By now, you know the relaxation drill! Still, here we go again…
Before you read further,
– Deep breathe for a couple of minutes.
– Observe your breath for a bit.
– Then, try to keep a calm mind.
– Soulfully thank 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 not your merits, demerits, joys, or sorrows.
- You are beyond any mantras, places of worship, scriptures, or rituals.
- You are not your experiences, the object of experience, or the experiencer.
- You are Shiva, the auspicious and liberated one.
– With that mindset, try to contemplate this verse.
न मृत्युर्न शङ्का न मे जातिभेदः
पिता नैव मे नैव माता न जन्मः ।
न बन्धुर्न मित्रं गुरुर्नैव शिष्यं
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥५॥
na mṛtyurna śaṅkā na me jātibhedaḥ
pitā naiva me naiva mātā na janmaḥ
na bandhurna mitraṃ gururnaiva śiṣyaṃ
cidānandarūpaḥ śivo’ham śivo’ham ॥5॥
I am not limited
By the Fear of Death.
Neither am I restricted
By Caste or Other Distinctions.
I am beyond this Birth,
My Father and my Mother.
I don’t have Relatives or Friends.
Neither am I a Guru or a Disciple.
My True Form is
My Happy Inner Self,
Because I am Shiva!
I am Shiva!
Nirvana Shatakam isn’t just for the Sanyasi-s (renunciates)! Everything said here is applicable for all. In Sanatana Dharma, Sanyasa is a state of mind. It is beyond what we wear and how we live.
Adi Shankara chose the Sanyasi lifestyle. So, he literally left everything. On the other hand, Lord Krishna rejoiced in riches with a massive family. Yet, he too was a Sanyasi by attitude, as he indicates in the Gita.
Ultimately, spirituality is all about keeping the mind non-attached and free from fears. It is the most effective solution to feeling peaceful despite life’s hardships. Whether we do it through Bhakti, Sadhana, contemplation, or all of them simultaneously is our choice.
A note of caution here: Non-attachment (Vairagya) is not the same as disinterest in life. Adi Shankara and sages like him have worked tirelessly for this world. If they were disinterested, they wouldn’t have done that. Non-attachment doesn’t mean a lack of kindness or empathy either. It merely means you aren’t taking responsibility for anyone’s emotions. You understand that you are responsible only for your feelings and thoughts.
You can read the next verse here: Verse 6.