The Nirvana Shatkam or the Six Verses to Nirvana is a contemplative chant of Adi Shankara. The story of this hymn goes as follows:

As a boy of eight, the pontiff was roaming around the Narmada River. He was in search of a Guru. At that time, he is said to have met Govinda Bhagavatpada (also known as Govindapada) at Omkareshwar.

Govinda Bhagavatpada asked Shankara, “Who are you?”

In response to that, Shakara sang these six verses of Nirvana Shatkam. Immediately, Govinda Bhagavatpada accepted Shankara as his disciple.

When I read through these verses, I thought – Wow! Which Guru would think twice about accepting such a knowledgeable student?

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In this series of posts, we’ll contemplate the Nirvana Shatakam chant, one verse at a time.

Before you read further,
– Relax
– Deep breathe for a few minutes.
– Then, try to keep a calm mind.
– With that attitude, try to contemplate this verse.

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Verse 1:

मनोबुद्ध्यहङ्कार चित्तानि नाहं
न च श्रोत्रजिह्वे न च घ्राणनेत्रे ।
न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥१॥

mano buddhyahaṅkāra cittāni nāhaṃ
na ca śrotrajihve na ca ghrāṇanetre
na ca vyoma bhūmirna tejo na vāyuḥ
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo’ham śivo’ham ॥1॥

I am not my Mind,
I am not my Intellect,
I am not my Ego,
Neither am I my Thoughts.

I am not my Organs of Hearing (Ears),
I am not my Organ of Tasting (Tongue),
I am not my Organ of Smelling (Nose),
Neither am I my Organs of Seeing (Eyes).

I am not the Sky/Aether,
I am not the Earth,
I am not the Fire,
Neither am I the Air.

My True Form is
My Happy Inner Self,
Because I am Shiva!
I am Shiva!

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Note: In this context, Shiva doesn’t mean Lord Shiva (Rudra). Shiva is an adjective that describes our Inner Divine. It simply means the auspicious and liberated one.

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You can read the next verse here: Verse 2

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