Nirvana Shatkam – the ultimate self-introduction by Adi Shankara

We know Shankara as the great philosopher, sannyasi, reformer and a revolutionary. But all this knowledge has been assimilated from works of others, say his disciples and commentators. This article is a deep-dive into Shankara’s own self-introduction, the Nirvana Shatkam, that he recited during his first meeting with his Guru, Govinda Bhagavatpada.

Advertisements

The work can also be construed emphatic that identification with the body, mind, and senses is the root cause of all sorrow and that it should be given up and one should realize one’s real nature as none other than the supreme Brahman. This realization is what is known as Liberation. One by one, Adi Shankaracharya negates all the usual identifications that we have and repeatedly insists that the self is nothing but pure (and auspicious) consciousness. Thus, this work is literally a ‘self’ introduction!

Adi Shankara - Nirvana Shatkam
Adi Shankaracharya

मनोबुद्ध्यहङ्कार चित्तानि नाहं

न च श्रोत्रजिह्वे न च घ्राणनेत्रे ।

न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥१॥

Neither am I the mind nor intelligence or ego,

Neither am I the organs of hearing (ears), nor that of tasting (tongue), smelling (nose) or seeing (eyes),

Neither am I the sky, nor the earth, neither the fire nor the air,

I am Shiva, the supreme auspiciousness of the nature of consciousness-bliss.

I am (Shiva) the auspiciousness.

Advertisements

न च प्राणसंज्ञो न वै पञ्चवायुः

न वा सप्तधातुः न वा पञ्चकोशः ।

न वाक्पाणिपादं न चोपस्थपायु

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥२॥

Neither am I the vital breath, nor the five types of vital air,

Neither am I the seven ingredients (of the body), nor the five sheaths (of the body),

Neither am I the organ of speech, nor the organs for holding (hand), movement (feet) or excretion,

I am the ever-pure blissful consciousness; I am Shiva, I am Shiva,

The ever-pure blissful consciousness.

Advertisements

न मे द्वेषरागौ न मे लोभमोहौ

मदो नैव मे नैव मात्सर्यभावः ।

न धर्मो न चार्थो न कामो न मोक्षः

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥३॥

Neither do I have hatred, nor attachment, neither greed nor infatuation,

Neither do I have passion, nor feelings of envy and jealousy,

I am not within the bounds of dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (desire) and moksha (liberation) (the four purusarthas of life),

I am Shiva, the supreme auspiciousness of the nature of consciousness-bliss.

I am (Shiva) the auspiciousness.

Advertisements

न पुण्यं न पापं न सौख्यं न दुःखं

न मन्त्रो न तीर्थं न वेदा न यज्ञाः ।

अहं भोजनं नैव भोज्यं न भोक्ता

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥४॥

Neither am I bound by merits nor sins, neither by worldly joys nor by sorrows,

Neither am I bound by sacred hymns nor by sacred places, neither by sacred scriptures nor by sacrifies,

I am neither enjoyment (experience), nor an object to be enjoyed (experienced), nor the enjoyer (experiencer),

I am Shiva, the supreme auspiciousness of the nature of consciousness-bliss.

I am (Shiva) the auspiciousness.

Advertisements

न मृत्युर्न शङ्का न मे जातिभेदः

पिता नैव मे नैव माता न जन्मः ।

न बन्धुर्न मित्रं गुरुर्नैव शिष्यं

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥५॥

Neither am I bound by death and its fear, nor by the rules of caste and its distinctions,

Neither do I have father and mother, nor do I have birth,

Neither do I have relations nor friends, neither spiritual teacher nor disciple,

I am Shiva, the supreme auspiciousness of the nature of consciousness-bliss.

I am (Shiva) the auspiciousness.

Advertisements

अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकाररूपो

विभुत्वाच्च सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् ।

न चासङ्गतं नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥६॥

I am without any variation, and without any form,

I am present everywhere as the underlying substratum of everything, and behind all sense organs,

Neither do I get attached to anything, nor get freed from anything,

I am Shiva, the supreme auspiciousness of the nature of consciousness-bliss.

I am (Shiva) the auspiciousness.

Advertisements

Shankara, therefore, at the highest level, is nothing but the self, the atman. It’s a metaphor for consciousness, the reality, the Brahman.

Here’s the Nirvana Shatkam beautifully rendered by Ranjani-Gayatri.

Advertisements

Published by The Cowherd

Your spiritual and wellness guide

%d bloggers like this: