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Atma Shaktam by Shri Adi Shankaracharya

Atma Shaktam by Shri Adi Shankaracharya

02:24 08 January in Articles of Interest
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The Atmashatkam (आत्मषट्कम्, ātmaṣaṭkam), also known as Nirvanashatkam (निर्वाणषट्कम्, Nirvāṇaṣaṭkam), is a śloka in six stanzas 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 CE.

It is said that that when Adi Shankara was a young boy of eight and wandering near River Narmada, seeking to find his guru, he encountered the seer Gaudapada who asked him, “Who are you?”. The boy answered with these stanzas, which are known as “Nirvāṇa Śaṭkam” or Ātma Ṣaṭkam”. Gaudapada accepted Adi Shankara 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.

The meaning of the stanzas in English

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 five instruments of elimination, procreation, motion, grasping, or speaking. 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.

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