Author Topic: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:  (Read 1499 times)


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Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« on: February 24, 2013, 05:32:30 PM »

One of Sri Bhagavan's favorite traditional spiritual works was the Ribhu Gita. It is an important text in the history of His
instruction for those close devotees who gravitated to Him. Sri Bhagavan's first attendant, Pazhaniswami, brought a copy to
Bhagavan's attention while He was residing at the mango tree grove near Gurumoortham in 1898. Later in life Sri Bhagavan
related how surprised He was at the time to hear an exact description of His own state recited in the Ribhu Gita and that it had
been experienced by others and was the bliss of the Self sought after by all true seekers.

'I had read no books other than Periya Puranam, my Bible lessons and bits of Tayumanavar or Tevaram.  My notion of God (Isvara)
was similar to that found in the Puranas.  I had not heard then of Brahman, samsara, etc.,  I had no idea that there was an
Essence or Impersonal Real underlying everything, and that myself and Isvara were both identical with It. At Tiruvannamalai, as I
listened to Ribhu Gita and other works, I picked up these facts and discovered that these books were analyzing and naming what I had
previously felt intuitively without analysis and name.  In that language of books I could describe my mental or spiritual condition
after my awakening, as Suddha Manas or Vijnana i.e the Intuition of the Illumined. (Self Realization by B.V. Narasimha Swami, Ch. 5)

The text itself is contained in a Sanskrit epic, the Siva Rahasya, which is primarily devoted to the glory of Lord Siva. It describes
renowned Saivite centers  of pilgrimage, holy rivers, religious observances, spiritual instructions and other topics in the manner of
Puranas. In the Sixth Amsa or Part VI of this twelve part work of about 10,000 verses, there occurs on the slope of Mound Kedara
in the Himalayas a dialogue on the Supreme Brahman between the Sage Ribhu and Sage Nidagha. This exposition in the form of a
dialogue is typical of the Upanishads. The sage Ribhu figures in such ancient text as the traditional anthology of 108, Upanishads such
as the 37th, Tejobinbdu Upanishad of the Krishna Yajur Veda. H. H. Sri Chandrasekhara declared the Ribhu Gita is to the Siva Rahasya what the Bhagavad Gita to the Mahabharata.       

Arunachala Siva.


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Re: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2013, 01:46:07 PM »


The book was translated into Tamizh by Sri Ulaganatha Swamigal, in the 1880s and was praised by the Paramacharya who said
it excelled the original Sanskrit. The final verse of each of he forty four chapters differs dramatically from the Sanskrit version The
concluding verse also encapsulates the meaning of entire chapter. It was this version which was often read before Sri Bhagavan.
He would in later life speak about the Ashtavakra Gita and Ribhu Gita as being the two principle texts which enunciated in great
detail he nature of the Self - Brahmaswarupa (Letters, Suri Nagamma, 24th April 1948.)

The concept of Brahman is covered in the Ribhu Gita by 1,924 verses contained in 44 chapters.  The text is uncompromisingly
Advaitic. It is adamant and unremitting in the assertion that the Supreme Brahman, 'That',  is all that exists. That there is nothing else
which exists apart from the Self which is Brahman. Brahman is the Self (Atman), our true indisputable being. This awareness is
moksha or liberation, which is the conviction that I am Brahman. That Brahman is all is stressed again and again in a plethora of
positive affirmations.

On the other hand the Ribhu Gita also explains the truth about Brahman by the removal of every possible theory about Brahman and
the elimination of all fictitious identification or thought about oneself.  The intention of the Gita is the removal of all false ideas and
thus there is an awakening from all illusions which bind us to the ignorance of our true nature.  Self alone is; it is without beginning
and thus never ending, since it exists  our concepts of time and space.


Arunachala Siva.               


