Atma Shatakam

Atma Shatakam

The त्मषटकम् Atmashatakam also known as the िर्वाणषटकम् Nirvaanashatakam was composed by Adi Shankaracharya.

These are ideal songs for an enlightened soul. Ultimate realization comes from knowing one’s own soul. Here we recognize that there is no reality other than the true self.

The ultimate “I” is addressed in these shlokas, creating a distinction between the elements which we usually feel is the self versus the Ultimate Self. Everything comes from and merges into Brahman, therefore everything is Brahman.

मनोबुद्धयहंकार ित्तानि ाहं, श्रोत्रजिव्हे घ्राणेत्रे
व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो वाुः, िदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम्

Mano buddhyahankara chittani naham,
Na cha shrotra jihve, na cha ghraṇa netre.
Na cha vyoma bhumih na tejo na vayuh
Chidaananda rupah shivoham shivoham.

I1 am not intellect, ego or mind, I have no ears or hearing force; no tongue or taste; no nostril or smell; no eyes or sight2; I am not of the space, earth, light or wind; I am pure consciousness, Bliss, the Self; I am Auspiciousness, auspiciousness alone!

प्राणज्ञो वै पंचवायुः, वा प्तधातुः वा पञ्चकोशः
वाक्पाणिपादं ोपस्थपायु, िदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम्

Na cha praaṇa saṅgyo na vai paṅcha vayuh
Na vaa sapta dhaatur na vaa paṇcha koshah
Na vak paaṇi paadau na chopastha paayoo
Chidaananda rupah shivoham shivoham.

I am neither the praana/vital air, nor the five forces3. of praana, and I am neither the seven-fold4 materials that help in bodily development and maintenance of the body nor am the five elements of personality5. I have no organs of action6, be it speech, movement, walking or gesturing. I am pure consciousness, Bliss, the Self; I am Auspiciousness, auspiciousness alone!  

मे द्वेषरागौ मे लोभमोहौ, मदो ैव मे ैव मात्सर्यभावः
धर्मो ार्थो कामो मोक्षः, िदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम्

Na me dveṣha raagau na me lobha mohau
Mado naiva me naiva maatsarya bhaavah
Na dharmo na chaartho na kaamo na mokshah
Chidaananda rupah shivoham shivoham.

I have no likes or dislikes. I have no greed or delusion. I have no pride or arrogance. I am neither jealous of anyone nor do I compete with anyone7. I even do not even need the pillars of life8. I am pure consciousness, Bliss, the Self, I am Auspiciousness, auspiciousness alone!

पुण्य पापं ौख्यं दुःखं, मन्त्र तीर्थ वेदा ज्ञ
अहं भोजनं ैव भोज्यं भोक्ता, िदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम्

Na puṇyam na paapam na shaukhyam na duhkham
Na mantro na teertham na vedaa na yagyaaha
Aham bhojanam naiva bhogyam na bhoktaa
Chidaananda rupah shivoham shivoham.

I am neither sinful nor sinless9. I have neither pleasure nor pain, joy nor sorrow. I need not know any Mantra, nor do I need to make any pilgrimages. I need not know any scripture nor do I gain anything through rituals. I am not the experience (subject) not the experienced (object) and not the experiencer (doer), I am pure consciousness, Bliss, the Self, I am Auspiciousness, auspiciousness alone!

मे मृत्युशंका मे जातिभेदः, पिता ैव मे ैव माता जन्म
्धुर्न मित्रं गुरूर्नैव शिष्यः, िदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम्

Na me mrityu shankaa na me jaati bhedah
Pitaa naiva me naiva maataa na janma
Na bandhur na mitram gurur naiva shiṣhyah
Chidaananda rupah shivoham shivoham.

I do not experience death, or fear, I have no distinction of caste or class, I have neither father nor mother – I was never born!10. I have neither relatives nor friends11; I have neither any teacher (guru) nor any student, I am pure consciousness, Bliss, the Self, I am Auspiciousness, auspiciousness alone!

अहं िर्विकल्पो िराकार रूपो, विभुत्वा र्वत्र र्वेन्द्रियाणाम्
ासङ्गतम् ैव मुक्तिर्न मे, िदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम्

Aham nirvikalpo niraakaara-roopo
Vibhur vyaapya sarvatra sarvendriyaaṇaam
Na cha saṅgatam naiva muktirna meyah.
Chidaananda rupah shivoham shivoham.

I am free of thought. I am changeless, formless, enveloping all. Untouched by senses, I am all-pervading and all-existent12. Unfathomable, I am even beyond freedom. I am pure consciousness, Bliss, the Self, I am Auspiciousness, auspiciousness alone!

