The Heart of the Ribhu Gita

Inhering in the Undifferentiated And Non-Dual Reality

Preface:

“The ego or separate soul is a concept. God, the world, the mind desires, action, sorrow and all other things are all concepts”.

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, a famous Sage of modern India, attributed unique value to this lucid exposition of Supreme Truth. He often referred to it in his talks with devotees and seekers, and he is reported to have said that is one repeatedly read Chapter 26 of the Ribhu Gita one could pass spontaneously into samadhi, or the natural state of Self-realization.

The Ribhu Gita, literally “Ribhu’s Song”, is Part Six of the Shiva Rahasya, a legendary mystical text of India. The whole of the Ribhu Gita is said to represent the teaching given to the Sage Ribhu by God himself in the form of Lord Shiva, the formless aspect of the Divine activity, in whom all beings and things are always already absorbed. The Sage in turn gave the teaching to his reluctant disciple Nidagha.


THE HEART OF THE RIBHU GITA

  1. I shall now expound to you the method of inhering in the All-inclusive and undifferentiated Reality. This teaching is secret and difficult to understand even with the help of the various Scriptures. Even celestial beings and practitioners of spiritual discipline who hold it dear acquire it only with great difficulty. Follow what I say and, inhering in Reality, be happy.
  2. My son! Realized sages say that absolute inherence in Reality means becoming one with the immutable, tranquil, non-dual Absolute Supreme Being which is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss and the Self of all, and making the wandering mind one with it like the proverbial milk and water, absolutely free from all concepts.
  3. When one scrutinizes this variety of manifestation one realizes that it does not really exist and that everything is the undifferentiated Absolute Supreme Being which is not different from the Self and oneself. Let this knowledge become firm with you by constant practice. Then, discarding everything, become one with the Supreme Absolute Reality and, remaining as that, be happy.
  4. Abide as That which does not, when scrutinized, show any duality in the form of these various objects or the least trace of cause and effect, That in which, when the mind is absorbed in It, there is not fear of duality at all – and be always happy, unshakable and free the fear arising from duality.
  5. Abide as That in which there are neither thoughts nor fancies, neither peace nor self-control, neither the mind nor the intellect, neither confusion nor certainly, neither being nor non-being, and no perception of duality – and be always happy, unshakable and absolutely free from the fear arising from duality.
  6. Abide as That in which there is neither any defect nor good quality, neither pleasure nor pain, neither thought nor silence, neither misery nor austerities practiced for getting rid of misery, no “I-am-the-body” idea, no objects of perception whatsoever – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  7. Abide as That in which there is no work, physical, mental, verbal or of any other kind, neither sin nor virtue, neither attachment nor its consequences – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  8. Abide as That in which there are neither thoughts nor a thinker, neither the arising nor the preservation nor the dissolution of the world, nothing whatsoever at any time – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  9. Abide as That in which there is neither the Self-limiting Power of Illusion nor its effects, neither knowledge nor ignorance, neither separate soul nor Lord of Creation, neither being nor non-being, neither world nor God – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  10. Abide as That in which there are no gods and their worship, none of the three Divine aspects of Creator, Preserver and Destroyer or meditation on them no Supreme Formless God nor meditation on Him – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  11. Abide as That in which there is neither maturing bondage to the way of good works nor searching devotion to the Divine nor self-knowing wisdom, no fruit of action to be enjoyed, no supreme state separate from it, no means of attainment or object to be attained and be always happy, free from all traces of though.
  12. Abide as That in which there is neither body nor senses nor vital forces, neither mind nor intellect nor fancy, neither ego nor ignorance, nor anyone who identifies himself with them, neither the macrocosm nor the microcosm and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  13. Abide as That in which there is neither desire nor anger, neither greed nor delusion, neither ill-will nor pride, no impurities of mind and no false notions of bondage and liberation – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  14. Abide as That in which there is no beginning or end, no top or bottom or middle, no holy place or god, no gifts or pious acts, no time or space, no objects of perception – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  15. Abide as That in which there is no discrimination between the real and the unreal, no absence of desire, no possession of virtues, o yearning for liberation, no competent Master or disciple, no steady knowledge, no realized stage, no liberation while alive or after death, nothing whatsoever at any time – and be always happy free from all traces of thought.
  16. Abide as That in which there are no Holy Scriptures or sacred books, no one who thinks, no objection or answer to it, no theory to be established, no theory to be rejected, nothing other than one Self – and be always happy, free from the least trace of thought.
  17. Abide as That in which there is no debate, no success or failure, no word or its meaning, no speech, no difference between the soul and the Supreme Being, none of the manifold causes and consequences – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  18. Abide as That in which there is no need for listening, reflecting and practicing, no meditation to be practiced, no differences of sameness, otherness or internal contradictions, no words or their meanings – and be always happy, free from the least trace of thought.
  19. Abide as That in which there are no fears of hell, no joys of heaven, no worlds of the Creator God or the other Gods, nor any object to be gained from them, no other world, no universe of any kind – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  20. Abide as That in which there is nothing of the elements nor even an iota of their derivatives, no sense of “I” or “mind”, no fantasies of the mind, no blemish of attachment, no concept whatsoever – and be always happy, without the least trace of the thought.
