What I can say about Ribhu Gita, after reading cover to cover — still I realize, I need to read it a number of times.
Ribhu Gita is about “that,” for which every seeker aspires; this text has the authoritative knowledge — about reality vs. illusion, or say, truth vs. untruth — in a way that if one understands profoundly, I wouldn’t exaggerate but the Self realization is possible in a second.
Ribhu Gita gives no mantra to chant, no kriya to practise, no God to worship; what it gives is only — understanding. It demands nothing but firm conviction and a sharp intellect to penetrate in truth. And above all a discriminative mind-set.
I love these particular kind of texts ‘coz they don’t solicit blind faith, or say, “Do this a number of years then see the result.” Everything is quick here if the mind is mature enough.
I’m attempting to write a review of this great text about which Ramana Maharshi said, “Recitation of Ribhu Gita is as good as Samadhi,” and “it does not matter if you don’t understand the book. Just go through it, it will be of immense benefit to you.”
The Ribhu Gita
(Sixth Amsa of Sri Siva Rahaysam)
Second Edition; ISBN: 978-81-8288-088-7
Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam
Paperback, pp:738; 200 INR
Ribhu, the mind-born son of Brahma, sought divine secret from Shiva1 Himself; and Shiva granted his wish by disclosing this knowledge to him. On sage Ribhu name, the text was called Ribhu Gita. Later on Ribhu passed this knowledge to Nidagha2, and it kept passing on sage to sage — till this time I’m having this text in my hand.
It has 50 chapters, and title of each chapter is given at the end of each chapter; even the initial content page doesn’t show any title other than the chapter number and its location — but for my convenience I wrote titles as per given at the end of each chapter and few times out of my own understanding, here are these:
(1) Ribhu invocation to Shiva. (2) Dialogue b/w Shiva & Ribhu on the instruction of sutras. (3) Dialogue b/w Shiva & Ribhu. (4) Dialogue b/w Ribhu & Nidagha. (5) Description of Shiva teachings to Kumara. (6) Definition of the world as being consciousness. (7) Description of one’s Self. (8) Determination of world being void & non-existent. (9) Determination of “I am Brahman3.” (10) Ablution to Brahman & Oblation to Self. (11) Liberated while alive. (12) Liberation from the body. (13) All is Self. (14) Bliss of the Self. (15) Brahman alone is all. (16) You are consciousness alone. (17) Compendium of all system of philosophy. (18) Dialogue b/w Ribhu and Nidagha. (19) Brahmic bliss. (20) Glory of the Self. (21) Rejection of the whole world. (22) Abandonment of name and form. (23) Secret instructions. (24) Establishing “I am Brahman.” (25) Determination of Brahman being all forms. (26) Mind filled with nectar of knowledge. (27) Nature of Bliss. (28) Self without characteristics. (29) Teachings of being full of that. (30) Unitary nature of Brahman. (31) Meaning of great aphorism. (32) Illusory nature of all. (33) Form of Being-Awareness-Bliss. (34) Attaining Brahman through examples. (35) Disposition in Brahman. (36) Ditto. (37) Settled conclusion. (38) Hollowness of the world. (39) Subsidence of all. (40) Restraint of mental modes. (41) Preeminence of treatise. (42) Nidagha experience. (43) Ditto. (44) Ditto. (45) Nidagha hymn to the guru. (46) Knowledge bestowing vows of Shiva. (47) Abridged instruction of Ribhu. (48) Vows and instructions of Shiva. (49) Explanation of Shiva in Vishnu. (50) Attainment of liberation by Sudarshana.
These chapters are like your two eyes; as I can’t say which one is better than the other — same way, I can’t say if few chapters are better than others, all are supreme. I find Ashtavakra Gita in ‘em; Yoga Vasistha in ‘em; the book Illusion vs. Reality by Ranjit Ji in ‘em; Kaivalya Navneeta in ‘em. And Ribhu Gita itself says that it is the cream of all Vedas4.
Let’s use some cream.
When I was reading it, I kept on bookmarking it, and later on realized that I had marked almost each page of the book (it has 738 pages). So, better to select things randomly from start to finish.
