gh the control of breath also) the min( 1ill become 0'iescent; b't it 1ill be 0'iescent onl so long as the breath remains controlle() an( 1hen the breath res'mes the min( also 1ill again start moving an( 1ill 1an(er as im2elle( b resi('al im2ressions" The so'rce is the same for both min( an( breath" Tho'ght) in(ee() is the nat're of the min(" The tho'ght /I/ is the first tho'ght of the min(; an( that is egoit " It is from that 1hence egoit originates that breath also originates" Therefore) 1hen the min( becomes 0'iescent) the breath is controlle() an( 1hen the breath is controlle( the min( becomes 0'iescent" B't in (ee2 slee2) altho'gh the min( becomes 0'iescent) the breath (oes not sto2" This is beca'se of the 1ill of =o() so that the bo( ma be 2reserve( an( other 2eo2le ma not be 'n(er the im2ression that it is (ea(" In the state of 1a3ing an( in sama(hi) 1hen the min( becomes 0'iescent the breath is controlle(" Breath is the gross form of min(" Till the time of (eath) the min( 3ee2s breath in the bo( ; an( 1hen the bo( (ies the min( ta3es the breath along 1ith it" Therefore) the e:ercise of breath-control is onl an ai( for ren(ering the min( 0'iescent (manonigraha); it 1ill not (estro the min( (manonasa)" -i3e the 2ractice of breath-control" me(itation on the forms of =o() re2etition of mantras) restriction on foo() etc") are b't ai(s for ren(ering the min( 0'iescent" Thro'gh me(itation on the forms of =o( an( thro'gh re2etition of mantras) the min( becomes one-2ointe(" The min( 1ill al1a s be 1an(ering" >'st as 1hen a chain is given to an ele2hant to hol( in its tr'n3 it 1ill go along gras2ing the chain an( nothing else) so also 1hen the min( is occ'2ie( 1ith a name or form it 1ill gras2 that alone" When the min( e:2an(s in the form of co'ntless tho'ghts) each tho'ght becomes 1ea3; b't as tho'ghts get resolve( the min( becomes one-2ointe( an( strong; for s'ch a min( Self-in0'ir 1ill become eas " *f all the restrictive r'les) that relating to the ta3ing of sattvic foo( in mo(erate 0'antities is the best; b observing this r'le) the sattvic 0'alit of min( 1ill increase) an( that 1ill be hel2f'l to Selfin0'ir " 48" The resi('al im2ressions (tho'ghts) of ob@ects a22ear 1en(ing li3e the 1aves of an ocean" When 1ill all of them get (estro e(? As the me(itation on the Self rises higher an( higher) the tho'ghts 1ill get (estro e("
4A" Is it 2ossible for the resi('al im2ressions of ob@ects that come from beginningless time) as it 1ere) to be resolve() an( for one to remain as the 2're Self? Witho't iel(ing to the (o'bt /Is it 2ossible) or not?/) one sho'l( 2ersistentl hol( on to the me(itation on the Self" %ven if one be a great sinner) one sho'l( not 1orr an( 1ee2 /*F I am a sinner) ho1 can I be save(?/; one sho'l( com2letel reno'nce the tho'ght /I am a sinner/; an( concentrate 3eenl on me(itation on the Self; then) one 1o'l( s'rel s'ccee(" There are not t1o min(s - one goo( an( the other evil; the min( is onl one" It is the resi('al im2ressions that are of t1o 3in(s - a's2icio's an( ina's2icio's" When the min( is 'n(er the infl'ence of a's2icio's im2ressions it is calle( goo(; an( 1hen it is 'n(er the infl'ence of ina's2icio's im2ressions it is regar(e( as evil" The min( sho'l( not be allo1e( to 1an(er to1ar(s 1orl(l ob@ects an( 1hat concerns other 2eo2le" $o1ever ba( other 2eo2le ma be) one sho'l( bear no hatre( for them" Both (esire an( hatre( sho'l( be esche1e(" All that one gives to others one gives to one9s self" If this tr'th is 'n(erstoo( 1ho 1ill not give to others? When one9s self arises all arises; 1hen one9s self becomes 0'iescent all becomes 0'iescent" To the e:tent 1e behave 1ith h'milit ) to that e:tent there 1ill res'lt goo(" If the min( is ren(ere( 0'iescent) one ma live an 1here" 4B" $o1 long sho'l( in0'ir be 2ractise(?
