AHAM’s Glossary of Terms
by A. Ramana




I - The first thought. It rises from the notion, "I am this Body-Mind." Its conventional meaning is the apparent individual self, or the personal pronoun that indicates or means oneself, or that's used by a speaker or writer in referring to him/herself. (See: ego). In Sanskrit is to "aham."

"I" is the mind, arising out pure Consciousness and forming the body, the world and everything in it from the combined elements of the earth. In the mind, "I" is the "first person," without which there can be no "second or third persons." Or, simply stated, "If 'I' is not, nothing else is." In this higher sense, it means that the underlying Self must be before anything else can be. The true Self (capital S) is synonymous with or tantamount to GOd, the One Reality, or pure I AM. The apparent self, or "I," is the body-mind that lives in The World, in Time and Space.

I AM - is Pure Consciousness; it's the name of the reflected light of pure Being, Self, God. It is the name of our essential conscious existence, our pure existent being. In the Bible, it is declared the name of God. (Exodus 3:15) Moses' enlightenment was the realization that his own being as "I am" was not different from the "I AM" of God. (Exodus 3:14)

I AM is the first perception of Consciousness (against the background of pure Awareness), prior to the rising of the, conceptual sense of "I" as the Body-Mind, or Ego

Idea(s) - The starting point of all creation, manifestation, achievement or accomplishment. Ideas are mind-forms in consciousness. Everything appearing in matter, or physical manifestation, exists first in consciousness as an idea in the mind of the perceiver; or it exists in the mind as a reflection of the apparent object of perception. Thus everything starts in consciousness, in the mind of the first or originating conceiver, before it can even appear in matter. Then it is sustained by the minds of all so-called "others.".

The rule of causality according to the ancient sage Hermes Trismegistus is, "as within, so without." When you change the idea of a thing, you change the form of the thing as it is appearing to you. Therefore, in the world of manifestation, "thoughts are things," or "the idea of the thing is the thing."

Ideal - An excellent or perfect example of something or somebody; that which is considered to be a perfect example.

Ideals are possibilities of truth that have not yet been totally achieved, realized, or come fully into manifestation. They are the potential realities of a higher state of Existence or level of consciousness that has yet to be fulfilled in this lower plane of life expression or present dimension of this world.

Identify with - To consider something to be essential to one's being. It is like thinking some thing to be oneself or as being a major part or aspect of one's being.

Generally speaking, people identify themselves with what they have, or what they do, thus their skill or profession becomes who and what they are called or think of themselves. Traditionally, many people have considered themselves to be their trade, their skill or their profession. This is how many peoples' surnames historically came into being. They were named by or after their trade or skill, like Taylor for "a tailor"; Miller for "mill owner"; Baker for "a baker"; Cook for "a cook," etc.

Universally, humans are identified with their body-minds, which are thought and believed to be themselves. The truth of the matter is, the body is not one's self; it is merely a vehicle designed for moving about and functioning in the world of time-space. The true Self is infinite and eternal, faceless and formless intelligent Being.

Identity - Who or what someone or something is considered to be. It is especially what someone names or calls himself, and thinks himself to be. It is the set of characteristics that one recognizes as belonging particularly to oneself, and which is believed to constitute or make up his/her individual being or self. It is one's particular individuality that has separate egoic existence, apart from and distinct from all others.

Almost everyone thinks and believes him/herself to be his name and form, or assigned nomenclature.

Ignorance (Avidya) - False or wrong knowledge of oneself; believing the body to be the Self; unawareness of Universal Oneness as the One Reality. It is a veil that separates the body, mind and egoic life from the Self, or Source or One Reality of Pure Being. Ignorance is the separative consciousness in the egoistic mind and the quality of life that flows from it, including all that is habitual to this separative quality of consciousness and the egoistic mind and life in which it is contained. It is living in and as the consciousness of an apparent individual, different or divided from the All; being without knowledge of the underlying One Reality; believing that the self actually exists and lives in apparent time and space and is ever at the effect of these (apparent) two.

It is a power or quality in consciousness that is an aspect of the Divine Will, called Maya, which causes one to see the real as unreal, and the unreal as real.

I-I-I - The non-spoken, ever-present and always flowing Conscious Awareness eternally radiating and pulsating in the spiritual Heart as the Self; the infinite, eternal, perpetual Heartthrob of the Self.