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Re: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 01:58:46 PM »


In describing the Self or Brahman, the Ribhu Gita in verse after verse employs negation  as a means of revelation. Since
the Self can never be objectified it is not possible o say what is the Self.  It cannot be perceived or even conceived of as
a thing because that would make it an object of the senses or the mind, both of which are limited. Thus Brahman is beyond
the reach of the senses and is the witness (sakshi) of all things.  It can never be an object of knowledge for 'Who can know
the knower?' (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, 2.iv.14)

Ignorance (ajnana) consists in the misapprehension of the Self with what is not the Self.  Ignorance confuses the Self with what
is unreal. In the external world ignorance is the obscuring of the bliss (ananda) of the 'Conscious Existence' with the transient objects
of perception . The resultant identification causes suffering. It is the mis-identification and attachment which creates bondage. Ribhu
advocates the use of repeated negation in the inquiry as to what is real (Satya) and what is the Self (Atman) and affirms that this
destroys our ignorance. It is not a question of seeking what is real but destroying the illusion that the unreal exists.


Arunachala Siva.           


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Re: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 06:38:21 PM »


We do not seek to identify the Truth (Satya), but rather we seek to negate the superimposition of illusion and by this, the true
nature of our being (Sat) is revealed. When the clouds of ignorance are dispersed, the sun which is always present can shine.

The Gita is so emphatic because Ribhu is reputed to have obtained this knowledge (Jnana) from the Supreme Lord Siva Himself.
He then was said to have taught to several disciples, principal among them was Nidagha.

There is an amusing and instructive story which reveals how Ribhu revealed to his disciple Nigagha the secret that totally transforms
him. There are two versions of the story, one in the Agni Purana, and the other in Vishnu Purana. Based on the latter Purana, Bhagavan
related the story in Maharshi's Gospel, Book II, ch. I.

Devotee: Instead of asking Who am I? can I put the question to myself Who are you?, since then, my mind may be fixed on You who I
consider to be god in the form of Guru. Perhaps I would be nearer the goal of my quest by that inquiry than by asking myself Who am I?

Maharshi: Whatever form your enquiry may take, you much finally come to the One I, the Self.

All these distinctions made between I and You, Master and disciple etc., are merely a sing of one's ignorance. The "I'-Supreme" alone is
and to think other wise is to delude oneself.


Arunachala Siva.               


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Re: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 01:51:16 PM »


A Puranic story of Sage Ribhu and his disciple Nidagha is particularly instructive in this context.

Although Ribhu taught his disciple the supreme Truth of the One Brahman without a second, Nidagha, in spite of his erudition
and understanding, did not get sufficient conviction to adopt and follow the path of Jnana but settled down in his native town
to lead a life devoted to the observance of ceremonial religion.

But the Sage loved his disciple as a the latter venerated his Master.  In spite of his age, Ribhu would himself go to his disciple
in the town, just how far the latter had outgrown his ritualism. At times the Sage went in disguise, so that he might observe how
Nidagha would act when he did not know that he was being observed by his Master.

On one such occasion, Ribhu, who had put on the disguise of a village rustic, found Nidagha intently watching a royal procession.
Unrecognized by the town dweller Nidagha, the village rustic inquired what the bustle was all about, and was told that the king
was going in procession.

'Oh, it is the king. He goes in procession! But where is he?' asked the rustic.

'There, on the elephant' said Nidagha.

'You say the king is on the elephant. Yes I see two,' said the rustic. 'But which is the king and which is the elephant?'

'What!' exclaimed Nidagha. 'You see the two, but do not know that the man above is the king, and the animal below is the elephant?
Where is the use of talking to a man like you?'

'Pray, be not impatient with an ignorant man like me,'  begged the rustic. 'But you said 'above' and 'below', and what do they mean?'

Nidagha could not stand it any more. 'You see the king and the elephant, the one 'above' and the other 'below'. Yet you want to
know  what is meant by 'above' and 'below'? burst out Nidagha. "If things seen and words spoken can convey so little to you,
action alone can teach you.  Bend forward, and you will know it too well."

The rustic did as he was told.  Nidagha got on his shoulders and said, 'Know it now. I am above as the king, you are below as
the elephant. Is that clear to you?'