As long as there are im2ressions of ob@ects in the min() so long the in0'ir /Who am I?/ is re0'ire(" As tho'ghts arise the sho'l( be (estro e( then an( there in the ver 2lace of their origin) thro'gh in0'ir " If one resorts to contem2lation of the Self 'nintermittentl ) 'ntil the Self is gaine() that alone 1o'l( (o" As long as there are enemies 1ithin the fortress) the 1ill contin'e to sall forth; if the are (estro e( as the emerge) the fortress 1ill fall into o'r han(s" 4C" What is the nat're of the Self? What e:ists in tr'th is the Self alone" The 1orl() the in(ivi('al so'l) an( =o( are a22earances in it" li3e silver in mother-of-2earl) these three a22ear at the same time) an( (isa22ear at the same time" The Self is that 1here there is absol'tel no /I/ tho'ght" That is calle( /Silence/" The Self itself is the 1orl(; the Self itself is /I/; the Self itself is =o(; all is Siva) the Self" 4D" Is not ever thing the 1or3 of =o(? Witho't (esire) resolve) or effort) the s'n rises; an( in its mere 2resence) the s'n-stone emits fire) the lot's blooms) 1ater eva2orates; 2eo2le 2erform their vario's f'nctions an( then rest" >'st as in the 2resence of the magnet the nee(le moves) it is b virt'e of the mere 2resence of =o( that the so'ls governe( b the three (cosmic) f'nctions or the fivefol( (ivine activit 2erform their actions an( then rest) in accor(ance 1ith their res2ective 3armas" =o( has no resolve; no 3arma attaches itself to $im" That is li3e 1orl(l actions not affecting the s'n) or li3e the merits an( (emerits of the other fo'r elements not affecting all 2erva(ing s2ace" 4?" *f the (evotees) 1ho is the greatest? $e 1ho gives himself '2 to the Self that is =o( is the most e:cellent (evotee" =iving one9s self '2 to =o( means remaining constantl in the Self 1itho't giving room for the rise of an tho'ghts other than that
of the Self" Whatever b'r(ens are thro1n on =o() $e bears them" Since the s'2reme 2o1er of =o( ma3es all things move) 1h sho'l( 1e) 1itho't s'bmitting o'rselves to it) constantl 1orr o'rselves 1ith tho'ghts as to 1hat sho'l( be (one an( ho1) an( 1hat sho'l( not be (one an( ho1 not? We 3no1 that the train carries all loa(s) so after getting on it 1h sho'l( 1e carr o'r small l'ggage on o'r hea( to o'r (iscomfort) instea( of 2'tting it (o1n in the train an( feeling at ease? 45" What is non-attachment? As tho'ghts arise) (estro ing them 'tterl 1itho't an resi('e in the ver 2lace of their origin is non-attachment" >'st as the 2earl-(iver ties a stone to his 1aist) sin3s to the bottom of the sea an( there ta3es the 2earls) so each one of 's sho'l( be en(o1e( 1ith nonattachment) (ive 1ithin oneself an( obtain the Self-#earl" 76" Is it not 2ossible for =o( an( the ='r' to effect the release of a so'l? =o( an( the ='r' 1ill onl sho1 the 1a to release; the 1ill not b themselves ta3e the so'l to the state of release" In tr'th) =o( an( the ='r' are not (ifferent" >'st as the 2re 1hich has fallen into the @a1s of a tiger has no esca2e) so those 1ho have come 1ithin the ambit of the ='r'9s gracio's loo3 1ill be save( b the ='r' an( 1ill not get lost; et) each one sho'l( b his o1n effort 2'rs'e the 2ath sho1n b =o( or ='r' an( gain release" *ne can 3no1 oneself onl 1ith one9s o1n e e of 3no1le(ge) an( not 1ith somebo( else9s" !oes he 1ho is Rama re0'ire the hel2 of a mirror to 3no1 that he is Rama? 74" Is it necessar for one 1ho longs for release to in0'ire into the nat're of categories (tattvas)? >'st as one 1ho 1ants to thro1 a1a garbage has no nee( to anal se it an( see 1hat it is) so one 1ho 1ants to 3no1 the Self has no nee( to co'nt the n'mber of categories or in0'ire into their characteristics; 1hat he has to (o is to re@ect altogether the categories that hi(e the Self" The 1orl( sho'l( be consi(ere( li3e a (ream" 77" Is there no (ifference bet1een 1a3ing an( (ream? Wa3ing is long an( a (ream short; other than this there is no (ifference" >'st as 1a3ing ha22enings seem real 1hile a1a3e" so (o those in a (ream 1hile (reaming" In (ream the min( ta3es on another bo( " In both 1a3ing an( (ream states tho'ghts" names an( forms occ'r sim'ltaneo'sl " 78" Is it an 'se rea(ing boo3s for those 1ho long for release?