  1. The ultimate “I” is addressed in these shlokas, creating a distinction between the elements which we usually feel is the self versus the Ultimate Self. Everything comes from and merges into Brahman, therefore everything is Brahman.
  2. The 5 senses are from the perspective of 10 Indriyas (senses), 5 active expressions called कर्मिन्द्रिय (karmendriya) (sense of action) which are also called the 5 exit doors which includes वाक् तत्त्व vaaktattva – the philosophy and science of speech, पानितत्त्व paani-tattva – grasping, gesturing, moving and manipulation of (hands), पादतत्त्व paadatattva – walking, standing (feet), पायुतत्त्व paayutattva – eliminating/excretion (anus), उपस्थतत्त्व upasthatattva – procreation (genitals). Then the 5 cognitive senses, ज्ञानेन्द्रिय  Jyanendriya, called entrance doors (entrance to consciousness) – that is the 5 cognitive senses, आँख or नेत्र eye – which allows sight or चक्षु relating to अग्नि agni, नाक – nose allows smelling, जीव tongue – tasting, त्वचा fingers – touching and कान ears hearing.
  3. The five types of Praana:  प्राण Praan, अपान Apaan, व्यान Vyaan, उदान Udaan and समान Samaan. प्राण वायु Praana-vayu operates from the heart chakra, upward flowing energy that revitalizes the life forces. Apana Vayu operates from the base of the torso (last chakra), downward flowing energy that has to do with eliminating and throwing off what is no longer needed. Samana Vayu operates in the navel chakra, dealing with digestion and allowing for mental discrimination between useful and non-useful thoughts. Udana-Vayu operates from the throat chakra and drives exhalation, eliminating the unnecessary and working in conjunction with Praana-vayu. Vyana-Vayu operates throughout the body, coordinating energy and flow of and through various systems and processes. The Praana force drives the ten indriyas (कर्मिन्द्रिय karmendriya and ज्ञानिन्द्रिय gyaandriya)
  4. The 7 materials in bodily development and maintenance (called 7 dhaatus) are रस धातु  rasa dhaatu (Fluids, plasma, the flow of nourishment between cells), रक्त धातु  rakta dhaatu (blood cells), मांस धातु maasa dhaatu (Muscular tissue and flesh), मेद धातु meda dhaatu (other tissues, adipose tissues, fatty tissue), अस्थि धातु Asthi Dhaatu (bones and cartilage that provide support), मज्जा धातु Majjaa Dhaatu (Bone marrow that supports Asthi Dhaatu) and शुक्र धातु Shukra Dhaatu (Generative tissues, also reproductive tissues including semen)
  5. The five elements of personality, known as the 5-fold state are anatomical, physiological, mental, intellectual, and bliss. These are referred to as the 5 elements for body (food, air, mind, knowledge or wisdom and pleasure). However, in Yoga, there are 5 koshas – which are the sheaths or layers of consciousness surrounding us are: अन्नमय कोश Annamaya kosha (physical sheath), प्राणमय कोश Pranamaya kosha (energy sheath), मनोमय कोश manamaya kosha (mental sheath), विज्ञानमय कोश vigyanamaya kosha (wisdom sheath), आनन्दमय कोश anandamaya kosha (bliss sheath) and आत्मन कोश atman kosha (self, ‘I” or soul)
  6. The 5 organs of action: mouth, hands, feet, reproduction, excretion
  7. This identifies 6 types of likes/dislikes with others: द्वेष dvesha feeling of hatred, राग raaga – feeling of friendship, लोभ lobha greed, मोह moha worldly attachment, मद mada arrogance, मात्सर्य maatsarya jealousy
  8. The 4 scriptural pillars of life (purpose of physical living) are usually referred to as the 4 पुरुषार्थ purusharthas of life: धर्म  Dharma – Righteous Laws (principles) of Life, अर्थ Artha – wealth, काम Kaama – desires, मोक्ष Moksha – emancipation.
  9. The worldly कर्म karmas and their fruits: पुण्य Punya virtuous actions and पाप paapa sinful actions; सुख sukha pleasure and happiness and दुःख dukha sorrow/pain. AND the righteous कर्म karmas and their fruits. वेद Veda (scripture) and मन्त्र Mantra (divine words); तीर्थ teertha (pilgrimage (also water) and यज्ञ yagya ritual and sacrifice
  10. Life and its association with self is now being detached जन्म Janma – birth; मृत्यु mrityu – death, जाति भेद jaati bhedah – classification in life and caste (varna), शंखा shamkaa – doubts and suspicion.
  11. The main types of developmental relationships are said to be between Father & Mother, Parents and Children, Siblings, Friends and teacher & student
  12. Only after the detachment from everything, every relation, every craving that we then realize the potent of liberation. Moksh and liberation. Freedom from everything brings godlike quality and merging with God. To attain the qualities of nirvikalpa (One without class, differences), being independent of any classification; niraakaar – formless. roopa – nature, vibhuh – all existent, sarvendriya – in all senses; etc