One problem is, I don’t know Sanskrit — so I need to trust the translator and go ahead accordingly … I wish I knew Sanskrit! Anyway, let’s continue:
“Until a well-guided effort is embarked upon, Jnana does not dawn even in a hundred lives. That is, Jnana is the fruit of a conscious, meaningful and systematically directed practice and not the consequence of a specified number of lives spanning a defined period of time. In short, it is the result of ‘active’ endeavor and not a time-bound passive programme. Intensity of effort alone determines the speed with which the outcome is attained.”5
This text is clear cut. Yes, well-guided efforts are necessary to cultivate understanding about what have been said; and level of intensity or earnestness shows our inner urge, or say dedication or devotion — to the thing we really, really want. Even, according to this text, daily Tarpan6 and daily Homa7 — that are mandatory for Hindus — are not rituals but to contemplate about the Brahman in its magnificence.
Buddhism is about purifying the mind and transcend duality. But this text rejects the mind from its very root; again and again has been said that mind and its thoughts are just illusion, the hell — and the world is empty and hollow. And in transcendental state “All is Brahman; only Brahman alone is.” Though the transcendental state can only be experienced but with discrimination and analysis, we can take a plunge in that.
About mind and thoughts
“The phenomenal world, the mind faculty, the ego sense, the individuality do not exist. Brahman being alone, all these are naught, ever.”8
“Whatever uttered in the least; whatever fancied through imagination and whatever thought of by the mind — are all illusory. There is no doubt about this.”9
“Whatever is thought of by the mind, whatever is willed anytime, whatever is decided by the intellect — are all like horn of a hare.”10
“The assertion ‘I am the body’ is defined as mind only. In all the three periods of time it is not. All is Brahman alone.”11
“One who is beyond the modes of the mind, who does not illuminate them and who is devoid of all such mental activity alone is the videhamukta.”12
“I am ever the all-round perfection, devoid of the adjuncts of knowledge. I am devoid of the activity of mind. There is nothing such as mind for me.” 13
“The concept of the world is non-existent, nor is there any form in the least to be seen. Thought and its activity are of the form of unreality. The world is verily naught.” 14
If you think “Mind is eternal” then what happens to it in a deep sleep; obviously there is no mind — but still you are aware that you’ve slept well. Further, mind is just a collection of thoughts; and if you start seeking the source of thoughts — there is no thought and no mind. For a thought, a thinker is needed; so both are different, one is permanent and other comes and goes. The permanent is real, the Self. Above, I just took few verses but the whole Ribhu Gita is filled with these kind of knowledge.
World is empty and hollow
“Whatever trace of this world one hears or one sees of it, the form that is seen and the form of seer are all like horn of a hare.”`15
“Earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect, ego and transcendental light are all like horn of a hare.”16
“Destruction, birth, truth, the world and heavenly systems, merit, sin, victory and delusion are all like horn of a hare.”17
“The gross body, the subtle body, the cause and effect even, and what little of seen and seeing there is, are all like horn of a hare.”18
Everything comes from the Self and everything goes back to the Self. Earth dissolves in water; water dries in fire; fire dies out in air; air disappears is space; and space in Self. Physical body never remains the same; whatever is seen comes with an expiry date. But who knows the world is empty and hollow is “eternal.” That is Brahman, or say, Self.
“I alone am the supreme Brahman; I alone am the transcendental happiness. I alone am; I alone am myself. I am only Brahman.”19
“I am of the nature of perfection, ever. I am Being-Consciousness-Bliss. I am of the form of non-duality only. I am Brahman alone.”20
“I am of the indefinable form. I am devoid of beginning or end. I am not of the nature of created matter. I am only Brahman.” 21
“I am devoid of all names. I am without all forms. I lack all attachments. I am Brahman alone.”22
The glory of Self like this, in Siddharameshwar Maharaj terms, you become god of gods, the sun shines, and wind blows by your power. You become the greatest of the greatests; nothing remains impossible for you. All the Siddhis or Occult powers worship your feet; though, not a bit of desire remains in their indulgence — you remain Self-fulfilled.
