This article was transcribed from a satsang talk. The author was a direct disciple of Sri Ramana Maharshi.
SOME PEOPLE WRITE ME LETTERS in regard to the procedure of atma-vichara, self-enquiry. Many people make the same erroneous point in their teaching, in their meditation. They make a mistake. The mistake they make in atma-vichara — self-enquiry — is this:
They meditate on the I-thought.
To meditate on the I-thought is like meditating on your body. It improves the ego. It makes the ego stronger. And as you realize, you’re trying to kill the ego, not make it stronger.
What you’re supposed to do is to follow the I-thought to the source.
Follow it, not meditate on it.
Self-enquiry has nothing to do with meditation [on the I-thought]. When you meditate you meditate on the source which is God, the Self, consciousness. You may spend many hours meditating on the source — this is all good — but never meditate on the I-thought. The I-thought is a process that you follow from the brain back to the heart and the source is the spiritual heart which is the Self, consciousness.
There is always a tendency when you are following the I-thought to keep thinking of the I-thought. Remember you do not do this. The I-thought has to be destroyed. The I-thought, the personal self, the ego, the mind are all synonymous. They really do not exist. Therefore when you meditate upon them you’re meditating on something that does not exist and you’re increasing the maya.
This is why you should never think of your problems or meditate on your troubles if you have any. For you are increasing them. You’re making them stronger and stronger as you think about them. You want to think only of the source. Only on God.
Photo of Furumine Shrine, Tochigi, by Ippei & Janine Naoi.
By Sri Ramana Maharshi
Edited by Arthur Osborne
This book is the best available anthology of Ramana’s writings, and it’s indispensable for people who want to understand his teachings. Published by his ashram, it contains almost everything he wrote including instruction manuals, poems, and translations of classic works.
There are other Ramana anthologies produced by editors and publishers who know next to nothing about Ramana. Get this one instead.
This page was published on March 6, 2019 and last revised on February 22, 2020.