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(Sanskrit vichara, also called jnana-vichara or ātma-vichār)

Self inquiry/enquiry is a contemplative meditation technique where one focuses on a statement or question, first fixing the thoughts onto the statement or question, then focusing on the question or statement itself free from thoughts. When the mind is free from thoughts and opinions of the knowledge one enters into a state of absorption. This state of dyana or meditative absorption leads into a state of realization beyond words. The knowledge in the question or statement is then experienced or realized with clarity. Sri Ramana Maharshi was a self realized sage who taught purely with this technique, meditating on the question “Who am I?”.

Ramana taught that the “I”-thought will disappear and only “I-I” or self-awareness remains. This results in an “effortless awareness of being”, and by staying with it this “I-I” gradually destroys the vasanasis (a behavioural tendency or karmic imprint which influences the present behaviour of a person) “which cause the ‘I’-thought to rise,” and finally the ‘I’-thought never rises again, which is Self-realization or liberation. Is it the body that carries the spirit.  Is it the spirit that gives rise and life to the body.

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