  21. Abide as That in which there are none of the three kinds of bodies (gross physical, subtle internal, or formless and most subtle), dreaming and sleeping), none of the three kinds of souls (those who are fully prepared to advance spiritually, those who are not fully prepared, and those who are not prepared at all), none of the three kinds afflictions (those of the body, those caused by the elements, and those caused by subtle beings and powers), none of the five functional layers of being (gross physical, vital, emotional-psychic, mental, and that of formless bliss), no one to identify himself with them – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  22. Abide as That in which there is no sentient object, no power to hide Reality, no difference of any kind, no power of projecting unreal objects, no power of any other kind, no false notion about the world – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  23. Abide as That in which there are no sense organs or anyone to use the, That in which transcendent bliss is experienced, That which is absolutely immediate, That by realizing and attaining which one becomes immortal, That by becoming which one does not return to this cycle of births and deaths – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  24. Abide as That, on realizing and experiencing the bliss of which, all joys appear to be the joys of That, That which, when clearly known to be oneself, shows there is nothing apart from oneself, and, knowing which, all kinds of separate souls become liberated – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  25. Abide as That, on realizing which to be oneself, there is nothing else to be known, everything becomes already known and every purpose accomplished – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  26. Abide as That which is attained easily when one is convinced that one is not different from the Supreme Absolute, That which results, when that conviction becomes firm, in the experience of the Supreme Bliss of the Real, That which produces a sense of incomparable and complete satisfaction when the mind is absorbed in It – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  27. Abide as That which leads to the complete cessation of misery when the mind is absorbed in It, and the extinction of all ideas of “I”, “you” and “another,” and the disappearance of al differences – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  28. Abide as That in which, when the mind is absorbed in It, one remains without a second, nothing other than oneself is seen to exist and incomparable bliss is experienced – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  29. Abide as That which is undifferentiated Existence, undifferentiated Consciousness, undifferentiated Bliss, absolutely non-dual, the undifferentiated Absolute Reality – and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  30. Abide as That which is “I” as well as “you” as well as everyone else, is the basis of all, is one without anything else whatsoever, is extremely pure, the undifferentiated Whole – and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  31. Abide as That in which there are no concepts or anything else whatsoever, the ego ceases to exist, all desires disappear, the mind becomes extinct and all confusions come to an end – and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  32. Abide as That in which there is no awareness of the body, or the various functions of manifest existence, no perception of objects, That in which the mind is dead, the soul become one with the Reality, thoughts dissolved and even one’s convictions no longer hold – and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  33. Abide as That in which there is no longer any meditative spiritual practice or ignorance or knowledge or activities of any kind, that which is the Supreme Reality – and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  34. Abide as That in which, when one is completely merged with It, one experiences pure bliss, never experiences misery, sees nothing, does not take birth again, never thinks oneself to be a separate individual, becomes the Supreme Being and with the conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  35. Abide as That which is truly the Supreme Absolute Reality, the Supreme Formless God, the absolutely pure Being, the Supreme State, Absolute Consciousness, the Supreme Truth – and with the conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  36. Abide as That which is the absolutely pure Supreme Being, absolute Bliss, the supremely subtle Being, the Self-Effulgent, non-dual and undifferentiated One – and with the conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  37. Abide as That which is absolute Truth, supreme Tranquility, eternal Being, absolutely attributeless, the Self, the absolutely undifferentiated Supreme Being – and with the conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  38. Abide as That which is everything from the experiential point of view and nothing from the absolute point of view, Existence – Consciousness-Bliss, always tranquil, with nothing separate from It, the self-existent Being –and with the conviction that you are That be always happy.
  39. I have thus, O Nidagha, clearly explained to you the state of being one with the Supreme Being. By constantly thinking that you are the undifferentiated Supreme Being you can attain that state and enjoy constant bliss. There after, having become the Supreme Absolute Reality, you will never experience the misery that comes from identification with birth and death.
  40. “Everything is the Supreme Being, which is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, and I am That” By constantly cultivating this pure thought, get rid of impure thoughts. Then, my son, discarding even that thought and always inhering in the State of Fullness, you will become the non-dual and undifferentiated Supreme Being and attain liberation.
  41. Pure and impure thoughts are a feature of the mind. There are no wandering thoughts in the Supreme Being. Therefore, abide as That and, free from the pure and impure thoughts of the mind, remain still like a stone or a log of wood. You will then be always happy.
  42. By constantly thinking of the undifferentiated Supreme Being and forgetting thereby all thoughts, including the thought of the Supreme Being, you will become the all-comprehensive Supreme Being. Even a great sinner who hears and understands this teaching will get rid of all his sins and become the undifferentiated Supreme Being.
  43. The endless textbooks of spiritual instruction have already prescribed meditation for attaining purity of mind. In order that those who have become pure in mind may easily attain liberation and, realizing that they are absolute and boundless Bliss, remain still like a stone in the undifferentiated and all-comprehensive Supreme Formless God, the nature of this immaculate state has been expounded by me.
  44. Therefore, attaining purity of mind by constantly thinking that everything that is known is the Supreme Being and that Supreme Being is oneself, and thereafter abiding in the state of complete identity with the Absolute Reality, liberation can be attained here and now. I have spoken the truth. In this manner, Sage Ribhu expounded the true and full state of being to Nidagha.
  45. When one is convinced that one is always That which is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss and abides as That in a state of complete identity, one casts off the unreal bondage of identification with birth and death and attains liberation. This is the significance of the highly blissful mood and dance of our Supreme and undifferentiated Gold.

