Journal : Nirvana Shatakam, Freely Paraphrased

Tradition holds that Shankara renounced the world when he was barely in his teens.

He left Kaladi, in Kerala, and travelled hundreds of miles up north to meet his Guru.

As he stood before the august person with folded hands and had stated his purpose, the Teacher asked him, ” Who are you ? “

Shankar, the pure monist ilumined, introduced himself in the following terms :

Nirvana Shatakam

Adi Sankaracharya


I am not the mind that cogitates;

Nor the intellect that determines.

I am not the ego, the differentiated self;

Nor that memory ground on which all the three rest.

I am not these sense organs

Of hearing, taste, smell and sight;

And the experience they yield.

I am not these elements :

Sky or space, earth, air, fire or light;

And the body forms they constitute.

I am Shiva indeed, the Self supreme –

Conscious, effulgent and bliss pure.

*

I am not this vitality that sustains life;

Nor its five functional forms which pervade the body

Causing matter to flow up and down,

Digest and distrubute,

Nourish and energise,

And transmigrate.


I am not the seven constituting compounds :

Chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and semen;

Nor am I the five sheaths that cover the self :

Physical, Vital, Mental, Intellectual and Blissful.

I am not the organs of action :

Of speech,

Hands and feet,

Procreation and excretion.

I am Shiva indeed, the Self supreme –

Conscious, effulgent and bliss pure.

*

I am without like and dislike,

Want, greed and delusory attachment;

I am devoid of pride and envy

Jealousy and haughtiness.


I have no duty to attain or acquire :

Knowledge of right and wrong,

Money and wealth,

Sex and Sensual satisfaction, or

Salvation and liberation

From transmigratory cycle.

I am Shiva indeed, the Self supreme –

Conscious, effulgent and bliss pure.

‬*

I am untouched by good and evil,

Sorrow and happiness.

I am beyond sacred syllables,

Holy places and pilgrimage sites,

The Vedas and sacrifices enjoined.

I am not the food,

The body that eats,

Nor the consumer who delights.

I am Shiva indeed, the Self supreme –

Conscious, effulgent and bliss pure.

‬*

Death is not for me,

Nor doubt;

I perceive no diferentiation

Of species or kind.

I am without birth,

Father or mother;

I have no relations,

Guru, friends or disciple.


I am Shiva indeed, the Self supreme –

Conscious, effulgent and bliss pure.

‬*

I am equally pervasive,

Homogeneous, localised nowhere,

And am without form and attributes.

I am the the universal support and lord

Of all form, entity and being.

I am all there is – the organs,

All that they sense,

The ones who experience

Perceive and know.

But I am forever beyond relating with any.

I am without attachment or detachment

Salvation and liberation.

I am Shiva indeed, the Self supreme –

Conscious, effulgent and bliss pure. 

*      *      *

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One thought on “Journal : Nirvana Shatakam, Freely Paraphrased

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