While I prefer not to speak too much on those teachers I have not physically met, Ramana Maharshi's influence on my understanding, as well as his direct connection with some of my teachers, insists that this page appears. Ramana Maharshi, known as Bhagavan, constructed a system for self realisation based on remembering one thought 'Who am I'. Asserting that the manifested world arose from this one 'I thought' he taught that gradually this 'I thought' would replace all other thoughts, then, detached from the manifested world and thereby deprived of its support, sink back into the Self from where it had arisen. When the 'I thought' disappeared the True Self would be revealed. Occuring intermittently at first, this would stabilise over time until, possibly decades later, the condition would become permanent and Self realisation would be complete.
Ramana Maharshi speaks:
Body. "People identify themselves with the body which is insentient and does not itself say 'I am the body'. Who does? A spurious I arises between the Real Self and the insentient body, and imagines itself to be limited to the body. This phantom is the ego, the superficial mind, or the individuality. Its dissolution is the goal and nothing else."
Intellect. "Intellect (superficial mind) is of no use at all for seeing within, for turning towards the Self. For that it has to be killed or extinguished, or in other words it has to merge in the source from which it sprang."
Devotion. "Until the mind becomes established in itself, some kind of devotion (contemplation of a personified god or goddess with deep love) is essential, otherwise the mind will be assailed by thoughts or by sleep. The method of enquiring into oneself should be practised as soon as the mental strength, which is the result of such worship, is attained."
Self. "You are the Self even now, but you confuse your present superficial consciousness or ego with the Absolute Consciousness or Self. This false identification is due to ignorance and ignorance dissapears together with the ego. Killing the ego is the only thing to be done. Realisation already exists."
Consciousness. "How do the triple factors which are absent in deep sleep manifest themselves? From the Self there arise in succession: Reflected consciousness, which is a kind of luminosity; Individual consciousness; The external world."
Grace. "You imagine grace to be something high up in the sky which has to descend, but really it is inside you, in your heart, and the moment you effect the subsidence or merging of the mind into its source, by whatever method, the grace rushes forth, sprouting as from a spring within you."
Renounciation. "One may leave the village for the forest but one cannot leave yourself. The one who acts in the world but does not feel he is the actor, is superior to one who feels he has renounced wordly things."
Meditation. "Setting apart time for meditation is only for the spiritual beginner. A person who is advancing enjoys the deeper state whether they are busy or at rest. While their hands are in society, their deeper self remains aloof."
Silence. "There are different kinds of silence. In the persuit of inner silence one should not enter laya [tempory suspension of mental faculties]. If you remain in this [trance like] state no benefit will come to you. A complete absence of thoughts does not mean that one is experiencing the true silence of the Self. If there is a sense of freshness and clarity [of perception and understanding] in the silence, if one feels joyful and utterly peaceful, this is more likely to be the real silence."
Effort. "So long as the ego lasts, effort is necessary. No one succeeds without effort. The few who do succeed owe their success to their perseverance."
Realising the Beyond. "To the extent that the mind has become pure, one realises that which is beyond the mind."
Beyond. "Your effort can extend only so far. Then the Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach it."
Levels. "To which of the 7 stages does the realised Sage belong? He belonds to the fourth stage. What is the reason why all realised Sages do not attain the 7th stage? This is not to be attained by mere desire or effort. Karma is its cause. As the ego dies along with its cause even in the fourth stage, what agent is there to desire anything or make efforts."