Illusion - The mistaken and deceptive appearance of the world as itself being real, and as having solid objective reality entirely on its own. However, the world is not an illusion in the usual sense of the word, such as imposing or enforcing something onto one's consciousness that is entirely unreal and without any basis whatsoever. Rather it is a mistaken interpretation of the One Reality that is occurring with the mind and physical senses; or a false presentation being a misrepresentation of what is actually real, which is the Self, or One Reality.

The illusion of seeing the world as real has been traditionally likened to mistaking a coil of rope seen in twilight as being a snake. The unreal snake conceals the rope, which is real.

Imagination - The image-making power of the mind; the mind's faculty, capacity or ability to create and manifest its own held mental patterns or concepts. It can become a creative force that enables one to manifest and intentionally live out its own images. When Imagination is Awakened and used intentionally for a higher purpose than merely fulfilling selfish worldly desires, one can actually use it to attain the doorway to Higher Consciousness, and thus abide therein. In reality, it is a function or faculty of Maya, the illusion-power of the Divine Self.

In 1966, before his enlightenment, Ramana learned from his then teacher, Neville, how to consciously and intentionally use Awakened Imagination and the Power of Assumption for constructive and beneficial purposes. For a few years he used it for successfully attaining nearly every worldly goal that he desired. Then, from his own experience, as well as what he had long heard from all the famous world teachers, he realized there was actually no real or lasting happiness or contentment to be had or depended upon from acquiring any number of worldly goals. He saw that desire was a bottomless pit that could never be adequately filled, that there was never "enough" in or from the world to bring one peace and contentment - not by way of persons, places or things. It then came to him one day that he might use this Creative Power of Imagination for a much higher and more significant purpose, that of realizing and abiding in the true Self. He had already unequivocally proven its effectiveness and benefit in attaining worldly goals. Why not utilize it for attaining this most preferable and highest goal, where true Happiness was said to actually be located?

With this conscious intention in mind, he asked himself this most significant question: "How would it feel to feel as Jesus felt, knowing that I am the Son of God?"

He quickly felt the energy of his inner being rise up from the Heart-core of his being and increase and expand and fill his consciousness with tremendous joy. Within only a few weeks his final enlightenment happened when he was drawn mysteriously to a bookstore in Houston, Texas and to a book containing a picture and the Teaching of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Then and there, on gazing into the brilliant and compassionate eyes of the great sage in the picture, his spiritual quest ended.

"I-me-my-mine" - The usual Mantra or "Yapitty-Yapitty" going on all the time with most people that keeps one identified with the body-mind, and this world; usually filled with numerous fears and unending desires - even though it is not often re-cognized (known or seen) by most people as such. It is the ordinary worldly mantra, which all Unconscious individuals are constantly singing, enforcing and defending, and which keeps them identified with the not-self and believing it to be oneself. [LMT]

Immortality - This term usually has to do with the concept or notion of prolonged existence of the body, or its longevity. It is seldom ever used in this context at AHAM.

At best, so-called immortality pertains to making something or somebody famous for a long time, such as Krishna, Moses, Buddha, or Jesus Christ. Or, it might be a work of art, etc., such as a painting or sculpture by Michelangelo. The true Self is eternal, being without beginning or ending, but this is not being immortal, which means "existing forever in time."

Nor, does it pertain to the believed (by some) immortality of the separate individual self, or ego, whose immortality is not possible. Everything that is born in time dies in time. Even the sphinx and the great pyramid of Giza are deteriorating (dying), and their original purpose, their respective reasons for having been built, are no longer alive. Immortality pertains to the Consciousness beyond birth and death, the realization of the truth that the real Self has infinite and eternal existence, always, already abiding in and as the faceless, formless, timeless Presence of Now, to infinity.

Immutable, The - That which is non-changing, and not capable of being changed. It is the still, silent, secret or unseen foundation or basis of Being. It is the timeless play (Lila) of manifestation and dissolution, which is shared equally and impartially with all life, lending its support to all things without choice or being involved in their movement.

Individual (or Individuality) - A particular person, different from others in a group; a separate entity or thing; an independent organism, separate from a group. Individuality indicates a specific personality, character, or characteristic that distinguishes one person or thing from another; the state or condition of being separate from others.

The so-called individual is the apparent soul-existence believed and felt to be standing behind the constant mutations or changes we call our Personality.

