Atma Shatkam

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The Atmashatkam (आत्मषट्कम्, ātmaṣaṭkam), also known as Nirvanashatkam (निर्वाणषट्कम्, Nirvāṇaṣaṭkam),[1] is a composition consisting of 6 fold śloka (and hence the name Ṣaṭ-ka to mean six-fold) written by the Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara summarizing the basic teachings of Advaita Vedanta, or the Hindu teachings of non-dualism. It was written around 788-820 AD.

The speaker of the poem is nominally the god Shiva, but it is generally seen as a statement by a knowing person of identity with Shiva or Brahman. The speaker lists in the earlier verses what he (or Brahman) is not. He is not body or mind, nor the things that attach them to each other and to the world, including the intellect, the senses, the practices of life, the occurrences of life such as birth and death. In the last verse he says that he permeates the universe, and that he is consciousness, bliss and the soul, and by implication, the Atman and Brahman.[2][3]

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 Govindapada who asked him, "Who are you?". The boy answered with these stanzas, which are known as "Nirvāṇa Ṣaṭkam" or Ātma Ṣaṭkam". Swami Govindapada accepted Ādi Śaṅkara as his disciple. The verses are said to be valued to progress in contemplation practices that lead to Self-Realization.[citation needed]

"Nirvāṇa" is complete equanimity, peace, tranquility, freedom and joy. "Ātma" is the True Self.

Sanskrit[edit]

Transliteration in IAST format.

manobuddhyahaṅkāra cittāni nāhaṃ
na ca śrotrajihve na ca ghrāṇanetre
na ca vyoma bhūmir na tejo na vāyuḥ
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'ham śivo'ham

(Devanagari: मनोबुद्ध्यहंकार चित्तानि नाहं न च श्रोत्रजिह्वे न च घ्राणनेत्रे । न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 1 ।। )

na ca prāṇasaṅjño na vai pañcavāyuḥ
na vā saptadhātur na vā pañcakośaḥ
na vākpāṇipādau na copasthapāyu
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'ham śivo'ham

(Devanagari:न च प्राणसंज्ञो न वै पंचवायुः, न वा सप्तधातुः न वा पञ्चकोशः । न वाक्पाणिपादौ न चोपस्थपायु, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 2 ।। )

na me dveşarāgau na me lobhamohau
mado naiva me naiva mātsaryabhāvaḥ
na dharmo na cārtho na kāmo na mokşaḥ
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'ham śivo'ham

(Devanagari:न मे द्वेषरागौ न मे लोभमोहौ, मदो नैव मे नैव मात्सर्यभावः । न धर्मो न चार्थो न कामो न मोक्षः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 3 ।। )

na puṇyaṃ na pāpaṃ na saukhyaṃ na duhkhaṃ
na mantro na tīrthaṃ na vedā na yajña
ahaṃ bhojanaṃ naiva bhojyaṃ na bhoktā
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'ham śivo'ham

(Devanagari:न पुण्यं न पापं न सौख्यं न दुःखं, न मन्त्रो न तीर्थो न वेदा न यज्ञ । अहं भोजनं नैव भोज्यं न भोक्ता, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 4 ।। )

na me mṛtyuśaṅkā na me jātibhedaḥ
pitā naiva me naiva mātā na janmaḥ
na bandhur na mitraṃ gurunaiva śişyaḥ
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'ham śivo'ham

(Devanagari:न मे मृत्युशंका न मे जातिभेदः, पिता नैव मे नैव माता न जन्मः । न बन्धुर्न मित्रं गुरूर्नैव शिष्यः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 5 ।। )

ahaṃ nirvikalpo nirākāra rūpo
vibhutvā ca sarvatra sarvendriyāṇaṃ
na cāsangata naiva muktir na meyaḥ
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'ham śivo'ham

(Devanagari:अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकार रूपो, विभुत्वाच सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् । न चासङत नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 6 ।। )

Meaning[edit]

1) I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego, nor the reflections of inner self (citta). I am not the five senses. I am beyond that. I am not the ether, nor the earth, nor the fire, nor the wind (the five elements). I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, the auspicious (Śivam), love and pure consciousness.

2) Neither can I be termed as energy (prāṇa), nor five types of breath (vāyus), nor the seven material essences, nor the five sheaths(pañca-kośa). Neither am I the organ of Speech, nor the organs for Holding ( Hand ), Movement ( Feet ) or Excretion. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, the auspicious (Śivam), love and pure consciousness.

3) I have no hatred or dislike, nor affiliation or liking, nor greed, nor delusion, nor pride or haughtiness, nor feelings of envy or jealousy. I have no duty (dharma), nor any money, nor any desire (kāma), nor even liberation (mokṣa). I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, the auspicious (Śivam), love and pure consciousness.

4) I have neither merit (virtue), nor demerit (vice). I do not commit sins or good deeds, nor have happiness or sorrow, pain or pleasure. I do not need mantras, holy places, scriptures (Vedas), rituals or sacrifices (yajñas). I am none of the triad of the observer or one who experiences, the process of observing or experiencing, or any object being observed or experienced. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, the auspicious (Śivam), love and pure consciousness.

5) I do not have fear of death, as I do not have death. I have no separation from my true self, no doubt about my existence, nor have I discrimination on the basis of birth. I have no father or mother, nor did I have a birth. I am not the relative, nor the friend, nor the guru, nor the disciple. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, the auspicious (Śivam), love and pure consciousness.

6) I am all pervasive. I am without any attributes, and without any form. I have neither attachment to the world, nor to liberation (mukti). I have no wishes for anything because I am everything, everywhere, every time, always in equilibrium. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, the auspicious (Śivam), love and pure consciousness.

This text has been transliterated from the sources at [1], [2], with some corrections made.

This is one of the rare stotras written by Adi Sankara Bhagawat Pada identifying himself the Lord Shiva and clearly explaining his theory of non-dualism. It is mellifluous and has remarkable tempo. There is a story that one of his disciples started saying Shivoham like the Acharya without understanding its significance. The Acharya visited the black smith’s house and happily drank one tumbler of molten iron and ordered the disciple to do so. Naturally he was not able to it. The Acharya told him that as for himself the molten iron or ice cold water are not different because he has realized that he is no different from Lord Shiva, and till the disciple attains that state, there is no point in his repeating Shivoham i.e. “I am Shiva” [4]

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