Sri Ramana Maharishi from the Vedanthic Tradition:
‘The Self is that where there is absolutely no “I” thought.. the place [idam] where even the slightest trace of ‘I’ does not exist is Swarupa [‘True Self’: One’s Real Nature]’.
That is called “Silence”. The Self itself is the world; the Self itself is “I”; the Self itself is God; all is Siva, the Self.’
Ramana Maharishi is by informed consent the most respected modern teacher of Vedantha. ‘Who am I?’ was his principal teaching, to be arrived at in the ‘Backward Step’.
‘By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’, the thought ‘Who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.’
The principal formula is Yājñavalkya’s Rule. The ‘Stick..will itself in the end get destroyed’ is the rounding of the Rule. It boils down to whether the stick truly burns out or some splinter remains. Is the self-scuttle truly complete or not.
‘After negating [all]..as ‘Not-This!; Not-This!’, that Awareness which alone remains-that I am…Pure Consciousness, unrelated to the body and transcending the mind… Self is the sub-stratum of all experience..
‘My thoughts upon that Nature dwelt
till thoughts there were no more.
There is nothing else other than You.
Approaching and approaching,
I become worn down to an atom,
then worn away till I was one with Him.
Hail Shiva, dwelling in holy Perunturai!
There is nothing that You are,
Yet without You, nothing is!
Who indeed can know You?’
Tiruperunturai, Circa 8th Century
I cite this extract from Māṇikkavāchakar’s rightly celebrated poem in Classical Tamil, just to convince you that this track of being ‘Brought to Nothing’ is both universal and very old. The above preceded St. John by about 800 years. You can locate parallel verses in any serious Tradition.
I can’t recall the very talented translator. If you recognize it, drop me a note.
See: Ramana Maharishi