Who am I?

मनोबुद्ध्यहङ्कार चित्तानि नाहं

  श्रोत्रजिह्वे   घ्राणनेत्रे 

न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।

manOBuddhyahankAra cittAni nAham, na ca SrOtrajihvE na ca ghrANanEtrE | na ca vyOma bhoomirna tEjO na vAyu:, cidAnandaroopa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

Nirvana Śhatakam by Ādi Śańkara

I am not the mind, the intellect, the ego or the memory,
I am not the ears, the skin, the nose or the eyes,
I am not space, not earth, not fire, water or wind,
I am the form of consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal consciousness…

If there is only one composition that you would wish to learn from your heart and mind – it is this.

It is said that when Ādi Śaṅkara was a young boy of eight and wandering near River Narmada, seeking to find his guru, he encountered the seer Govinda Bhagavatpada, who asked him, “Who are you?” The boy answered with these stanzas, which are known as “Nirvāṇa Shatkam” or Ātma Shatkam”. Swami Govindapada accepted Ādi Śaṅkara as his disciple.

There are compositions that one can give a commentary on, and there are others where you don’t need any guidance, or explanation.

The six verses of Nirvana Śhatakam explain the concept of Nirvāṇa – which means “to extinguish” or “to blow out”.

Extinguish what? Your outer self, the separation that we put in between us and everyone else, and everything else. Ādi Śańkara starts with the physical body, then the subtle body (na ca praNasamjnO na vaI pancavAyu:), then strips away emotions, likes and dislikes, even relationships, and then reveals the inner Self as our true nature.

Nirvana Śhatakam has helped me during tough times…times when I was searching for answers, when I was questioning the purpose of life, and the goodness (or lack thereof) of people around me. I listened to this daily, on my way to work (takes just 10 minutes), and it made a huge difference to my state of mind.

You may not find all the answers, but your questions will surely disappear.

Here is the rest of the composition, without the need for any explanation:)

  प्राणसंज्ञो  वै पञ्चवायुः

 वा सप्तधातुः  वा पञ्चकोशः 

न वाक्पाणिपादं न चोपस्थपायु

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम्

na ca praNasamjnO na vaI pancavAyu: na vA saptadhAtu: na vA pancakOSa: | na vAkpANipAdam na cOpasthapAyu cidAnandarupa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

I am not the breath, nor the five elements,
I am not matter, nor the five sheaths of consciousness
Nor am I the speech, the hands, or the feet,
I am the form of consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal consciousness…

न मे द्वेषरागौ न मे लोभमोहौ

मदो नैव मे नैव मात्सर्यभावः 

न धर्मो न चार्थो न कामो न मोक्षः

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।

na mE dvEsharAgau na mE lObhamOhau madO naiva mE naiva mAtsaryabhava: | na dharmO na cArthO na kAmO na mOksha: cidAnandarupa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

There is no like or dislike in me, no greed or delusion,
I know not pride or jealousy,
I have no duty, no desire for wealth, lust or liberation,
I am the form of consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal consciousness…

 पुण्यं  पापं  सौख्यं  दुःखं

 मन्त्रो  तीर्थं  वेदा  यज्ञाः 

अहं भोजनं नैव भोज्यं न भोक्ता

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।

na puNyam na pApam na saukhyam na duKham na mantrO na tIrthO na vEdA na yajna | aham bhOjanam naiva bhOjyam na bhOktA cidAnandarupa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

No virtue or vice, no pleasure or pain,
I need no mantras, no pilgrimage, no scriptures or rituals,
I am not the experienced, nor the experience itself,
I am the form of consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal consciousness…

 मृत्युर्न शङ्का  मे जातिभेदः

पिता नैव मे नैव माता  जन्मः 

न बन्धुर्न मित्रं गुरुर्नैव शिष्यं

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।

na mE mrutyuSankA na mE jAtibEda: pitA naiva mAtA naiva na janma: |
na bandhur na mitram gururnaiva Sishya: cidAnandarupa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

I have no fear of death, no caste or creed,
I have no father, no mother, for I was never born,
I am not a relative, nor a friend, nor a teacher nor a student,
I am the form of consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal consciousness…

अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकाररूपो

विभुत्वाच्च सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् 

न चासङ्गतं नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः

चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।

aham nirvikalpO nirAkAra roopO vibhutvAca sarvatra sarvEndriyANam | na cAsangata naiva muktir na mEya: cidAnandarpa: ShivOham ShivOham ||

I am devoid of duality, my form is formlessness,
I exist everywhere, pervading all senses,
I am neither attached, neither free nor captive,
I am the form of consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal consciousness…

Here is my favourite rendition of Nirvana Śhatakam, from Isha Yoga.

Here is the link to download the pdf version of the Nirvana Śhatakam