I had an inquisitive mind, just like that of you. To satisfy this mind, I read so many things: books, religious scriptures, research papers, wise sayings, commentaries etc. It seemed that the more I read the more I got farther from the real knowledge. Reading seemed to be an endless trap. So at some point I had to cut down my readings significantly. Still, I couldn’t avoid the spiritual books — they kept coming in my sight. But this book seemed to be the last one.
With the authority of my knowledge and experience, I am saying that this book is a ‘complete’ book that contains the ‘wholeness’ of knowledge itself. It is very short, about 16 pages and it is perhaps also one of the cheapest book you will find. But still, it contains everything. It has answers to all the questions of your mind. It contains the distilled form of the universal knowledge or absolute truth. But it is also true that it may take life long to really understand it.
The book is titled ‘Who am I‘. There cannot be any better title. Because the question who am I is a question everyone must ask in life. But the material world or “maya” is so powerful that it drags our attention outwards and don’t let us ask this question.
There are several versions of the book, some short and some little long having 14 to 30 questions. The book contains the answers given by Ramana Maharishi to Sri M. Sivaprakasam Pillai on some of the intriguing questions of life. Mr. Pillai was an employee of the then British government in India. Maharishi had originally answered most questions with gestures with a few in writing when necessary (in Tamil).
I say there is no need to read other books if you read this book. It precisely tells who you are and what is your purpose. It tells you about the source of creation and the nature of existence. It tells what is happiness and what is the real nature of happiness. Although the book tells us the truth, the book emphasizes that the truth must be realized and not to be believed. The book teaches a simple but difficult approach of self realization; the path of ‘self-enquiry’. Self-enquiry is a process of turning inward and asking the question ‘who am I’ using our intellect. According to Maharishi, when we do so, all the illusions including mind (thoughts), ego, and sufferings will be gone and the real self will emerge which is our true nature.
According to the book, happiness is the original nature of the self. The exact nature of the self is ‘existence-consciousness-bliss’. These are the only three qualities of the self. First you exist as the self. The self has the consciousness through which it knows that it exists. When we realize our real self, we become ecstatic in bliss or happiness. When the mind turns inward and gets fixed at the heart for a period of time, you realize the happiness of the self. This happiness is very different than the happiness experienced in the material world through the sensory organs.
So if you are fed up reading, this is the book that is waiting for you. Hopefully, it will be the last one for you too. Really, there is nothing more to know other than what is said in this book.