All the te:ts sa that in or(er to gain release one sho'l( ren(er the min( 0'iescent; therefore their concl'sive teaching is that the min( sho'l( be ren(ere( 0'iescent; once this has been 'n(erstoo( there is no nee( for en(less rea(ing" In or(er to 0'ieten the min( one has onl to in0'ire 1ithin oneself 1hat one9s Self is; ho1 co'l( this search be (one in boo3s? *ne sho'l( 3no1 one9s Self 1ith one9s o1n e e of 1is(om" The Self is 1ithin the five sheaths; b't boo3s are o'tsi(e them" Since the Self has to be in0'ire( into b (iscar(ing the five sheaths) it is f'tile to search for it in boo3s" There 1ill come a time 1hen one 1ill have to forget all that one has learne(" 7A" What is ha22iness?
$a22iness is the ver nat're of the Self; ha22iness an( the Self are not (ifferent" There is no ha22iness in an ob@ect of the 1orl(" We imagine thro'gh o'r ignorance that 1e (erive ha22iness from ob@ects" When the min( goes o't) it e:2eriences miser " In tr'th) 1hen its (esires are f'lfille() it ret'rns to its o1n 2lace an( en@o s the ha22iness that is the Self" Similarl ) in the states of slee2) sama(hi an( fainting) an( 1hen the ob@ect (esire( is obtaine( or the ob@ect (isli3e( is remove() the min( becomes in1ar(-t'rne() an( en@o s 2're Self-$a22iness" Th's the min( moves 1itho't rest alternatel going o't of the Self an( ret'rning to it" ,n(er the tree the sha(e is 2leasant; o't in the o2en the heat is scorching" A 2erson 1ho has been going abo't in the s'n feels cool 1hen he reaches the sha(e" Someone 1ho 3ee2s on going from the sha(e into the s'n an( then bac3 into the sha(e is a fool" A 1ise man sta s 2ermanentl in the sha(e" Similarl ) the min( of the one 1ho 3no1s the tr'th (oes not leave Brahman" The min( of the ignorant) on the contrar ) revolves in the 1orl() feeling miserable) an( for a little time ret'rns to Brahman to e:2erience ha22iness" In fact) 1hat is calle( the 1orl( is onl tho'ght" When the 1orl( (isa22ears) i"e" 1hen there is no tho'ght) the min( e:2eriences ha22iness; an( 1hen the 1orl( a22ears) it goes thro'gh miser " 7B" What is 1is(om-insight (@nana-(rsti)? Remaining 0'iet is 1hat is calle( 1is(om-insight" To remain 0'iet is to resolve the min( in the Self" Tele2ath ) 3no1ing 2ast) 2resent an( f't're ha22enings an( clairvo ance (o not constit'te 1is(om-insight" 7C" What is the relation bet1een (esirelessness an( 1is(om? !esirelessness is 1is(om" The t1o are not !esirelessness is refraining from t'rning Wis(om means the a22earance of no ob@ect" 1hat is other than the Self is (etachment leaving the Self is 1is(om" 7D" What is the (ifference bet1een in0'ir (ifferent; the are the same" the min( to1ar(s an ob@ect" In other 1or(s) not see3ing or (esirelessness; not an( me(itation?
In0'ir consists in retaining the min( in the Self" Me(itation consists in thin3ing that one9s self is Brahman) e:istence-conscio'sness-bliss" 7?" What is release? In0'iring into the nat're of one9s self that is in bon(age) an( realising one9s tr'e nat're is release" SRI RAMANAR#ANAM AST,