Atma Shatakam of Adi Shankara | The Song of Self-Realization

Sri Adi Shankara (788 – 820 CE), the great mystic saint of India was wandering in search of a Guru, a True Master who has embodied the truth and reached Self-realization. At that time, he met Sri Govindapada, who asked him: “Who are you?”. In response, Shankara, who was eight years old at that time, spontaneously composed six verses in reply. This is known as Atma Shatakam or Nirvana Shatakam. It was indeed Sri Govindapada who was the Guru for whom Adi Shankara was wandering and searching for. Following is its approximated translation after its original in Sanskrit.


Mano Buddhi Ahankara Chitta Ninaham
Nacha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghrana Netre
Nacha Vyoma Bhoomir Na Tejo Na Vayu
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego,
nor the reflections of inner self.
I am not the five senses, beyond that I am.
I am not the five elements: neither ether,
nor earth, wind, or fire.
I am indeed That eternal knowing and bliss,
eternal love, pure consciousness.

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

Neither can I be named as energy alone,
nor the 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
unchanging love, one consciousness.

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

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 care, nor any wealth,
nor any desire I am,
nor even liberation.
I am indeed That eternal knowing and bliss,
boundless love, pure awareness.

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

I have neither merit, nor demerit
I am not bound by sins or good deeds,
nor by happiness or sorrow,
not pain or pleasure.
I am free from mantras, holy places,
scriptures, rituals or sacrifices.
I am none of the triad of
observer, act of observing or the object itself.
I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva,
pure love, flawless consciousness.

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

No fear of death I have,
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,
immaculate love, fully awake.

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

I am all embracing,
without any attributes, 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,
That unfathomable grace.


The Atma Shatakam in its six stanzas summarise the basic teachings of Advaita Vedanta, or the timeless eastern teachings of non-dualism. The speaker of the poem is nominally Shiva, but it is generally seen as a statement by a knowing person of identity with Shiva or Brahman (The Name of the Nameless One).

The speaker in the earlier verses conveys what the Holy Essence (or Brahman) is not. The Essence 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 it says that the Holy Essence permeates through the universe, and that It is Consciousness, bliss and the soul, and by implication, the Atman and Brahman.

One who knows himself, knows his Lord. This is a very high stage of meditation on the true nature of self, which is not graspable by the mind alone or intellectualization of philosophies. Mind is like a horse that can only take us up to the door of the King's Palace, but to enter there, the horse (mind) must be left out. The grand door of the palace only opens to those who are loved by the King by their love for the King  (God loves them and they love God, as hints the Final Testament). May our self-realization be accepted and sanctified and may that door of the gardened Palace of the Eternal King be opened to us. So be it.

O soul that art at peace!
Return unto thy Lord, in harmony to His Self of Bliss!
Enter thou, then, among My devotees.
Enter thou My Garden!
- The Eternal Invitation, the Quran


Further:

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Technology of the Heart: Atma Shatakam of Adi Shankara | The Song of Self-Realization
Atma Shatakam of Adi Shankara | The Song of Self-Realization
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