There was a great yogi who was born at the end of the last century and died, I believe, in the beginning of the 1950's, one of the greatest, the like of whom is born once in 500 years. His name was Ramana Maharshi [1879-1950]. There are books about him even here [at the Meditation Center]. He was a man who at the age of thirteen said to himself, "Now what they say, death, death, death, what is this death? Let me see what it feels like, dying." And he laid down in his room and died to himself, came back to his body and fell down. At age sixteen he left his family, went and sat down in the corridor of the great temple – sat there: "I shall sit here until the Self is found." He sat. Somebody put food in his mouth, and he ate it. If somebody did not put food in his mouth, he did not eat.
There comes a time in your life when the comforts and discomforts of this little body are so relative that you don't count them much. There's something else much more valuable – something to seek after. The body is not you. This body is important. It's an important tool. Maintain it. Exercise it. Use good diet. Keep a regular life. Be healthy. Keep it as wrinkle-free as possible by not worrying. Yes, it's a good tool. But this body is not you.
When you lie down in the state of deep relaxation, sometimes, sometimes, even for a beginner, even for a complete beginner, there comes a time that you are not aware of the body but you are conscious! You're not in a coma. And if you're not aware of the body and you're conscious, then what are you conscious of? Who is that "one" who, without being conscious of the body, remains conscious – and of what? That understanding is meditation. That is the secret! Keep talking about it, it becomes more and more and more of a secret. Shut your mouth, get there, then it's no longer a secret.
That man, Ramana Maharshi, his only meditation to the people when he taught them: "Ask yourself simply the question 'Who am I? Who am I?'" All right. Now when you ask this question say, "All right. Who is asking the question? Where is the question coming from?" He said, "Go to that one inside you. Find out where the question is coming from." Does the mouth open up by itself, and then the tongue decides to move – "Who am I?" No. Well, it comes from somewhere. Brain? Brain cells? How many brain cells are involved in saying the question "Who am I"? Who coordinates them all to ask that question? The millions of brain cells involved in your asking the question, "Who am I"? – Who decides to coordinate all of those cells to ask the question, "Who am I?"
Go inside yourself and ask, "Who am I?" This is the greatest question in the universe. The scientists are busy solving the mystery of what this universe is, but the yogi asks the question, "Who am I?" and that is what meditation is all about. If your meditation is only for relaxing a few tensions that have arisen during the day, you're not going to meditate too long. You'll do it for a few days, a month or two and say, "I can relax in the spa. I can relax by the swimming pool." So let us ask this question, "Who am I?"