Who Am I?
30th December 1879 is the birthday of the Hindu sage Ramana Maharishi, revered as an enlightened being world-wide.
He left his home aged 17 after he had a vision of death where he identified a “Self” or “I” which was neither the body nor the senses but a state of unintermittent self-awareness. Thereafter, he became a sannyasin at the holy hill Arunachala, Tamil Nadu. He began teaching self-enquiry as the path to liberation. He suggested seekers pay constant attention to the “I” to reach a state of effortless self-awareness where the ego evaporates. His method of self-enquiry comprises of questioning “who am I” within, till one arrives at the true nature of Self, which is Awareness.
He was of the view that meditation at specific hours of the day is good for beginners but self-enquiry should be a continuum throughout one’s waking hours. He discouraged renunciation of family or work in favour of a monk’s life of meditation. He emphasized that the path of self-enquiry can be blended with day to day life.
Osho has spoken on Raman Maharishi in His discourses. Osho says Raman Maharishi 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. So, whenever anybody asked him – What are we supposed to do? – he had only one answer his whole life: Meditate on “Who am I?” Just by watching; a moment comes when all thinking disappears. As your watchfulness grows, the mind disappears. And the disappearance of the mind is the beginning of knowing your Self. This is the highest peak of consciousness, and unless a man achieves it, he has wasted his life in trivia.
I would like my sannyasins neither to be negative nor to be positive, but open, available, with a quest, a question mark, and to go on searching. Many times, your mind will say it is good to ‘believe’ – because the journey is arduous, and one never knows where one is going, whether one is going to find anything or not. But don’t listen to the mind. Mind has created all these “yes” philosophies, “no” philosophies.
Doubt has never created any Philosophy; Doubt has created Science. And Doubt is going to create Religion.
They are exactly the same – the same application of doubt in different fields. About objects, the outside world that spreads to millions of stars, doubt has given tremendous insight just within 300 years. You are carrying another world within yourself, which is in no way smaller than the world you see outside; perhaps it is bigger. Why do I say that perhaps it is bigger? I am including the word `perhaps’ so that you should not believe. I know it is bigger, for the simple reason that you know the stars, you know the sun, you know the moon – but the moon does not know you, the sun does not know you. The stars are great, the universe is vast, but you are the only knower. You have something more than the whole universe.
That’s why I say inside you are carrying something bigger than the universe, more than the universe. Just inquire!
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 17 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 3 words, because those 3 words had revealed to him the whole mystery of existence. His philosophy is the shortest. What are those 3 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. Not that you will find the answer written somewhere; you will find your Self.
You just go on digging with this question.
This question is like digging – but do you see the question? It is a doubt: Who am I? It does not accept the spiritualist who says you are a soul. It does not accept the materialist who says there is nobody, don’t waste time; eat, drink and be merry. He doubts. Those three words are followed by a question mark: Who am I? And he says this is enough.
If you can go on and on and on patiently, one day the question suddenly disappears and what is left is your reality. That is the answer. And the moment you know your Self, you have known everything that is worth knowing.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Rajneesh Mandir, Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, USA.
From Death to Deathlessness
Chapter title: Blessed are those who doubt
29 August 1985 am in Rajneesh Mandir
Osho has spoken on Mystics like Dadu, Daya, Farid, Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Kabir, Lalla, Magdalen, Mallibai, Meera, Nanak, Patanjali, Rabiya, Raman Maharishi, Rumi, Sahajo, Sai Baba, Saraha, Socrates, Teresa, Tilopa, Valmiki, Zarathustra and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses: