Om Namah Shivaya – What Does the Mantra Mean and What Effect Does it Have?February 9, 2024
“Of the four human goals, namely Dharma (धर्म virtuous and harmonious living), Artha (अर्थ material prosperity), Kama (काम desires, inclinations, including sexual attraction), and Moksha (मोक्ष liberation), liberation is the most important.” There are several Vedantic books in the languages of Sanskrit and Prakrit that describe this liberation, which signifies the end of suffering and the attainment of bliss. This passage is the introductory sentence of the booklet “Jewel Garland of Enquiry”. Why this liberation is so important and how one can attain it? That’s what Atma Vichara is about.
Atma Vichara – Ancient Knowledge rediscovered
In ancient scriptures, various paths have been laid out on how this liberation can be attained. Self-inquiry has long been considered the most difficult of them all. It is considered a merit of Sri Ramana Maharshi to show that it is essentially the simplest, the most direct of these paths. Nobody knew how to apply self-inquiry correctly. This self-inquiry, Atma Vichara (आत्म विचार), is the subject of this article.
Various Terms/Translations for Atma Vichara
This simplest method to realize the true Self has been translated differently. In the English language, books published by the Ramana Ashram refer to it as ‘enquiry’. This is translated as investigation, research, or inquiry. Accordingly, terms such as self-exploration, self-discovery, self-examination are in circulation for Atma Vichara. The Advaita master Madhukar already used the term “self-inquiry” at the end of the nineties, which was also adopted by various authors. You will also find this term here in the blog and on the website and especially in the books by Madhukar. He always emphasizes that it is not about mere investigation (which could be continued endlessly), but about delving into the Self. Therefore, for him, ‘self-inquiry’ is the most fitting translation, whereas others use ‘enquiry’.
Atma Vichara Pronunciation
The correct pronunciation of “Atma Vichara” is of interest to many people, especially those who are engaged in spiritual practices. The pronunciation may vary depending on the language background, but generally, it can be pronounced as follows:
“Atma” is pronounced as “Aht-mah”, with an “a” as in the word “about”, and the emphasis on the first syllable.
“Vichara” is pronounced as “Vih-chah-rah”, with the emphasis on the second syllable.
Combined, the correct pronunciation of “Atma Vichara” would sound something like “Aht-mah vih-chah-rah”.
It is important to note that correct pronunciation in spiritual practices is often significant, as the vibrations of words can influence the energy and focus of the practitioner. By correctly pronouncing “Atma Vichara”, you can establish a deeper connection to this spiritual practice and deepen your spiritual journey.
Definition of Atma Vichara
Atma Vichara is an ancient spiritual practice that is widespread in Hinduism and other Eastern philosophies, found in all scriptures. The words “Atma” and “Vichara” come from Sanskrit and mean “Self” and “Inquiry” or “Reflection,” respectively. Together, Atma Vichara literally means “Self-inquiry” or “Reflection on the Self,” as I describe it here in the blog, along with Madhukar and other experts.
Atma Vichara is a powerful method of self-inquiry and self-realization that can help recognize consciousness and realize the true nature of the Self. By familiarizing oneself with the correct application of “Atma Vichara,” one can leave all spiritual paths behind with one step and attain realisation, or at least, a deeper understanding of the Self.
Atma Vichara as a PDF – Make use of the Pragmatic Approach of Self-Inquiry!
Are you seeking a deeper understanding of yourself and wanting to take a step further on your spiritual journey? The ancient practice of self-inquiry might be exactly what you’re looking for.
In the free PDF “Self-Inquiry: A Guide to Self-Reflection,” I will guide you through the basics of this effective practice and share practical tips and instructions on how to integrate self-inquiry into your daily life. The PDF provides:
- An introduction to the significance of self-inquiry and its historical relevance in Eastern spirituality.
- Step-by-step instructions for conducting self-inquiry meditations and self-reflection.
- Inspiring quotes and wisdom from the tradition of Sri Ramana Maharshi to deepen and support your practice.
- Recommendations on how to integrate self-inquiry into your daily life to live a free, happy life.
Download your free copy now to enrich your spiritual journey with self-inquiry and discover the beauty of self-inquiry. Take the first step on your journey to self-realization and explore the infinite possibilities of this effective tool.
Are you ready to deepen your spiritual journey? Download our free PDF “Self-Inquiry: A Guide to Self-inquiry” now and be inspired by the power of self-inquiry.
Download your PDF here <= download practical application for self-inquiry here
Quotes from Ramana Maharshi on self-inquiry
“Only he who has attained the state of freedom is one who is liberated in life (jivanmukta) and not he who has only a theoretical understanding of the goal of life and human endeavor.” Ramana Maharshi in Collected Works, page 224
Shankara emphasizes [in the scriptures] that one’s own individual effort is an essential factor for the realization of the bliss of liberation. Pure bookishness does not produce this happiness. It can only be realized through self-inquiry. Ramana Maharshi in Collected Works, page 222
“If one asks: “What is the final liberation: with form, without form, or with both?”, I answer: “Liberation is the annihilation of the ego that asks such questions.” Ramana Maharshi in Collected Works, page 137
“When an ego arises, all things arise with it. If there is no ego, there is nothing else. Since the ego is everything, the question: “What is this ego?” means the annihilation of all things. Ramana Maharshi in Collected Works, page 135
“How can one see God? To see him is to be absorbed by him.” Ramana Maharshi in Collected Works, page 134
“Is there any other means of quieting the mind? Apart from inquiring, there is no suitable means.” Ramana Maharshi in Collected Works, page 51
In the PDF you will find even more quotes on self-inquiry.
So what is the impact of Atma Vichara on your spiritual journey? If you do it right, your journey will be fulfilled.
Ramana Maharshi, Collected Works, Sri Ramanaasramam
Hi, I am Shivani
blogger and podcaster at Madhukar Enlighten Life. I have known Madhukar since 2004 and do what I can to ensure that his effective message of happiness is reaching many people.