Secret instructions for Self-realization
Earlier, as a rule, knowledge of the Self was not given just to anybody. The scriptures were kept hidden; gurus gave the knowledge only to the worthy ones. I wonder if some scriptures might have lost that way. But these days what is available anybody can access; so taking few verses of secret instructions in Ribhu Gita:
“The abidance that Brahman alone am I should be the practice always — Brahman alone am I. There is no doubt of this. Being-Consciousness-Bliss alone am I.”23
“‘I am of the nature of Self that is Bliss. Nothing else exists’ — feel thus. Then renouncing even that abide as the one alone.” 24
“Thereupon, forsaking even that ever remains attributeless. Renouncing even the attributelessness, thereafter, one should transcend speech.”25
“Renouncing even the transcendence of speech rest as just being consciousness alone. Renouncing even the transcendence of the Self, have succor in just Brahman.” 26
“Renouncing being just consciousness too, be supported by complete quiescence. Renouncing the complete quiescence also, be of the great quiescence.”27
“Renouncing the great quiescence too take refuge in quiescence of mind. Renouncing the quiescence of mind too, take up the quiescence of jiva.”28
“Renouncing the quiescence of jiva rest in the void of jiva. Renouncing the rejection of the void, be as you are.”29
“Renouncing even the abidance, go beyond speech and mind. Thereafter there is nothing to say nor there is anything to perceive.”30
“Or else, renounce everything. ‘Brahman alone am I’ — proclaim thus. Remember always. Reflect always. Ever meditate upon the attributeless.”31
Self is without second; even thoughts, mind, body — everything it perceives, is objective. That’s why renounce and renounce. Whatever experience takes place, it is only in duality; Self alone is. Verses of Ribhu Gita are like, A hammer is striking in front of you — and with each strike it says, “This is it! This is it!”
It is a paradox: world is illusion but world is just a Brahman; or mind is illusion but mind is just a Brahman. It is something like a headache. We can understand that whatever we perceive is all transient; and in our dreams we feel same as we do in day time — so when the thoughts run, everything is just a dream; and, Self is without a second. But to understand all is Brahman, looks terrible. The people who are realized understand that “all is Brahman” is truth. So journey rolls on with negation “Neti Neti” this is not it, this is not it: I’m not mind, I’m not body, I’m not senses, I’m not “I.” But ends with ‘I’m everything’: I’m in rocks, I’m in trees, I’m the wind, I’m the sun, I’m the moon, I’m in animals and birds and in nasty humans.
Jnana yoga looks simple, but attaining the Brahman which already exists — is not so easy. Ribhu Gita hard accelerates on “well guided efforts” and “firm conviction”; if you’ve understood something, you won’t and can’t take a step back. Otherwise. No progress even in hundreds of lives.
P.S. If you are interested in listening Ribhu Gita chants, you can buy it from here.
1. Shiva is called Siva in South India.
2. I often mistype his name.
3. Brahman or Self, same words.
4. Vedas: Atharvaveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Rigveda
5. Ribhu Gita, p.20
6. Tarpan: offering water to ancestors, devatas and gods.
7. Homa: havan, offering into fire.
8. Ribhu Gita, p.109
9. Ibid., p.119
10. Ibid., p.149
11. Ibid., p.155
12. Ibid., p.228
13. Ibid., p.407
14. Ibid., p.543
15. Ibid., p.145
17. Ribhu Gita, p.146
19. Ribhu Gita, p.94
20. Ibid, p.95
23. Ribhu Gita, p.395
27. Ribhu Gita, p.396
31. Ribhu Gita, p.397
Right now what is your mood, I don’t know. If feeling dejected, I have a cure; you just need to take your hand and put it on your heart, try to slow it down first. And for vitality and energizing the body activate the Thymus gland in the following way:
First thing first, precaution! never rub on it, nor give it a hard stroke — this one and all glands in the body are very sensitive if taken roughly can produce adverse result.
The way is, take your fingers and softly pat the Thymus gland 20-22 times, and then feel what happens. If it activates you will feel happy and energized. Better if you do in the morning and feel good till the evening.
P.S. Thymus gland images link. (Sorry! couldn’t find CC image to upload here.)
