We come now to the very essence of theory, the nature of man himself. For whatever a man may think of the reality of the world or of God he knows that he himself exists. And it is in order to understand and at the same time to perfect himself that he studies and seeks guidance.
The individual being which identifies its existence with that of the life in the physical body as 'I' is called the ego. The Self, which is pure Consciousness, has no ego-sense about it. Neither can the physical body, which is inert in itself, have this ego-sense. Between the two, that is between the Self or pure Consciousness and the inert physical body, there arises mysteriously the ego-sense or 'I' notion, the hybrid which is neither of them, and this flourishes as an individual being. This ego or individual being is at the root of all that is futile and undesirable in life. Therefore it is to be destroyed by any possible means; then That which ever is alone remains resplendent. This is Liberation or Enlightenment or Self-Realisation.
Devotee (D).: Bhagavan often says: 'The world is not outside you', or 'everything depends on you', or 'what is there outside you?' I find all this puzzling. The world existed before I was born and will continue to exist after my death, as it has survived the death of so many who once lived as I do now.
Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi (B).: Did I ever say that the world exists because of you? I have only put to you the question 'what exists apart from yourself?' You ought to understand that by the Self neither the physical body nor the subtle body is meant.
What you are told is that if you once know the Self within which all ideas exist, not excluding the idea of yourself, of others like you and of the world, you can realise the truth that there is a Reality, a Supreme Truth which is the Self of all the world you now see, the Self of all the selves, the one Real, the Supreme, the eternal Self, as distinct from the ego or individual being, which is impermanent. You must not mistake the ego or the bodily idea for the Self.
D.: Then Bhagavan means that the Self is God?
And in his next reply Bhagavan, as was his way, turned the discussion from theory to practice. Although the present chapter is, on the whole, devoted to theory, it seems appropriate to continue the dialogue so as to show how the theory was put to practical use.
B.: You see the difficulty. Self-enquiry, 'Who am I?' is a different technique from the meditation - 'I am Siva', or 'I am He'. I rather emphasize Self-Knowledge, for *you are first concerned with yourself before you proceed to know the world or its Lord. The 'I am He' or 'I am Brahman', meditation is more or less mental, but the quest for the Self of which I speak is a direct method and is superior to it. For, the moment you get into the quest for the Self and begin to go deeper, the real Self is waiting there to receive you and then whatever is to be done is done by something else and you, as an individual, have no hand in it. In this process all doubts and discussions are automatically given up, just as one who sleeps forgets all his cares for the time being.
Source: Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi in his own words by Arthur Osborne, Chapter Three.
*You are first concerned with yourself:
Sri Ramana Maharshi said that if you do not know how is inside you, then how will you know who is inside others. First you should know who is inside you. After you realize who is inside you, same God / SELF will let you know who is inside others.
i.e. Self Realization is an inner experience and it should not be searched outside.