Undifferentiated – Satsang Discourse by Nome

Satsang, April 6, 2008

Om, Om, Om (Silence)

Undifferentiated and, thus, doubtless is Being, which is the real Self. Every doubt, every notion of illusion, is based upon some false supposition of differentiation, as if that which alone is could become two or other than what it is. A doubt is always of differentiation, and the resolution of the doubt is always the relinquishment of the supposed differentiation.

Thus it is with questions and answers. The explanations in the teaching are, in one sense, based on the differentiation, yet the purpose of them is the dissolution of that very differentiation. The primary differentiation is the assumed identity as an individual, “I.” This assumed differentiation is integral to every other differentiation, such as a conception of a mind, a conception of a world, or the conception of anything else. The dissolution of the world and the subsidence of the mind are the abandonment

of this false differentiation. It cannot be negated in an objective fashion because such presupposes the differentiation as existent, and that is the very thing that one wishes to abandon.

Abandonment of differentiation is the Realization of the Truth. The direct approach is the inquiry into your own nature: Who am I? This inquiry does not presuppose differentiation and then attempt to explain or transform such. The inquiry asks if there is any such differentiation, and, since the way is subjective and not objective, the inquiry is, “Who am I to perceive some difference? Who is it that perceives a mind, and who is it that supposedly perceives a world?”

The undifferentiated state is the state of Reality. It is innate.

(silence)

The natural, or innate, Self does not transform itself into anything else. There is nothing else to act upon it to transform it into something that it is not.

(silence)

If your desire is to realize the Supreme Truth, to know Reality as it is, find within that which has no birth, no death, no change at any time, which does not undergo any kind of modification or transformation, and which does not enter or exit anywhere. The one who finds that is himself that. It is not that you become Brahman, but, rather, Brahman is what you are. Such is the immutable Self.

