Question : How is realization made possible? Ramana Maharshi: There is an absolute Self from which a spark proceeds as from a fire. The spark is called the ego. In the case of an ignorant man it identifies itself with an object simultaneously with its rise. It cannot remain independent of such association with objects. The association is ajnana or ignorance and its destruction is the object of our efforts. If its objectifying tendency is killed it remains pure, and also merges into the source. The wrong identification with the body is dehatma buddhi [`I am the body' idea]. This must go before good results follow. The `I` in its purity is experienced in intervals between the two states or two thoughts. Ego is like that caterpillar which leaves its hold only after catching another. Its true nature can be found when it is out of contact with objects or thoughts. This ghostly ego which is devoid of form comes into existence by grasping a form; grasping a form it endures; feeding upon forms which it grasps it waxes more; leaving one form it grasps another form, but when sought for it takes to flight. Only if that first person, the ego, in the form `I am the body', exists will the second and third persons [you, he, they, etc.] exist. If by one's scrutinizing the truth of the first person the first person is destroyed, the second and third persons will cease to exist and one's own nature which will then shine as one will truly be the state of Self. The thought `l am this body of flesh and blood' is the one thread on which are strung the various other thoughts. Therefore, if we turn inwards enquiring `Where is this I?' all thoughts (including the `I'-thought) will come to an end and Self-knowledge will then spontaneously shine forth. Source: from David Godman Excellent Book "Be As You are"