Nirvana Shatakam

Composed by Adi Shankara over a thousand years ago, this is one of the most well known among Sanskrit chants. It summarizes the basic teachings of Advaita Vedanta, or the Hindu teachings of non-dualism. It was written around 788-820 AD.

Sharada Ma refers to this chant frequently in her discourses. Adi Shankara founded the monastic order of which Ma’s beloved guru, Poojya Swamiji Iswarananda Giri, was leader until his passing November 7, 2017.

It is said that when Adi Shankara 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 Shaṭakam” or Ātma Shaṭakam”.

Swami Govindapada accepted Adi Shankara as his disciple.

The verses are said to be valued to progress in contemplation practices that lead to Self-Realization.

Translation:

I am neither mind, intellect, nor ego,
Neither the senses of hearing, taste, smell or sight,
Neither space nor earth nor light nor air.
I am pure consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva! I am Shiva!

I am neither the prana nor the five vital airs,
Neither the seven body components nor the five sheaths,
Neither speech nor hands, nor the organs of excretion or reproduction.
I am pure consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva! I am Shiva!

I am neither aversion nor attachment, neither greed nor delusion.
Neither pride nor envy.
Neither dharma nor wealth, nor desire nor liberation.
I am pure consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva! I am Shiva!

I am neither virtue nor vice, neither happiness nor suffering.
Neither mantra nor holy place, neither the Vedas nor sacred rite.
I am neither the food nor the eater nor the act of eating.
I am pure consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva! I am Shiva!

I am neither death nor doubt nor social class.
Neither father nor mother nor birth.
I am neither brother nor friend, neither guru nor disciple.
I am pure consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva! I am Shiva!

I am without thought, without form.
I am all-pervasive, I am everywhere, yet I am beyond all senses.
I am neither detachment nor liberation nor anything measurable.
I am pure consciousness and bliss. I am Shiva! I am Shiva!

To download a printable PDF version of the Nirvana Shatakam, please click here.