In truth, there has never been nor will there ever be an individual or separate being, or Person. There now and always has been only the one Self, appearing as the seeming many individual selves, or persons. Sri Bhagavan Ramana says, "In Consciousness there is no 'other'." The One Being appears to manifest itself on different planes or levels of consciousness as visible individual beings. These are apparently constituted by different distinguishable parts of the One Indivisible Being, like many waves appearing on one ocean.

Inner Being - The inner being means the inner consciousness or mind, and the inner vital force that evidently moves the apparent outer form or physically-manifested outer being, which is the perceptible Body-Mind.

Inquiry - Its meaning in AHAM is Self-Inquiry. It is, "an investigation, examination, search, scrutiny, exploration, etc., into the makeup, state or nature of one's true Self.

Integrity - In AHAM, it is to always keep your word, by always meaning what you say, and saying what you mean. It means being honest, ethical and dependable, steadfast in life, and demonstrating reliability as the basic standard that you live by. It is the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high ethical and moral principles or standards; it is being well integrated, which is the state of being complete, whole or undivided.

Intellect and Intelligence - The ability to think, reason, compare, evaluate and understand. Having a high clear intellect is considered being intelligent and knowledgeable. (The fields of knowledge may of course vary). It is when one is able to rise in consciousness to the realm of higher ideas and freely moves about therein that we say he has a high degree or quality of intelligence. Intelligence is the ability to learn facts and skills and apply them, especially when this ability is highly developed.

Intention - The animating thought, principle or purpose directly related to getting what you want or desire. You achieve your goals in life or the world to the extent you are clear about and firm in your intention, and make it your purpose. It is the Essence of Conscious and Clear Communication.

In AHAM, intention is assuming the mood and feeling of already being what you want to be, doing what you want to do, and having what you want to have, even before these are apparent, or before the actual way and means to their fulfillment, completion or accomplishment are known or revealed. [LMT]

Intuition - Direct knowledge without thinking (or Thought). It is the state of being aware of or knowing something instinctively without involving the senses or having to discover or perceive it by means of the senses. [LMT]

I-sense - The Ego, or Body-Mind. It is the misconception of being a separate Individual being. This occurs in the mind abiding in time-space, and is actually the cause of all one's sorrow and suffering.

"I SIT" - An acronym that means, "Intensive Self-Inquiry Training"; which is step two of AHAM's entry-level program series, and which is its primary spiritual training. Self-Inquiry is the underlying basis of all of AHAM's other programs in AHAM's Conscious Curriculum.

"Is-ness" - Abiding or resting in pure Being, it is remaining in the pure I AM, prior to the mind and thought.

"Isn't it fun?" - is a humorous question Ramana uses quite often (1) to remind us to always stay centered in the Heart, or Self, and (2) to possibly catch us off guard when we are not. It is a trigger he uses at just about any time, such as when things are going very well, and especially when they are apparently not going so well.

"It's being revealed" - means something is coming up in the consciousness or the mind of someone to be seen, clarified, made known or consciously understood for the benefit of the person, or whoever else is involved.

It's not "I have to," but "I choose to" - In AHAM, "I have to" is often deciding between the lesser of two usually unpleasant options or alternatives. It's having to or being forced to decide, perhaps even against your will, or your better judgment. "I choose to" is acting on the best choice among several options or opportunities. Understand: there are always an infinite number of choices available at any given time. You must simply look for them, and not passively or reluctantly settle for only the apparent or quickly decided lesser alternatives that are thrust upon the ego-self.

It's not "duality while practicing and non-duality on attainment" - There is a vital, long-held and yet subtle concept (or misconception) about Reality. It is, that (1) Reality only operates according the laws or principles of Duality right up to the moment of Enlightenment, and (2) only with enlightenment, or Self-Realization, is non-duality seen, known and understood as actually being the Truth. But this is a misconception, and is not the Truth.

The Truth is, Non-Duality (the principle that all manifestation is One Being or Reality) is even now, and always, the one all-encompassing ever-present Truth, even when one is still going through the phase of spiritual practice, or Sadhana.

However, this does not mean that you are to practice non-duality when dealing with others; but rather, to honor each being by allowing everyone the time and space, the freedom and opportunity, to act as he or she chooses, honoring everyone's freedom - ethically, morally, legally.


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