Source: Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
Mr. V. K. Cholkar, of Poona : It is said "Know thyself" or see who the "I" in you is. What is the way to do it? Is it by simply repeating the mantra mechanically all along or have you to do it, remembering every moment why you are repeating the mantra?
BHAGAWAN RAMANA MAHARISHI : You are always repeating the mantra automatically. If you are not aware of the ajapa (unspoken chant) which is eternally going on, you should take to japa. Japa is made with an effort. The effort is meant to ward off other thoughts. Then the japa becomes mental and internal. Finally, its ajapa and eternal nature will be realised. For it will be found to be going on even without your effort. The effortless state is the state of realisation.
Mr. Cholkar again requested instructions from a practical point of view, i.e., suitable to himself.