“Because when you allow a movement of your mind to result in a concept of the Buddha, you are bringing into existence an objective being capable of being Enlightened.” Page 81, The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, ISBN 0802150926 (ISBN13: 9780802150929)
So, what do you think, spirituality is subjective or objective? Subjectivity is oneness. And objectivity is creation of mind. Above lines of Huang Po is very enlightening ‘coz you can’t enlighten an object–no matter how hard and for how many decades you try. It is only when we discard all the objects and conceptual thinking from the mind, then only Self remains.
“If you are identified by the seen, you are destroyed.” -Siddharameshwar Maharaj, Master of Self Realization
Why? Reason one, Self is one without second. Reason two, what is second, is objective, temporary, comes and goes: gross body is not permanent, subtle body is not permanent, causal body is not permanent, bliss body is not permanent. Nothing objective is permanent.
“World is Illusion” this contemplation helps in returning to Subjectivity. Later on, spiritual texts say, “World is one mind,” or “All is Self or say Brahman,” or, in other words as Siddharameshwar has said, “there is none other but me.” Same lord Krishna has said, “I live in everyone’s heart.”
In short, many is illusion, because there is oneness only. Let’s check out some authority in this subject:
From the book Illusion vs. Reality [this book is available at Sadguru.us]
“Be indifferent to things because they do not exist. Nothing can touch you. You are unattached. The mind must come to the point of complete understanding of the illusion. There lies your state. Nothing remains for he has understood. There is no more gain or loss. Don’t ask if you can achieve Reality because you are the reality, so why say “Can I?”. First of all get out of the circle. Leave everything one after the other, and go deep in your Self. Come back then, and be in the All.” -Ranjit Maharaj
“The master and the seeker are illusion because there are One.” -Ranjit Maharaj
“Your mind must accept that all is illusion, and only illusion. Then you will be the greatest of the greatest.” -Ranjit Maharaj
“Nothing can touch me, nothing can limit me, nothing can fathom me, and nothing can evaluate me. Because it is all illusion.” -Ranjit Maharaj
“What you have described [bliss] is a good state, no doubt, but go little further. When the mind accept all is illusion, and only illusion, then you are in your Self. The body and mind are illusion. You should be happy to know that. Get rid of your identification. The only thing that the Master does is to show you the real value of the Power which is in you, to which you pay no attention.” -Ranjit Maharaj
“Transient this world, like phantoms and dreams, substance it has none. Renounce it and forsake your kin. Cut the string of love and hatred. If without effort you remain loosely in the natural state, soon Mahamudra you will win and attain the non-attainment.” -Tilopa
Yog Vasishta [ this book is availabe at bookstore.sriramanamaharshi.org ]
“Whatever is seen does not truly exist. It is like the mythical city of Gandharvas or a mirage.” -Yog Vasistha
“The bliss of a man of discrimination, who has rejected Samsara and discarded all mental concepts, constantly increases.” -Yog Vasistha
“Firmly convinced of non-duality and enjoying perfect mental peace, yogis go about their work seeing the world as if it were a dream.” -Yog Vasistha
“O Rama, there is no intellect, no nescience, no mind and no individual soul (jiva). They are all imagined in Brahman.” -Yog Vasishta
“He is Jnani who knows beyond doubt that all that is seen is only ephemeral like a dream.” -Kaivalya Navneeta
“To the degree that you turn away from ‘attachment to the unreal’, your inner vision of reality develops. If by a steady practice of this kind, the mind comes under control and becomes aware as consciousness Self, you can abide as the ocean of bliss though living in the bitter body.” Kaivalya Navneeta
“Know that which has form to be unreal and the formless to be permanent.” -Ashtavakra
“The world appears from the ignorance of the Self and disappears with the knowledge of the Self, even as the snake appears from the non-cognition of the rope and disappears with its recognition.” -Ashtavakra
“The body is made of food, as the mind is made of thoughts. Seen them as they are. Non-identification, when natural and spontaneous, is liberation.” -Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Discover all that you are not — body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that; nothing concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.” -Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Treating everything as a dream liberates–this is the truth.” -Nisargadatta Maharaj
“Realize that every mode of perception is objective, that what is seen or heard, touched or smell, felt of thought, expected or imagined, is in the mind not in reality.” -Nisargadatta Majaraj
Ribhu Gita [ this book is availabe at bookstore.sriramanamaharshi.org ]
“Whatever trace of this world one hears or one sees of it, the form that is seen and the form of seer are all like the horn of a hare.” -2, chap 8
“Earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect, ego and transcendental light are all like horn of a hare.” -3, chap 8
“Destruction, birth, truth, the world and heavenly system, merit, sin, victory and delusion are all like the horn of a hare.” -4, chap 8
“Lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride, delirium, infatuation, steadfastness, Guru, disciple, teaching and such are all like the horn of a hare.” -5, chap 8
“The organs of knowledge, the five subtle senses, the group of organs of action, waking, dream, sleep and relevant stated are all like horn of a hare.” -11, chap 8
Important! There are number of verses in Ribhu Gita that show World is Illusion, and all is Brahman (Self). The whole book is transcendental. Highly recommended by Ramana Maharshi.
