(Chapter 1) from the Sanskrit Version of 44 chapters
This translation is the first time that this essential and classic work of Advaita Vedanta has been published in English, and in full. It is a consummate work of the spirit, an astonishing description of direct Nondual experience and understanding.
H.H. Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati, a Sankaracharya of the Kamakoti Pitha, has stated in glowing terms that the "Ribhu Gita" is to the Sivarahasya as the "Bhagavad Gita" is to the Mahabharata.
First-hand descriptions of the experience of Nonduality are precious and rare. None is more powerful than this classic. Its uncompromising declaration communicates the uninterrupted direct experience of the Sage known as Ribhu. The language is accessible, forceful -- and points clearly beyond the limits of time and circumstance. The Indian cultural frame, traditional dialog between Guru and disciple, is subsumed into the directly penetrating insight that is absolute, beyond any concept.
The purity of the Nondual experience conveyed is of particular interest not only to devotees and students of Advaita Vedanta, but also to students of the origins of Buddhism (all forms, but particularly Ch'an/Zen) and Christianity (especially early Gnostic.) The indubitable authenticity of the conveyed experience of reality most nearly resembles that in the better-known Avadhut Gita and Ashtavakra Gita.
This is one of a series of books in the tradition of Indian Advaita Vedanta, from the Society of Abidance in Truth. Sri Sankara's classic "Nirguna Manasa Puja" (Worship of the Attributeless One in the Mind) is also available from SAT. It too is a new translation by Dr. H. Ramamoorthy assisted by Master Nome, and available for the first time in English.
May we all recognize in this text the freedom and happiness of the Absolute, our True Nature, as reflected in the words of the great Sage Ribhu!
The Rishis spoke thus to Ribhu, the devotee of Sambhu, the desireless, the best among sages, decked with ashes and rudrakshas (holy berries), who was at Kedara on the Himalayan peak worshipping the Lord of Kedara.
2, 3. Rishis:
Worthy son of Brahma, the lotus born! For our Liberation, please enlighten us, with the Knowledge, the wisdom of the Vedas and great aphorisms (mahavakyas), which you obtained on Mount Kailasa by worshipping Lord Isvara, by means of which we shall be enabled to cross the shoreless ocean of samsara, (the repetitious cycle of birth and death).
Gladdened by the words of the Sages and looking around, he addressed the wise assembly, who were established in the contemplation of the feet of the Lord of the octonary form.
There is nothing secret from you, great souls, the noble devotees of Sambhu. Looking at you from the mansion of love of the three-eyed Lord, I shall communicate to you this:
6. the aphoristic Knowledge of Sankara, a great emanation from the head of the Vedas. Hear this, best of men, seekers after the Knowledge of Brahman! Hear this: the Ocean of Siva-Knowledge--
7. by which you shall, conquering your [attachment to the] senses by devotion to Siva, cross that sea of samsara (repetitive cycle of birth and death). Offering obeisance to Mahadeva, I shall expound to you the knowledge of Isvara.
The cause of the universe is the divine Consort of Uma alone, the shining illuminator, the one cause of the sentient and the insentient world, and the one cause of joy. For Him, the great Isvara (Mahesvara), there is no need for any action. He, Hara, alone is the cause of all.
9. The charioteer born of the arrow, and the horses from the faces of the charioteer, the pair of eyes of you, the rider, as the pair of chariot wheels, the chariot fitted and yoked for the hunt, seated in the chariot with a crown on the head and bows and arrows in front, and steering the chariot--may the dust of this Sthanu (the immovable, motionless One, Siva) protect us!
10. Then, addressing Nidagha, Ribhu said: I shall tell you about the definition of the Self, which is not available in all the triad of time--past, present, and future--
11. ever the most secret of the secret, by summarizing what has been expounded by Siva. There is nothing that can be talked of as non-Self, neither the mind as the non-Self, nor the world as the non-Self. Be of the certitude that there is nothing that is non-Self.
12. By the absence of all sankalpas, by the elimination of all forms, by the conviction of there being only Brahman, be of the certitude that there is not anything that is non- Self.
13. In the absence of mind, there is no thinking; in the absence of the body, there is no aging. With the conviction of there being only Brahman, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
14. Because of the absence of feet, there is no walking; because of the absence of hands, there is no work. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
15. Because of the absence of Brahma, the Creator, there is no world; in the absence thereof, there is no Hari, the sustainer. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
16. In the absence of aging, there is no death; nor is there the world or the Vedas or the gods. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non- Self.
17. There is no dharma (righteous conduct), no purity, no [concept of] truth, no fear. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
18. Because there is no decay, there is no movement. Because there is no decay, there is no insentience. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
19. The Guru, indeed, does not exist; truly, there is no disciple. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
20. There being nothing that is the first, there is nothing that is the second; there being no second, there is nothing as the first. If there is the concept of truth, something as nontruth will also arise.
21. If there be any concept of nontruth, a concept of truth will also arise, with it. If there is inauspiciousness, know that there is a notion of auspiciousness. Likewise, if there is auspiciousness, there will be inauspiciousness.