'No, not yet', was the rustic's quiet reply. 'You say you are above like the king, and I am below like the elephant. The 'king' the 'elephant', 'above' and 'below', so far it is clear. But pray, tell me what you mean by 'I' and 'you'?

When Nidagha was thus confronted all of a sudden with the mighty problem of defining the 'you' apart from the 'I', light
dawned on his mind.  At once he jumped down and fell at his Master's feet, saying, 'Who else but my venerable master Ribhu,
could have thus drawn my mind from the superficialities of physical existence to the true Being of the Self?

"Oh! benign Master, I crave thy blessings!"


Arunachala Siva.             


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Re: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 04:17:13 PM »


Therefore, while your aim is to transcend here and now these superficialities of physical existence, through atma vichara, where
is the scope for making the distinction of 'you' and 'I', which pertain only to the body?  When you turn the mind within, seeking the
source of thought, where is the 'you' and whee is the 'I'?

You should seek and be the Self that includes all.

The importance of the Ribhu Gita can be gauged from the fact Sri Bhagavan right from the days of Virupaksha Cave, often recommended
its recitation and sat with His devotees, on many occasions, when they chanted it. He encouraged devotees to regularly read and
study the Ribhu Gita.  He also affirmed that its repetition was powerful aid to Self inquiry and said, 'These readings from the Ribhu
Gita are as good as Samadhi (Self Realization, B.V. Narasimha Swami) By chanting the Gita the mind becomes more and more attuned
with the Reality.

There is one recorded instance where Sri Bhagavan presented a devotee Sampuranamma with a copy of the Ribhu Gita and asked her
to study it. When she declined to do it on the grounds she did not understand the Gita's purport, Bhagavan persisted and asked herto read it all the same. "It does not matter that you do not understand it.", He said, "still it will be of benefit to you." (Mountain Path,
June 1993.)

Now thanks to the extensive work and cooperation of the 'Society of Abidance in Truth, Santa Cruz, California, USA, we too have a chance to read and recite the complete Ribhu Gita in English translated by Dr. H. Ramamoorthy and Dr. Nome. The Asramam has now published and has on sale a limited number of copies for those devotees visiting Arunachala and Sri Ramanasramam.

(Later, one Sanskrit-English publication has come from Sri Lingeswara Rao and this is also available in Asramam.)


Arunachala Siva.


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Re: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2013, 09:54:45 AM »
The Song of Ribhu:

Chapter 28:



For the benefit of all, I shall tell here,
In the manner of the perfectly full Siva has explained it.
The meaning of the four great aphorisms
That clearly, directly, reveal the nature of the pure Supreme Brahman,
The essence of the crest of the Vedas,
Which is extremely secret and rare
To come by in all the world.


"Absolute Knowledge is Brahman" - Prajnanam Brahman
Which appears at the end of the eminent Rig Veda, is one such aphorism.
The aphorism "I am Brahman" (Aham Brahmasmi),'
Which is at the end of faultless Yajur Veda, is another.
The aphorism "That you are" (tat tvam asi),
At the end of the delusionless Sama Veda, is one such aphorism.
"The Self is Brahman" (Ayam atma Brahman),
At the end of the rare Atharva Veda, is one such aphorism.


Of these  four great statements that are in the four Vedas,
I shall first give the meaning of the first ---
"Prajnanam Brahman" (Absolute Knowledge is Brahman)
Son!  there are two words in this;
Prajnanam (Absolute Knowledge) and Brahman.
Listen to the essential explanation
Of the former word --- Prajnanam (Absolute Knowledge).


Knowledge, itself, is called Absolute Knowledge (Prajnanam),
All is perceived by Knowledge.
As all the world that is seen in Knowledge
Is seen as an illusion in  Knowledge,
There is nothing apart from Knowledge.
All the world and everything else is Knowledge only.
Knowledge is our real nature.
Knowledge is our real nature.
Knowledge is the nature of the Supreme Brahman.


Arunachala Siva.   