If differentiation appears to persist for you, inquire for whom it is. Who am I? Upon inquiry, there is Self-Knowledge. In Self-Knowledge, you realize that, not only does differentiation not persist, but it did not start. That which truly is always is just as it is.

(silence)

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Nome is an American spiritual teacher of Advaita Vedanta, in the tradition of 20th Century Indian sage Ramana Maharshi.

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Biographical Info

Nome was born on January 23, 1955 in Long Island, New York, and spent most of his childhood in New Jersey. His family was opposed to all religions.

Early Spiritual Experiences and Practice

Despite having no training in any religious tradition, Nome’s first spiritual experience, of nirvikalpa samadhi, occurred at age 15 spontaneously in a park in New jersey. At age 16, without graduating from high school, he left his home and family in New Jersey and traveled to California in search of enlightenment.

In San Francisco Nome met Swami Swanandashram, who introduced him to the traditional scriptures of Hinduism such as the Upanisads, the Avadhuta Gita, and the Astavakra Gita, and to the teachings of Adi Sankara and Sri Ramana Maharshi.

After three years of intense spiritual practice (Ramana’s Self-inquiry), on May 14, 1974, at 19 years of age, Nome gained Self-Realization.

Early Teaching

For several years Nome was mainly silent, and sometimes answered questions from spiritual seekers.

In 1978, a group of spiritual seekers, first called “The Avadhut Ashram,” formed around Nome. He held satsang in Boulder Creek, Santa Cruz and San Francisco. Later, the Society of Abidance in Truth was created from this group, and a temple, dedicated to Sri Ramana Maharshi, was built in Santa Cruz, CA, USA, and opened in 1989. Satsang and retreats have been offered in this temple since that time.

Books – Translations, commentaries and original works

Although he had no formal education in Hinduism, Nome dedicated himself to reading and studying the classical scriptures and the Sanskrit language. From 1988 to 2001, Nome worked with Dr. H. Ramamoorthy, a scholar of Hinduism and the Sanskrit and Tamil languages, to translate classic Advaita Vedanta works into English (many for the first time). This work encompassed xx manuscripts, and continued until the death of Dr. Ramamoorthy at age xx in 2001.

Many works have been published, including classics of Hindu thought such as both the Sanskrit and the Tamil versions of the Ribhu Gita, and Sankara’s Svatmanirupanam. There are more manuscripts still to be published. This collaboration produced the only complete English translation of the Tamil-language Ribhu Gita, titled Song of Ribhu. This work has been reprinted in India by Ramanasramam, and has been translated into Hindi and Italian.

Original written works by Nome include Timeless Presence and Self-Knowledge. A commentary on Sri Ramana’s “Self-Inquiry,” Essence of Inquiry has also been published and is available  from the Ramanasramam book store.

Since the founding of SAT

Nome was invited by Sri Ramanasramam to participate at the 1996 centenary celebration of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s arrival at Arunachala. He has also spoken at The Ramana Centre for Learning in Bangalore, by request of A.R. Natarajan. Both Ramanasramam and The Ramana Centre for Learning have published books written or translated by Nome.

More about SAT can be found at www.satramana.org. More about Nome is on Wikepedia, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nome,_Spiritual_Teacher 

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Nome, an American teacher  of Sri Ramana’s Self-inquiry
The Ribhu Gita

The Ribhu Gita: By Richard Clarke

Your true nature is always the undivided, nondual Brahman,
Which is a mass of Being-Consciousness-Bliss,
Motionless, ancient, still,
Eternal, without attributes,
Without confusions, without sheaths,
Without parts, without impurity,
Completely free from any illusion of duality,
Full, peerless, and the One.

From Song of Ribhu, Chapter two.

The Ribhu Gita is a spiritual text that was extensively used by Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. It was one of the first books he read after Self-Realization, one whose message clearly accorded with what he had realized within himself. For many years during his life it was read to those at Ramanasramam. It is still read at Ramanasramam today. Ramana’s use and recommendation of this text has brought it into much wider visibility among those interested in his teachings and Advaita Vedanta.

Papaji reading from The Ribhu Gita

A number of teachers in the tradition of Sri Ramana have been using these translations of the Ribhu Gita in their teaching. Above is a picture of Papaji reading from the English Translation of the Sanskrit version.

