Vichara [Self-Inquiry]

Q.: How will the mind become quiescent? 

A.: By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’. The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization. 

 (from Ramana Maharshi's "Who Am I?"

Mind alone is the cause of bondage and liberation. A mind devoted to the world of objects is bound while a mind that is not devoted to the world of objects is liberated. Vichara reveals the ever present substrate upon which the mind relies. Since, in truth, there is no answer to the question, any answer the mind concocts provides fodder for further Enquiry. The path is therefore clear.   

"If once vichara takes root, the highest good has, for all practical purposes, been reached in this life. As long as vichara is absent from a human being, the most desirable form of birth, so long is the tree of life barren and therefore useless. The only useful fruit of life is vichara."  

(Tripura Rahasya chapter 2 - Sri Ramanasramam, 2006)

For more on the path of Self-enquiry - Vichara Marga/Vichara Blog 

Books to aid the practice of vichara? - Vichara Books

 "I am the Self, O Gudakesa, dwelling in the Heart of all beings, I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings." (Bhagavad Gita)