Self-knowledge Satsang – May 10, 2017


Every week we offer satsang at our house here in the Ajijic area, by Lake Chapala in Jalisco, Mexico. The focus is on teachings of nonduality that flow from Ramana Maharshi. We begin by reading a few verses from The Song of Ribhu. Then we listen to commentary on a verse in Ramana Maharshi’s key book, 40 Verses on Reality, followed by videos of several nondual teachers. This post has links to the ones we used this week.  All of these are available from YouTube.

Sit back, get relaxed, open deep within yourself, listen, and dive in. Inquire as you listen, know yourself, and be always free and at peace.

I am going to be introducing some of you to new materials and maybe teachers. My wife suggested a bit of introduction as I start with what may be teachings or teachers new to you. All are selected with the intent that you dive deep within. This is not teaching for your mind and intellect; rather this is meant for your direct spiritual experience.

Song of Ribhu

This classic work of Advaita Vedanta (nonduality) has ancient origins, probably dating from the period of the Upanisads. Sri Ramana Marharshi regularly recommended it to spiritual seekers. This was also the book used most often at Ramana Ashram in his day. Most evenings, after the day visitors had left, Ramana and the ashram residents would sit in a circle, reading aloud from Song of Ribhu, passing the book among themselves.

The Song of Ribhu is instruction by the sage Ribhu to his disciple Nidagha to assist him in realizing the ultimate Truth. For any spiritual seeker interested in Self-knowledge, it provides a detailed and lyrical description of  Self-Realization, Enlightenment, or the Realization of the Absolute.

This book is one that is meant to be read aloud. That is what these satsang recordings do, a few verses at a time. They are meant to be used for Self-inquiry, so dive deep within as you listen,

The verses for today are filled with powerful negation. Negate what comes and goes, and what is always real stands with no effort. This is who you are, your Self.

40 Verses on Reality – Ramana Maharshi’s Complete Teaching

40 Verses on Reality was written at the request of Muruganar, who wanted a concise synopsis of Ramana’s teaching, and wanted 40 verses to fit a classical Hindu poetic form. Ramana wrote the verses as they came to him, and Muruganar arranged them in a particular order. Later, Ramana wrote 40 additional verses, and the original 40 verses were put into a supplement to the 40 verses. 40 Verses contains a short and pithy presentation of Ramana’s teaching of nonduality and practice of inquiry.

Advaita, non-duality, is the supreme doctrine. Jnana marga, the path of knowledge, is the approach to it: Self-inquiry, “Who am I?”, is the technique Bhagavan taught for this path. There is no more profound and comprehensive statement of it than his 40 Verses on Reality which are here given.

Verse 6, one translation, (From The Mountain Path, Volume 1, #4, October 1964, Copyright Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, Edited by Arthur Osborn):

  1. The world is nothing more than an embodiment of the objects perceived by the five sense-organs. Since, through these five sense-organs, a single mind perceives the world, the world is nothing but the mind. Apart from the mind can there be a world?

Devānanda Sarasvatī

I don’t know much about the presenter, Devānanda Sarasvatī, other than he is a follower of Ramana Maharshi, and has done an extensive series of videos on Advaita Vedanta topics. This is from his google page:

Devānanda is an awakened sage with deep realization of Tantra, QiGong, Yoga, Bhakti, Mantra, Dhyāna and Enlightenment.

Within every human being exists a Source—of energy, consciousness, intelligence, love and enlightenment—an inexhaustible Divine Well. We can draw nourishment from it without limit. Some call it the Collective Unconscious, others call it god. The holy Vedas of India call it Brahman. When you feel lonely, separated or incomplete, it’s not because this Well has dried up, but because you have forgotten how to reach its waters. To solve the problems of life and attain liberation, you need to rediscover and reclaim the tools and methods needed to reach the nourishing Source. Then your wisdom and strength will be as timeless and inexhaustible as the Well that nourishes them.

Much of his background is tantric and yogic.


Mooji (Anthony Paul Moo-Young), was born in Jamaica in 1954. In his teens, he moved to the UK and lived in Brixton, London where he worked as a street portrait artist for many years, then as a painter and a stained glass artist, and later as a teacher at Brixton College.

Mooji is a direct disciple of Papaji, Sri Harilal Poonja. In 1987, a chance meeting with a Christian mystic brought him, through prayer, into the direct experience of the Divine within. Within a short period, he experienced a radical shift in consciousness so profound that outwardly, he seemed, to many who knew him, to be an entirely different person. A great peace entered his being, and has remained ever since.

For the following six years, Mooji was constantly absorbed in inner joy, contentment and natural meditation.

In 1993, Mooji travelled to India. While in Rishikesh, he was to have another propitious encounter; this time with three devotees of the great advaita Master Sri Harilal Poonja, known as Papaji. Their persistent invitation to Mooji to travel with them to meet the Master made a deep impression on him. Still he delayed the prospect of meeting Papaji, choosing first to visit Varanasi, the holy city.

In late November 1993, Mooji travelled to Lucknow to meet Papaji. He felt it to be his good fortune; he had met a living Buddha, a fully enlightened master. He gradually came to recognise that Papaji was his Guru. Mooji stayed with Papaji for several months. During one particular satsang meeting, Papaji told him: “If you desire to be one with truth, ‘you’ must completely disappear. Through ‘Papaji’s’ grace, his mind was pushed back into the emptiness of source.

