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.

Song of Ribhu, Chapter 14 – Inquiring Into the Undivided Nature: By Richard Clarke

Siva Nataraj

1

Listen, in this exposition,

To the gist of the secret of all the settled conclusions.

There is not duality or nonduality, which are talked about.

Only the peaceful Brahman is ever existent.

Brahman, which is the One that exists

Without defect, always, everywhere, is you and I.

All are of the nature of that Supreme Brahman.

Hence, you should start inquiring into this.

2

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Siva.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Self.

I am ever of the nature that is higher than the highest.

I am ever of the nature that is pure.

I am ever of the nature that is perfectly full.

I am ever of the nature of the undivided Supreme.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

3

I am ever the imperishable Existence.

I am ever the shining Consciousness.

I am ever the peerless Bless.

I am ever the one undivided essence.

I am ever the all pervasive.

I am ever the One that is all.

I am ever the undivided Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

4

I am ever the Supreme denoted by the word “That.”

I am ever the Supreme denoted by the word “you.”

I am ever the Supreme denoted by the word “are.”

I am ever the one undivided essence.

I am ever the innermost of all.

I am ever the exterior of all.

I am ever the undivided Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

5

I am ever of the nature of the eternal.

I am ever of the nature of the attributeless.

I am ever of the nature of the taintless.

I am ever of the nature of the sheathless.

I am ever of the nature of the partless.

I am ever of the nature of the unafflicted.

I am ever of the nature of the all-pervasive Supreme.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

6

I am ever of the nature of the infinite.

I am ever of the nature of the undecaying.

I am ever of the nature of the imperishable.

I am ever of the nature of the blissful.

I am ever of the nature of liberation.

I am ever of the nature of the liberator.

I am ever of the nature of the undivided Supreme.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

7

I am of the nature of the cause of all.

I am of the nature that is completely full.

I am of the nature of all the individuals and the Supreme.

I am of the nature that is not even an atom.

I am of the nature of the ever peaceful.

I am ever of the nature of the One.

I am of the nature of the undivided Supreme.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

8

I am of the nature of all activity.

I am of the nature of the doer of all.

I am of the nature of the protector of all.

I am of the nature of the destroyer of all.

I am ever of the nature that is not anything.

I am of the nature that is established as myself.

I am ever of the nature of the undivided Absolute.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

9.

I am of the nature of all the elements.

I am of the nature of the composites of all elements.

I am of the nature of the witness of all.

I am of the nature of the evidence of all.

I am of the nature that has nothing ever apart from it.

I am ever of the nature of nonduality.

I am of the nature of the undivided Absolute.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

10

I am ever of the nature of “you.”

I am ever of the nature of “I.”

I am ever of the nature of others.

I am ever of the nature of the Self of all.

I am ever of the nature of the motionless.

I am ever of the nature of the connectionless Supreme.

I am ever of the nature of the undivided Absolute.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

11

I am ever of the nature of full of Consciousness.

I am ever of the nature of a mass of Consciousness.

I am ever of the nature of Consciousness alone.

I am ever of the nature clothed in Consciousness.

I am ever of the nature of the space of Consciousness.

I am ever of the nature of Consciousness.

I am ever of the nature of Consciousness-Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

12

I am of the nature of the substratum of all.

I am of the nature of the form of all.

I am of the nature that has not an atom apart from it.

I am of the nature that is only myself.

I am ever of the nature of the bodiless.

I am of the nature of the pure space.

I am of the nature of the pure Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

13

I am of the nature of the Guru of all.

I am also of the nature of all the disciples.

I am of the nature of all the means.

I am also of the nature of all the ends.

I am of the nature of all the Vedanta.

I am of the nature of what is to be comprehended through them.

I am of the nature of the pure Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

14

I am ever of the nature of the ancient.

I am ever of the nature of the complete.

I am ever of the nature of the imperishable.

I am ever of the nature of the indestructible.

I am ever of the nature of That which alone is.

I am ever of the nature of the sorrowless.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

15

I am ever of the nature of the undivided, Supreme God.