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Re: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 01:16:55 PM »

Chapter 28 - translation continues....

5.  The meaning of the world 'Brahman'
Is the Reality, which is Truth-Knowledge-Bliss,
Of the nature of the substratum of the entire universe.
Nothing that is a superimposition on Brahman
Is apart from Brahman.  All that is sentient is only Brahman.
Brahman is our real nature.
Brahman indeed, is of the nature of Absolute Knowledge.

6. The Reality that is Absolute Knowledge is Brahman.
The Reality that is Brahman is Absolute Knowledge,
By such conditioning as ignorance,
The undivided Absolute appears as dual.
When all the conditioning disappear
By the understanding of the aphorism "Absolute Knowledge is Brahman"
The One Reality --- the mass of Knowledge ---
Remains as the undivided meaning.

7. The direct meaning of the word Prajnanam (Absolute Knowledge),
Is the separated, conditioned, individual jiva.
The direct meaning of the word  Brahman
Is the Infinite Lord  (Isvara) conditioned by illusion (Maya).
The one unconditioned Reality
Is the indicated meaning of both words.
The identity of the indicated meaning of both words
Is the undivided meaning of the great aphorism.


Arunachala Siva.     


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Re: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 12:38:01 PM »
Chapter 28 - continues...


Knowing the undivided meaning of the great aphorisms as explained,
With the mind being filled with that Knowledge,
Forgetting all else, all sheaths unveiled
And existing illusionless
Can be said to be the mind in complete immersion in the undivided mode.
It is only those who have realized the undivided mode as told above
Who can easily realize Liberation while alive (jivanmukti).
It is so said in various places.


Attaining the Knowledge that I am, indeed, the Supreme Brahman,
A mass of Existence Consciousness Bliss,
Of peaceful, permanent, and changeless nature,
Eternal, attributeless, delusionless,
Limbless, taintless and non dual,
And remaining in that state
Is said to be the pure, undivided state
By the Sages who realize the subtle.


The state of mind that becomes identified
With the Infinite, undivided Supreme Brahman,
Like salt that dissolves in water,
And becomes one in essence with Brahman,
Thus attaining he Knowledge that I am ever of the nature of the Supreme Brahman
And not in the least of this world of birth and death,
Has been considered by the blemishless sages,
Son ! as the Undivided State.


Arunachala Siva.     


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Re: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 01:52:35 PM »

Chapter 28 continues....


The state declared to be the undivided state
Is the blissful state of Liberation while yet alive.
Later, when the undivided state disappears
And all prarabdha karma also disappears,
The state that ensues as the one undivided essence,
Without the least trace of any conditioning,
Is Liberation out of the body.
Hear further about the state of the one, undivided Essence.


Leaving aside the word Prajnanam that is chanted,
And the word Brahman that has been explained
And also, the devotedly practiced bhava that I am Brahman
And being in the Void without thinking of anything,
and abiding in a state that cannot be felt as anything
Is ever the state of the one undivided Essence.


Being rid of all misapprehensions of the mind
And without any conditioning such as maya
And existing as the nature of the one undivided Essence with nothing apat.
Is Liberation out of body.
Until you attain this state naturally, cast aside all activities
And always uninterruptedly practice the pure, undivided state.


Arunachala Siva.     


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Re: Ribhu Gita - T.V. Ramamurthy - Advent 2003 of Mountain Path:
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2013, 10:37:51 AM »


14. Hear about the nature of faultlessly practicing
In this undivided mode.
Increasingly having the one, faultless, supreme conviction (bhava)
That all  is the undivided Supreme Brahman,
And That, indeed, is I and I am That,
Is the nature of practicing
In the undivided state,  son!

15.  Saying that I am the body is the dual state.
Saying that I am the witness of all, is the witness state.
Saying that I am the one Supreme  is the undivided state.
Rejecting two out of these three,
And assiduously practicing daily the undivided state,
And thereby being rid of all sorrow-producing mental misunderstandings,
Be of the nature of the said undivided state,

translation concluded.

Arunachala Siva.