In 1994 he travelled to Sri Ramanasramam in Tiruvannamalai. He stayed there for almost three months before returning to sit at Papaji’s feet once again.

Since 1999, Mooji has been sharing satsang in the form of spontaneous encounters, retreats, satsangs and one-to-one meetings with the many seekers who visit him, from all parts of the world in search of the direct experience of truth.

Today’s talk:

In this video Mooji talks about what is real, and what is important in spiritual practice.

Rupert Spira

Rupert Spira first came across the poetry of Rumi at the age of fifteen in 1975. Shortly afterwards he learned the Mevlevi Turning, a sacred Sufi dance at Colet House in London.

He then met Dr. Francis Roles, who was himself a student of Shantananda Saraswati the Shankaracharya of the North of India. Under Dr. Roles’ guidance he learned mantra meditation and was introduced to the classical system of Advaita or Non-Duality. This formed the foundation of his interest and practice for the next 25 years.

During this time he read everything available by the Russian philosopher, P.D. Ouspensky, and learnt Gurdjieff’s Movements. During the late 1970s he attended Krishnamurti’s last meetings at Brockwood Park close to his childhood home and was deeply impressed and influenced by his intellectual rigor and fierce humility. Throughout these years he also studied the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj on a continuous basis. Towards the end of the 1980s he had a brief encounter with the teachings of Da Free John whose early writings made a deep impression on him.

During the late seventies and early eighties Rupert trained as a ceramic artist under Henry Hammond and Michael Cardew, two of the founding fathers of the British Studio Pottery movement. He started his first studio in 1983 making pieces that are to be found in private and public collections around the world.

A turning point in the mid 1990s led Rupert to an American teacher, Robert Adams, who died two days after he arrived. However, while visiting, Rupert was told about another teacher, Francis Lucille.The first words Rupert heard him say were, “Meditation is a universal ‘Yes’ to everything.” “At this moment I realized that I had arrived home, that this encounter was the flowering and fulfillment of the previous thirty years of seeking.” When Rupert asked Francis at that first meeting what to do next, he replied, “Come as often as you can.”

Over the next twelve years Rupert spent all the time he could with Francis, exploring the sense of separation as it appears in the mind in the form of beliefs and, more importantly, how it appears in the body as feelings of being located and limited. Francis also introduced Rupert to the Direct Path teachings of Atmananda Krishnamenon, and the tantric approach of Kashmir Shaivism, which he had received from his teacher, Jean Klein.

Of the essence of these years, Rupert writes, “The greatest discovery in life is to discover that our essential nature does not share the limits nor the destiny of the body and mind.

Today’s talk:

This is an interesting talk on what is real. In it, Rupert is, I think, expressing a “qualified nondualist” perspective that I believe may come from his interest in mantra, tantra, and Kashmir Saivism. Ramana Maharshi clearly taught that as long as a seeker holds to the reality of the world (and, thereby, the world as a source of happiness) then they will not be able to dive fully into, and realize, the Self. I have a concern that Rupert Spira’s formulation gives a seeker a “partial reality of the world” to hang onto, making Self-realization more difficult. Nonetheless, it is worth listening to.

Nome of SAT

Nome (born in 1955) is a spiritual teacher at Society of Abidance in Truth, known as  SAT, He expounds the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi and Advaita Vedanta. He, along with Dr. H. Ramamoorthy, translated into English many essential and classic works of Advaita Vedanta such as “Ribhu Gita” and “Song of Ribhu.”

Nome teaches Advaita Vedanta, especially as is contained in the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. These teachings are those found in traditional Advaita Vedanta as expounded by Adi Sankara, Ribhu Gita, and the Upanishads, and are concerned with Self-Knowledge, or Self-Realization as it is often referred to, and with the spiritual practice of Self-inquiry. He teaches from his own experience.

He was the first spiritual teacher in the USA to teach about Ramana Maharshi.

The teachings are presented in satsangs and retreats held at the SAT Temple, recordings of which are used for these videos.

Nome has been my spiritual teacher since 1990.

In this video, Nome dialogs with a seeker about what is real.

Silent Meditation

Notice that you exist. Now just stay with the “I am.” Disregard “I am this” or “I am that.” Just stay with “I am.

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6 Responses to “Self-knowledge Satsang – May 10, 2017”

  1. Terrance (@TerranceCollins) Says:

    Hi Richard, who knows which rabbit hole I ran down and found you. At any rate, nice to meet you. I’m actually intending to move to Tiruvannamalai and wonder if I might have a bit of a chat with you about living there since I believe you lived there for some time.

    Thanks, Terence

  2. Jane Lazar Says:

    Hello Richard, I have been working with John Prendergast, a non-dual teacher and psychotherapist here in California. I’m coming to the Lake Chapala area just for a week starting August 2, and I wondered what day your satsang meets. If it worked out, I would love to come. My email is Thank you.

  3. Nannette Thomas Says:

    Thank you Richard for your prompt and welcoming response. I am grateful to you for sharing your spirit and home. Namaste

    My email is:

  4. Nannette Thomas Says:

    I am moving to the Lake Chapala area at the end of 2017 and would like to attend your satsangs. Which village are they held in and how will I know the exact location once I arrive?

    • Richard Clarke Says:

      They are in our home in Riberas del Pilar, near to Chapala. You will be welcome to attend. We look forward to meeting you. if you send me your email, I will send you address etc. Glad to have another like minded person living by the lake.

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