22. If you think of fearlessness, fear is postulated; fear is concomitant with fearlessness. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
23. If there is bondage, there is liberation; in the absence of bondage, there is no liberation. If there is death, there is birth; in the absence of birth, there is no death either.
24. If there is "you," there is" I;" if there is no "you," there is no "I." If there is "this," there is "that;" in the absence of "that," there is no "this" either.
25. "If it is there" implies something not being there; "it is not there" implies something being there. If there is an effect, there is some cause; in the absence of effect, there is no cause.
26. If there is duality, there is (a concept of) nonduality; in the absence of duality, there is no (concept of) nonduality either. If there is something to be "seen," a seer is also there; in the absence of anything to see, there is no seer at all either.
27. If there is an interior, there surely is an exterior; if there be no interior, there is also no exterior. If there be (a concept of) completeness, it implies something of incompleteness.
28. If there is a little that can be thought of, it becomes all in no time; if there is not a little--nothing whatsoever of anything at anytime--nothing arises.
29. Therefore, all this does not exist in the least at any time: neither you nor I, neither this nor that. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
30. There is nothing by way of example in this world, nor is there anything for which an example is to be given. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.
31. There is no mind to think, "I am the Supreme Brahman," "This universe is only Brahman alone," "You are also only Brahman."
32. I am Consciousness, and there is no non-Self. Be of this certitude. Thus, in brief, the definition of the Self has been told to you.
33. By hearing this once, one becomes Brahman oneself.
34. Nidagha: Who are You? Who indeed? Tell me, best among speakers, that upon hearing which one is released instantaneously from the great hardship of samsara.
I, indeed, am the Supreme Brahman. I, indeed, am the supreme happiness. I, indeed, am myself. I, indeed, am. I am Brahman alone.
36. I am Consciousness alone. I am possessed of divine Knowledge. I am without any words to express myself. I am Brahman alone.
37. I have no meaning. "This" is without meaning. I am devoid of the meaning of all. I am Brahman alone.
38. I am ever pure, enlightened, eternal, totally blemishless. I am of the nature of the ever-blissful. I am Brahman alone.
39. I am of the nature of the eternal Perfection. I am Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. I am of the nature of nonduality alone. I am Brahman alone.
40. I am of the nature that cannot be described. I am without beginning and without end. I am not of the nature of insentient matter. I am Brahman alone.
41. I am without any sankalpa of my own. I am devoid of all nescience. I am all. I am That itself; I am Brahman alone.
42. I am devoid of all names and such. I am devoid of all forms. I am devoid of all attachments. I am Brahman alone.
43. I am the creator of all speech. I am beyond the end of all the Vedas (Vedanta). I am the end of all times. I am Brahman alone.
44. I am the end of all forms. I am the joy that is the end of all names. I am the end of all the eons of time. I am Brahman alone.
45. I myself am joy and nothing else. I myself am changeless Consciousness. I myself am everywhere. I am Brahman alone.
46. I am the Self, which is Brahman alone. I am solely a mass of pure Consciousness. I am the sole-existent, undivided Essence. I am Brahman alone.
47. I am solely of the nature of Knowledge. I am of the nature that exists by itself. I am the sole-existent, complete Essence. I am Brahman alone.
48. I am of the nature of Existence. I, indeed, am of the nature of beatitude. I am beyond meaning or absence of meaning. I am Brahman alone.
49. I am of the nature that is immeasurable. I am of the nature that cannot be discussed. I am of the nature that cannot be comprehended. I am Brahman alone.
50. I am of the nature that is not woven together. I am without sorrow. I shine uninterruptedly. I am Brahman alone.
51. I am devoid of all activity. I am devoid of all differences. I am devoid of all doubts. I am Brahman alone.
52. I am without an ego. I am without a master. I am ever of the nature of Brahman. I am Brahman alone.
53. I am devoid of Brahma or the characteristics of Brahma and others, devoid of the characteristics of Kesava (Vishnu) and others. I am without the characteristics of Sankara and others; I am Brahman alone.
54. I am silently luminous. I am Brahman alone. I am nothing. I am not "the highest." I am a small thing. I am also the Supreme.
55. I do not have a lustrous body; nor am I the illuminator of the universe. I am a mass of Consciousness. I am of the nature of Consciousness. I am ever of the nature of Existence.
56. I am joyous. I am the embodiment of joy. I am Brahman alone. I am neither a boy, nor am I a youth, nor an old man. I am higher than the highest.
57. I am not of the nature that is manifold. I am Brahman alone. This, my own experience, has thus been told, the supreme Essence of all the Upanishads.
58. Whoever hears this becomes himself Brahman.
59. Those deluded by the intellect with ideas of "little of learning" and "omniscience" and the like, arising out of [conceptual interpretations of] the Vedas, scriptures, treatises, aphorisms, and the like, cannot, even by the study of hundreds of scriptures, know Sankara as being neither the gross nor the atomic, nor fire, wind, space, water, or earth, but as merely the shining Heart-space inside the sheaths within all beings.