Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nirvana Satakam/ Atma Satakam - Adi Sankara

Adi Sankara

Nirvana Shatikam of Adi Shankara
Mano Buddhi Ahankara Chitta Ninaham
Nacha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghrana Netre
Nacha Vyoma Bhoomir Na Tejo Na Vayu
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

Na Cha Prana Samjno Na Vai Pancha Vayu
Na Va Saptadhatur Na Va Pancha Koshah
Na Vak Pani Padau Na Chopastha Payu
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

Na Me Dvesha Ragau Na Me Lobha Mohau
Mado Naiva Me Naiva Matsarya Bhavah
Na Dharmo Na Chartho Na Kamo Na Mokshah
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

Na Punyam Na Papam Na Saukhyam Na Dukham
Na Mantro Na Teertham Na Vedo Na Yajnaha
Aham Bhojanam Naiva Bhojyam Na Bhokta
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

Na Me Mrityu Shanka Na Me Jati Bhedah
Pita Naiva Me Naiva Mata Na Janma
Na Bandhur Na Mitram Gurur Naiva Shishyah
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

Aham Nirvikalpo Nirakara Roopaha
Vibhur Vyapya Sarvatra Sarvendriyanam
Sada Me Samatvam Na Muktir Na Bandhah
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego, nor the reflections of inner self.
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, Shiva,love and pure consciousness.

Neither can I be termed as energy, nor five types of breath. nor the seven material essences, nor the five coverings.
Neither am I the five instruments of elimination, procreation, motion, grasping, or speaking.
I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva,love and pure consciousness.

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 (kama), nor even liberation (moksha).
I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva,love and pure consciousness.

I have neither merit, 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, rituals or sacrifices.
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, Shiva,love and pure consciousness.

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, Shiva,love and pure consciousness.

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

The great Adi Shankara (first Shankaracharya) of the eighth century summarized the entirety of Advaita Vedanta (non-dualistic philosophy) in six stanzas. When a young boy of eight, while wandering in the Himalayas, seeking to find his guru, he encountered a sage who asked him, "Who are you?" The boy answered with these stanzas, which are known as "Nirvana Shatakam" or "Atma Shatakam." "Nirvana" is complete equanimity, peace, tranquility, freedom and joy. "Atma" is the True Self. The sage the boy was talking to was Swami Govindapada Acharya, who was, indeed, the teacher he was looking for.

This is one of the rare stotras written by Adi Shankara Bhagavat Pada identifying himself with 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 do 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”

Nirvana Shatakam, otherwise known as Atma Shatakam, is a composition of Bhagawan Shankaracharya. Although we call it a composition, it is actually a declaration of his own direct and intimate experience of the Absolute Bliss of Self-Realisation. As such, this is not a text to be discoursed upon, but is something to be meditated upon and directly experienced by every sincere seeker and student of Adwaita Vedanta.

Nirvana Shatakam means a bunch of six verses on the state of Absolute peace, tranquility, freedom and joy nivritti. Atma Shatakam means six verses on the nature of the Self. One who is familiar with the Sanskrit language can well grasp the literal meaning of these verses because of their simplicity. But to experience and revel in the Truth revealed therein, one has to go through many lives of Sadhana.

"After many lives of Sadhana, people attain the supreme Brahman." Man (the Jeeva) has to evolve slowly through endless aeons (yugas) of sincere study and devoted Self-application. Then, in one particular life, he gets totally purged of his ignorance and delusion. Such evolution culminates in the highest state of perfection-Self-realisation (Brahmi Sthiti). He becomes a "Perfect man." As these six verses represent the direct and intimate experience of such a Perfect one, they will make an immediate impact on the purified minds of sincere seekers who have acquired a deep insight into Vedanta. As such seekers have the wealth of discrimination (Viveka), dispassion (Vairagya) and capacity for reflection on the Self (Atma Vichara). They can, by reading directly appreciate their implications and, in their deep meditation, experience, the subtle truths of these verses.

In the practice of meditation (Dhyana Abhyas) the Sadhaka just listens, understands and appreciates the meaning of the words and sentences of the Teacher. No intellectual enquiry or analysis is done, as the teacher unfolds the words. As the deep import of the words is appreciated, the words becomes the feeling (Bhavana ) of the Sadhak, his mind will firmly abide in the Truth. This is "Samadhi."

However, other aspirants at earlier points in their spiritual path, can also benefit by drawing inspiration from this text, this being the vision of the ultimate reality from the stand point of a Man of Realisation. They can, in their daily meditation (Dhyana Abhyas) reflect on the meaning and significance of these verses and slowly imbibe the Truth in them. Meditation alone is the Means to the great Experience of Truth (Samadhi).

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