In this series of posts, we are contemplating the Nirvana Shatakam chant, one verse at a time. You can read the previous verses here: Verse 1, Verse 2, and Verse 3

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Before you read further,
– Relax
– Deep breathe for a couple of minutes.
– Observe your breath for a bit.
– Then, try to keep a calm mind.
– Express gratitude to Adi Shankara Acharya for his wisdom.
– Recall his words in the previous verses:

  • You are not your mind and faculties, the sensory perceptions, or the five elements making up this body.
  • You are beyond your breath, your body’s energy flows, your physical body, and your body’s subtle layers.
  • You are not your likes, dislikes, greed, delusions, pride, or feelings of envy.
  • You are beyond (the results of) your life’s meaningful pursuits.
  • You are Shiva, the auspicious and liberated one.

– With that mindset, try to contemplate this verse.  

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Verse 4:

न पुण्यं न पापं न सौख्यं न दुःखं
न मन्त्रो न तीर्थं न वेदा न यज्ञाः ।
अहं भोजनं नैव भोज्यं न भोक्ता
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥४॥

na puṇyaṃ na pāpaṃ na saukhyaṃ na duḥkhaṃ
na mantro na tīrthaṃ na vedā na yajñāḥ
ahaṃ bhojanaṃ naiva bhojyaṃ na bhoktā
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo’ham śivo’ham ॥4॥

I am not attached
To my merits and demerits,
Neither am I tied
To my joys and sorrows.

I am not attached
To any mantras or places of worship,
Neither am I tied
To any scriptures or rituals.

I am not my experiences,
I am not the object that is experienced,
Neither am I the experiencer.

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

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Notes:

  • In Bhagavad Gita 13.2, Lord Krishna says – I’m not the kṣhetra, the playground. Instead, I am the kṣhetrajña, the player who uses that playground. As Krishna summarizes in one word, kṣhetra – our physical body and its entire package, and all the emotions, experiences, and activities are just a playground. We are the player on that field. In other words, as Adi Shakara says, we are Shiva!
  • As seen before, Shiva means the auspicious and liberated one, and not Lord Shiva (Rudra) here. Still, many people associate this chant with Lord Shiva (Rudra). That comes out of the notion that only Sanyasi-s need this knowledge of Nirvana because they desire non-attachment and Samadhi. That’s far from the truth. From mendicants to the most prosperous person out there, everyone needs this knowledge to feel peaceful. In this regard, the Divine makes no distinction and treats everyone as equals.

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You can read the next verse here: Verse 5

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