Master of Self Realization [ this book is available at Sadguru.us ]
“If very keen discrimination is not used, one only becomes confused. Discard the world with the help of knowledge. Anything that is “second”, or “other”, the imaginary person, the individual etc., all of these things, are worldly and based only in illusion. The imaginary person who is of this world must die. The ego must be dissolved. The concept that I’m a separate individual, a jiva, must be destroyed. To do this is the “true spirituality”. It is not necessary to recognize what Brahman is. Only remove the “I” that is in between. It is enough if this “I” is gone. This “I” is itself the imaginary person. In fact, there is no such thing as “I” at all, yet it comes into being. Brahman is something quite different from this “I”. -Siddharameshwar Maharaj
The Zen Teaching of Huang Po
“The arising and the elimination of illusion are both illusory. Illusion is not something rooted in Reality; it exists because of your dualistic thinking. If you will only cease to indulge in opposed concepts such as “ordinary” and ‘enlightened’, illusion will cease to itself. And then if you still want to destroy it wherever it may be, you will find that there is not a hairsbreadth left to anything on which to lay hold. This is the meaning of: ‘I will let go with both hands, for then I shall certainly discover the Buddha in my Mind.’ -Huang Po
Words of any spiritual guru don’t help; knowledge from the greatest scriptures doesn’t work — unless there is a sharp mind to discriminate b/w real and unreal and then firm conviction to leave unreal and to establish in real, forever.
Mind exists on veiling and projection. The reality is prior to the mind. Firm conviction helps defeating it with itself.
Here is authority on firm conviction:
“Being the Self of the nature of firm conviction filled with the Reality of firm conviction, being the peaceful Self of firm conviction, with a mind of firm conviction, being all-full Self of firm conviction, being blemishless with firm conviction, being the individual Self of firm conviction — all doubts are destroyed thus. Firm conviction alone is the hallmark of the knowledge of Brahman [Self] here.” 24-26, chap 23, Ribhu Gita
“Firm conviction alone is the criterion of verbal knowledge. Firm conviction alone is the cause for the wealth of liberation here.” 27 chap 23, Ribhu Gita
“Other than this firm conviction, there is no liberation, none, none at all — be of this determination. Certitude is the cause of liberation. Indeed, there can be no other cause.” 14, chap 47, Ribhu Gita
“By becoming fixed in this knowledge, one can attain to the transcendental nature like My own. Thus established, one is not born at the time of creation or disturbed at the time of dissolution.” 14.2, Bhagavad Gita As It Is
Master of Self Realization
“One who has absolutely no doubt, is the Siddha,” – Siddharameshwar
“When your loyalty is proven, the state of Brahman [Self] is yours.” – Siddharameshwar
Words of Nisargadatta Maharaj
“You must have a firm conviction that ‘I am’ is only that ‘I am’ without body-mind form – the knowledge ‘I am’ purely. You say all these things, but has the knowledge come within the purview of the knowledge? You must have that full conviction, whatever you may have said, that is the truth and that is ‘I am’. There are no techniques, except the technique that ‘I am’ the firm conviction that ‘I am’ means ‘I am’ only, abidance in ‘I’. Don’t practice this thing, only develop your conviction.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj
Words of Poonjaji (Papa ji)
“You have to be very strong and tight fisted with your decision not to be lead away by those friends who trouble you. Shun their company, even if they are related to you. Nobody can trouble you if you decide to be free. You have to make a firm decision then nothing can trouble you. If you are weak, everybody will trouble you. But if you simply keep quiet I don’t think any thought can come. Simply decide to sit quiet. Then nothing can touch you. Until now it is only that your decision has been weak.” – Papaji
Once Vishnu and Brahma see a pillar of light of infinite length. They bet each other “Who finds its end will be superior to other.” Vishnu goes down and down, and Brahma up and up — time passes by but end is not coming. When their efforts dry out, they start returning to original place. While returning Brahma sees a flower coming down from the above and asks it to become a witness that he has seen the end of pillar — the flower agrees (How can it refuse to Brahma?). Consequently Brahma proves his superiority over Vishnu with his lie.
