What is Liberation
Is not the sense of ‘I’ natural to all beings, expressed in all their feelings as ‘I came’, ‘I went’, ‘I did’, or ‘I was’? On questioning what this is, we find that the body is identified with ‘I’ because movements and similar functions pertain to the body. Can the body then be this ‘I-consciousness’? It was not there before birth, it is composed of the five elements, it is absent in sleep, and it (eventually) becomes a corpse. No, it cannot be.
This sense of ‘I’, which arises in the body for the time being, is otherwise called the ego, ignorance, illusion, impurity, or individual self. The purpose of all the scriptures is this enquiry (into the Self). It is declared in them that the annihilation of the ego-sense is Liberation. How then can one remain indifferent to this teaching?
Can the body, which is insentient as a piece of wood, shine and function as ‘I’? No. Therefore, lay aside this insentient body as though it were truly a corpse. Do not even murmur ‘I’, but enquire keenly within what it is that now shines within the heart as ‘I’. Underlying the unceasing flow of varied thoughts, there arises the continuous, unbroken awareness, silent and spontaneous, as ‘I-I’ in the Heart. If one catches hold of it and remains still, it will completely annihilate the sense of ‘I’ in the body, and will itself disappear as a fire of burning camphor. Sages and scriptures proclaim this to be Liberation.
Sri Ramana Maharshi
Words of Grace
Who Am I ?