Raman Maharishi

“One of the most beautiful men of this century was Maharishi Raman. He was a simple man, uneducated, but he did not accept the ideology, the religion in which he was born. When he was only seventeen years of age he left his home in search of truth. He meditated for many years in the hills of Arunachal in south India, and finally realized himself.

After that his whole teaching consisted only of three words, because those three words had revealed to him the whole mystery of existence. His philosophy is the shortest. What are those three words? Whoever came to him — because as he became slowly slowly known, people started coming to him from all over the world — his whole teaching was to sit silently and ask only one question: “Who am I?” and go on asking that question.

One day the question will disappear, and only you will be there. That is the answer.”
– From Death to Deathlessness, Chapter #24

“There are many people who have followed Maharishi Raman. His teaching was very simple — he was a simple man, uneducated, not learned. He had escaped from his home when he was only seventeen. He escaped because his father died. When the whole family was weeping and crying, and the neighbors were preparing to take the dead body to the funeral pyre, nobody noticed that Raman had disappeared.
The experience of the death of his father became a tremendous revolution in Raman’s mind. He was only seventeen, the only son of a poor family, and he escaped to the mountains. He remained his whole life on the mountain of Arunachal where he did nothing but just sit and watch inside. He never asked anybody anything. He had no master, he had nobody to guide him, but just sitting silently watching his own mind, he transcended his mind and he came to know himself.

And by knowing himself he came to know the ultimate bliss — the ecstasy that surrounded Gautam Buddha, the enlightenment that was radiating from Mahavira, the joy, the dance of all those who have awakened. So whoever was asking him, “What are we supposed to do?” he had only one answer his whole life: “Meditate on `Who am I?'”
– The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here, Chapter #5

“Maharishi Raman attained to enlightenment through death. He was only seventeen or eighteen and suddenly he felt he was dying. He was doing meditations; he must have unknowingly hit his hara. He was so absorbed in his meditation that he had left home and escaped and was sitting near a temple. The temple was dirty as indian temples are; there were flies and dogs everywhere. He was sitting there, hungry for many days, and all over his body were flies. Dogs were barking and children playing nearby — the indian village scene.

And then suddenly he felt that he was dying, but he accepted it. It was okay: if one was dying, one was dying. He relaxed into death; his body fell down. A crowd gathered and they thought that this boy was dead. And what was happening inside was of tremendous value, ultimate value. Ramana saw his body disappearing. That’s where you came very close to. But he accepted and you rejected. Then he saw his mind disappearing — but he accepted it. And then a smile came over his face. The body disappeared, the mind disappeared and he was still there! Nothing had died! So he opened his eyes and laughed!”
– Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There, Chapter #2