Now Shiva, who is the pillar of light himself, gets angry. With rage he takes spear and cuts down one of five heads with which Brahma has uttered a lie. Since then Brahma is seen with four heads.
Oops! Brahma denotes Sattvic quality, and he contains four Vedas in his hand. Maybe after losing one of his heads he becomes Sattvic stuff. Or, we can understand the qualities (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) are interchangeable and ego has part in it. The real state is stateless, beyond qualities. In a quality still duality appears. If Self is identified with any of the qualities — it is lost, which might have happened to Brahma.
Before leaving home:
And, they say that above help in numerous ways: removing obstacles, protection from negative energies and attacks and so on.
I wonder, if these kinds of things work, how do they work? What is the energy concept behind ‘em? As everything is none but made of energy.
In Hindi we say “Tere Dimak Par Parda Pada Hua Hai,” when we find a person can not see through something. In English it is “veiling.”
We understand scriptures, other great books, the teachings of great spiritual gurus, talk and discuss about ‘em–yet we do all the things according to our old ideas or say conditioning. When we act this way, we are suffering from the veiling syndrome.
That’s why any amount of spiritual knowledge never works; because we never work on veiling, but work on the ego–we know this and that.
A great woman shakes me inside, when I see her in 25 or 25 plus years of long sadhana, chanting Rama and Rama; but she is so racist she can not eat food or take water if she finds that it is touched by a low caste person. She wears “tulsi mala” and even has donated a cow, considering cow will help after her death.
Or, some people when they find you have left their guru; they either drag you back again, or if you don’t give in, they unfriend you. I wonder if spirituality is some kind of politics.
Seriously, if your consciousness is stick to nonsense, it will only produce that–no matter how much amount of Sadhana you do. Our “Self” is so powerful, whatever comes in it, is manifested in many folds.
Whatever we feel, think and put in memory–is not different from Sadhana. Suppose, if 2 hours go in Sadhana and 6 hours go in jealousy and hatred. Will Sadhna be beneficial? No! It is just not a ritual but it is more about understanding and wisdom, and using them even in the smallest act of our lives.
I’ve seen many families destroyed: people either divorced or ruined out of their lives. It is just not b/w a husband and wife but it affects their brothers, sisters and parents. I don’t think everyone smoothly sail through the bond of marriage. When they choose the wrong ship, it is bound to be drowned. Better learn some swimming?
The things I’m going to talk about perhaps you are not aware of: when parents of wrong mentality marry their girl in other family, they want all the members (mainly the brother) of her husband must die and all the property for the girl. And reverse also true when a boy wants to take over of his in-laws property. It is something like a king who spreads his empire by killing those who don’t surrender to him.
The fault is not in stars but in choice! People think if a girl is beautiful and educated, that’s enough. Or a boy if earns well, that’s enough. In each side of family one needs a boy and other needs a girl–and they discard the rest of the family. And don’t bother about the family’s history, values or the wrong values, way of thinking, mentality and so on. What happens next? Imagine. Disaster!
On the other hand, some people do care about the air of the family: values and mentality. And for them it doesn’t matter if the girl is not educated right now, and boy doesn’t earn well right now–they know if seeds are good and well nourished, the fruits are going to be sweeter, sooner or later. But these type of people are less: they are the people who have known life, have solid understanding about it, know that inner makes the outer.
In fact choosing wrong or right partner, happens both in love and arrange marriage. It’s all depend upon what the insight or poor sight, they have inside. Wrong choice, obviously, is terrible. Get away as fast and as soon as possible.