I am ever of the nature of the blemishless Supreme Knowledge.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Existence.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Bliss.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Light.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Abode.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

16

I am of the nature of the innermost of all.

I am ever of the nature of the Self of all.

I am of the nature of the all-auspicious.

I am of the nature that has not an atom of impurity.

I am of the nature of the supreme fourth state.

I am of the supreme nature transcending the fourth state.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

17

I transcend all time.

I transcend all space.

I transcend all objects.

I ever transcend everything.

I am of the nature that has not an atom of conceit.

I am of the nature that has not an atom of attachment.

I am of the nature of the immaculate Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

18

I am ever of the nature of Existence alone.

I am ever of the nature of Consciousness alone.

I am ever of the nature of only the good.

I am ever of the nature of the middle path.

I am ever of the nature of the nondual.

I am of the nature of the Self of all.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

19

I am ever the unfading Bliss.

I am all pervasive and motionless.

I am ever volitionless.

I am the Supreme and cannot be comprehended by anything.

I am ever without intellect and such.

I am ever the abode that transcends the intellect.

I am ever the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

20

I am of the nature that is without an atom of delusion.

I am of the nature that has no attributes of illusion.

I am of the nature that is that is without mind or such.

I am of the nature that is without desire or such.

I am of the nature that is without form or such.

I am of the nature that is without any modifications of these.

I am of the nature of the immaculate Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

21

I am of the nature without any waker and others.

I am of the nature without waking and such.

I am of the nature of the Knowledge of the fourth state.

I am of the nature of the Supreme Siva.

I am of the nature that is defectless.

I am of the nature of Consciousness, devoid of worldly misery.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

22

I am ever of the nature of the Lord.

I am ever of the nature of Supreme Knowledge.

I am ever of the nature of the all pervasive.

I am ever of the nature of empirical knowledge.

I am ever of the nature of being all.

I am of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

23

I am ever Brahman, the taintless.

I am ever Brahman, the partless.

I am ever Brahman, the afflictionless.

I am ever Brahman, the pure.

I am ever Brahman, the attributeless.

I am ever Brahman, the peerless.

I am ever the pure Supreme.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

24

I am the world with all names and forms.

I am of the nature of the substratum of all.

I am the front, the back, the sides, the top, and the bottom.

I am of the nature of the undivided Knowledge.

I am of the nature of the Bliss that is myself

Without an atom apart from it.

I am ever of the nature of the undivided Supreme.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

25

I am of the rare nature unattainable by the ignorant,

Who have no Knowledge of the Self.

I am of the nature of the Supreme, easily attainable

By those with Knowledge of the Self.

I am of the nature of the Supreme,

The all pervasive, undivided Space of Consciousness.

I am of the nature of the pure Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

26

I am ever of the nature of the undivided Absolute,

Without the sextet of modifications. (birth, growth, death, etc.)

I am ever of the nature of the undivided Absolute,

Without bondage and ever free.

I am ever of the nature of the complete Bliss,

Remaining undisturbed.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

27

I am ever of the nature of the peaceful Brahman,

Without a trace of sankalpa (fixed idea, concept, volition) or delusion.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman,

The undivided Light without day or night.

I am ever of the nature of the undivided Supreme Bliss,

With an atom of an ego or such.

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

28

I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman,

The undivided Knowledge without an ego.

It is the ego that is ever the misery of worldly existence.

The great Truth is that there is no ego

And that these is not an atom apart from me.

I am the undivided, complete, and full.

I am ever the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

29

You are “I”; I am “I”; all else that is, is “I.”

There is no doubt about this.

Without any duality, be continuously immersed in the meditation

That the pure “I” is the Supreme Brahman.

There is no delusion, no consequences of delusion,

And no difference of any kind whatever-nothing at all.

I am the Supreme Brahman.

Inquire steadfastly into this every day.

30

Without me, there is nothing that is the meaning for the term “That.”

Without me, there is nothing that is the meaning for the term “you.”

