The readers of spiritual lore are aware that the majority of the texts contain stories and accounts ofi various gods and goddesses, about sacred centres and hermitages. Is there any instance where the reader gets to read and know about oneself? Is there such a reader to begin with? If there is such a reader, to that rare one the book is at hand, or, in the hand. The book one is about to read fulﬁls this very purpose, which is, to let the reader know himself, and there is no other purpose to it.
The present text is popularly known as Ribhu Gita, meaning The song of the sage Ribhu, who received the knowledge from Parama Siva, the Supreme Lord. It forms the sixth canto called Sankara of the hundred thousand verse long epic Sri Siva Rahasyam.
Ribhu is the mind-born son of the creator Brahma. Being highly dispassionate from birth, he could not be convinced by his father to take up the role of prgenitor. So, he had to leave the place and take refuge in Lord Siva in the Himalayas. Pleased by his single-minded devotion, Siva taught him atma vidya, knowledge of the Self, and broke into a spontaneous hymn of praise to the primal Guru in gratitude. Later he passed on this knowledge to an ardent aspirant called Nidagha.
A brief introduction to the story and Ribhu’s supplications of longing for Self Knowledge form the first chapter of the book. Siva’s gracious teaching in a cryptic and aphoristic manner forms the second chapter. Ribhu’s hymn of transcendental delight in sublime method, leads us again and again, through many different ways, to this conclusion, that all is Siva, all is Brahman.
hat Sri Ramana Maharshi held this work in high esteem is well known. He recommended its study, even if one did not have high literary qualiﬁcations so often thought necessary for the study of the scriptures. He knew the openness of the heart of the yearning soul.
Sampurnamma, who took refuge at Sri Bhagavan’s feet, recalls: “One day he gave me a copy of Ribbu Gite and asked me to study it. I was not at all anxious to pore over a difficult text good only for learned pundits, and asked to be excused, saying that I did not understand a single word of it.” “It does not matter that you do not understand” he said. “Still it will be of great beneﬁt to you.“ Years later, as we had the good fortune of seeing Sampurnamma in the ashram, ever absorbed in Sri Bhagavan, we had no doubt that Bhagavan’s benediction to her had held true.
During our stay at Sri Ramanasramam during the Navaratri celebrations in the fall of 2003, my wife Vijaya and I were thrilled to have the company of Sri Lingeswara, his wife Srimati Udayasri and their son Sri Siva Tejas.
Accompanying them from Bhimavaram was a group of devotees who delighted us with the daily recitation of the Chandi Sri Devi Mahatmyam. We also had the opportunity at this time to hear portions of the sacred Ribhu Gita recited by Sri Lingeswara and the Bhimavaram devotees. We were transported, as it were, into that Silence of which it speaks.
During giripradakshina around Arunachala one night, I requested of Sri Lingeswara, “Could you please record for us this particular chapter of Ribhu Gita, in order that we can continue to beneﬁt from hearing it again and again?” Sri Lingeswara of course consented immediately. We left it at that, and continued the giripradakshina, the form of Arunachala Siva shining above us.
Upon return to Canada, I was very happy to receive word from Lingeswara Rao, stating that Sri Ramanasramam, knowing the immense value of this work, had requested him to record not only our discussed chapter, but also the entire sixth amsa of the Sri Siva Rahasyam. It is now available for devotees in MP3 Audio format in the Sri Ramanasramam Book Depot.
The present text has been prepared to facilitate the following of the recorded verses. The text is presented in the original Sanskrit, accompanied by an English transliteration. For this we are thankful to Omkarananda Ashrama for the use of their “Itranslator 99” software. Sri Lingeswara has lovingly rendered the English translation.
We are also thankful to Mrs.Udayasri for providing literary support, P.Padma and A.A.Devi for typing the manuscript, K.Padrnavati for the prooﬁreading, with keen attention, K.Pratyusha and K.Pallavi for DTP support and Sri Rambabu for consistently providing in time the required computer assistance.
We are very fortunate to have a true devotee of Sri Bhagavan Ramana Arunachala Siva sing His very words, the Ribhu Gita. Let us listen, follow, chant and be still. Let us be absorbed in that Grace.