The Ribhu Gita is a book that is best read aloud, a few verses at one time. It is in an ancient form designed to be chanted, and they way it is written is most conducive to reading aloud, even if one is reading it to oneself.

The Ribhu Gita presents the timeless teaching of Self Knowledge, emphasized by Advaita Vedanta. Its fundamental tenet is the identity of the Self with Brahman, a term signifying the vast Absolute. This scripture presents the teaching given by the sage, Ribhu, to Nidaga to become enlightened into his true nature.

According to Annamalai Swami, “Bhagavan often said that we should read and study the Ribhu Gita regularly. In the Ribhu Gita it is said, ‘That bhavana “I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am Brahman, I am everything” is to be repeated again and again until this becomes the natural state.”

In describing the Self or Brahman, negation is primarily used because the Self can never be an object, can never be what is perceived or conceived. By negation in the process of Self-inquiry, the ignorance of identifying ones own existence with an individual body and mind is destroyed. This “destruction” of ignorance is really not the destruction of anything real, as the false identification as an individual just consists of assumptions, ideas. What remains after this so-called destruction is not anything new. It is not something achieved. It is not a transformation. It is what has been your innermost identity all the time.

As all differences are an illusory appearance
On Brahman, which is not different from the Self,
Due to conditionings of the Self like the defect of nescience (ignorance)
And conditionings of Brahman like maya (Illusion, delusion),
One should realize, by a practice of negation,
That all appearances are not a whit different from the substratum
And one should cognize the originless, endless,
Undivided identity of the Self and Brahman.

From Song of Ribhu, Chapter One

“The text is a relentless reiteration of uncompromising Advaita―that the Supreme Brahman, ‘That,’ is all that exists and exists not, that nothing else exists, the Self is Brahman and Brahman is the Self, I am that, I am all, and That is myself. This Awareness is moksha (liberation) which is attained by the way of knowledge and the certitude I-am-Brahman,” says Dr. H Ramamoorthy, one of the co-translators, in his Translator’s Introduction to the English translation of the Sanskrit version published by The Society of Abidance in Truth in 1995.

The origins of the Ribhu Gita are uncertain. It is contained within the Sivarahasya, an ancient Sanskrit epic devoted to Siva. It has been compared to the better-known Bhagavad Gita, contained within the epic, Mahabharata. Similar dialogs between Ribhu and Nidagha on the Self and Brahman are also found within the traditional 108 Upanisads, so it appears that the origin of the Ribhu Gita dates from the Upanisadic period, generally thought to be about 600 BCE.

The Ribhu Gita exists in two forms, the traditional Sanskrit version, and a Tamil version rendered in the late 1800s by Bhikshu Sastrigal, also known as Ulagantha Swamigal. Both versions have been translated into English by Dr. H. Ramamoorthy, a Sanskrit and Tamil scholar, and Nome, a Self-Realized sage in the United States of America, who realized the Truth revealed by Sri Ramana Maharshi and the Ribhu Gita in 1974. Both books, The Ribhu Gita and The Song of Ribhu (the Sanskrit and Tamil versions of the text) have been printed by the society of Abidance in Truth (SAT) and are available from their website (www.satramana.org).

These English translations have become the basis for a widening appreciation of this ancient nondual work. Translations have been made from these English translations into a number of other languages, including Italian, and Hindi. The Song of Ribhu has also been reprinted by Sri Ramanasramam and is available from their bookstore.

In addition to these two complete translations, there have been a number of partial translations published. One is a small pamphlet, Essence of Ribhu, available by download from Sri Ramanasramam – www.sriramanamaharshi.org . The other is The Heart of the Ribhu Gita, by F Jones, Los Angeles: Dawn Horse, 1973.

Nome at satsang

Nome has been teaching Self-inquiry, as taught by Sri Ramana, for about 30 years. He gives satsangs and holds retreats at the temple of The Society of Abidance in Truth (SAT), in Santa Cruz, CA, USA. For more information go to http://www.satramana.org. He has translated and published a number of books of Advaita Vedanta that otherwise would not be available in English. Many of these translations were done in collaboration with Dr. Ramamoorthy.