Without me, there is nothing that is the meaning for the term “are.”

Without me, there is nothing undivided.

Without me, there is no reality or unreality.

Without me, there is no intelligence or insentience.

Without me, there is not a thing, ever.

Be ever immersed in the meditation that I am Brahman.

31

Without me, there is no difference as “this man.”

Without me, there is no difference as “this woman.”

Without me, there is no difference as “this thing.”

Without me, there is no difference as “that thing.”

Without me, there is no difference such as “is here.”

Without me, there is no difference such as “is not here.”

Without me, there is not an atom of difference.

Be ever immersed in the meditation that I am Brahman.

32

What is seen as “this” is Brahman only.

What is seen as myself is Brahman only.

What is seen as “that” is Brahman only.

What is seen as manifold is Brahman only.

What is seen as stable is Brahman only.

What is seen as unstable is Brahman only.

Whatever is looked at as “What is this?” is Brahman alone.

Be ever immersed in the meditation that I am That.

33

The primal ignorance is Brahman alone.

The emerging thought is Brahman alone.

The body with a form is Brahman alone.

The individual senses are Brahman alone.

Time and space Brahman alone.

All things that are seen are Brahman alone.

All is only Brahman, the abode, and that is myself.

Be ever immersed in the meditation that I am That.

34

Space and other elements are Brahman alone.

All that pertains to nature is Brahman alone.

What is thought of as “I,” “I” is Brahman alone.

What is thought of as “not I” is Brahman alone.

What are thought of as “you” and “I” are Brahman alone.

All thoughts are Brahman alone.

The originless Brahman alone is real, that That is myself.

Be steadfastly immersed in this inquiry.

35

There is no such things as the words or the sentences they constitute.

There is not Gita or other treatises or their authors.

There is none of the unreal world or jiva-s.

There is no Iswara who bestows desired things.

The Supreme Brahman, which is drossless, attributeless,

Timeless, blemishless, intersticeless, all pervasive, and motionless, is all.

I am that Brahman.

Be steadfastly immersed in this inquiry.

36

I am Brahman; I am Brahman; I, indeed am all.

I am Brahman; I am all.

Daily and continuously be immersed in this inquiry

Until this mode of “I am Brahman” becomes stabilized.

After this “I am Brahman” bhava (conviction) is stabilized,

Cast this off, too, and, becoming Brahman,

Be established changeless

In the undivided, blissful Experience.

37

Those who sincerely practice (the Knowledge)

That I am the Supreme Brahman—

Of the nature of the eternal, partless, delusionless, taintless,

Afflictionless, blemishless, motionless, ancient mass of Bless,

The Reality, the utterly peaceful Consciousness—

Will have the awareness of Nonduality

And thereby become the undivided Supreme.

There is no doubt of this.

38

Hence, until all differentiation disappears, one should always remain

In this beneficent bhava (conviction)

That all is Brahman

And I am, indeed, that Supreme Brahman—

With love, with ardor, and without differences

Until all uncertainty and confusion disappear totally—

And, unmindful of anything else,

Be in repose in Bliss.

39

In this exposition thus given to me by the Supreme Siva,

The4re is not an atom of doubt.

It is the Truth, the Truth. There is no doubt about it.

Whoever listens to this, and understand this—even once—

Will be liberated and become

The one Supreme Brahman.

I have graciously told you this true meaning,

Which is extremely rare to find anywhere.

40

Son! Only those who

Smeared with holy ashes,

Decked with rudraksha, and devoted to Siva,

Are ever in meditation upon the Supreme Siva

Will be rid of the sorrowful bondage of worldly existence

And become of the nature of that one Supreme Siva.

This the great sage Ribhu explained to Nidagha

The mediation of Oneness.

41

It is the perfectly full form of our Lord in a state of joyous dance that tells

Of the meditation that the wonderful beings that appear, the mysterious world that appears as if dual, and the ancient Lord (Isvara) who is eulogized

Are all the perfectly full Absolute and nothing apart,

And I am ever that Absolute; I am all.

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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.