The crucial secret revealed by Sri Ramana: the only means to subdue our mind permanently

A friend wrote to me recently asking in Tamil:

பகவான் அருளியபடி ஆத்ம விசாரம் செய்ய நாம் ‘நான்’ என்னும் எண்ணத்தின் மீது கவனம் செலுத்த வேண்டும் என பல புத்தகங்களில் கூறப்படுகிறது. ஆனால் ‘நான் யார்?’ என்ற கட்டுரையிலோ, மனம் எப்போதும் ஓர் ஸ்தூலத்தையே பற்றி இருக்கும் எனவும், மனமென்பது ‘நான்’ என்னும் எண்ணமே எனவும் குறிப்பிடப்பட்டிருக்கிறது. இது உண்மை எனில், அந்த எண்ணத்தை ஸ்தூலத்திலிருந்து எவ்வாறு தனியே பிரித்து அதன் மீது கவனம் செலுத்துதல் ஸாத்தியம் ஆகும்? இது அஸாத்தியம் என்பதால் ‘எண்ணங்கள் தோன்றும் இடம் எது?’ என கூர்ந்து கவனித்தலே விசார வழி என நான் நினைக்கிறேன்; பின்பற்றியும் வருகிறேன். இது சரியா?

which means:

In many books it is said that to do self-investigation (ātma-vicāra) as taught by Bhagavan we must direct our attention on the thought called ‘I’. But in the essay Nāṉ Yār? it is said that the mind exists by always clinging to a sthūlam [something gross], and that what is called mind is only the thought called ‘I’. If this is true, is it possible to separate that thought in any way from the sthūlam and to direct attention towards it [that thought]? Since this is impossible, I think that keenly observing ‘what is the place where thoughts rise?’ alone is the path of vicāra; I am also following [this]. Is this correct?

The following is adapted from the reply I wrote (partly in Tamil but mostly in English):

The two statements from நான் யார்? (Nāṉ Yār?: Who am I?) that you refer to are both certainly true, but the inference you draw from them, namely ‘இது அஸாத்தியம்’ (idu asādhyam), ‘this is impossible’, is incorrect. When Bhagavan says in the fourth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?, ‘மனம் எப்போதும் ஒரு ஸ்தூலத்தை யனுசரித்தே நிற்கும்; தனியாய் நில்லாது’ (maṉam eppōdum oru sthūlattai y-aṉusarittē niṟkum; taṉiyāy nillādu), which means, ‘The mind stands only by always going after [attending and thereby attaching itself to] something gross [something other than ‘I’]; solitarily it does not stand’, what we should infer is that the mind will subside when it does not have anything other than itself to cling to (that is, to attend to), and that it will therefore subside only when it tries to attend to itself alone. This is why Bhagavan also says in the sixth, eighth and sixteenth paragraphs of Nāṉ Yār?:

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