Nirvana Shatakam is attributed to the great Adi Shankara. In this short treatise he defines all that we are not (neti, neti—not this, not that), and positively affirms that we are Spirit. This declaration, "I am He" or "I am Spirit" is a common interpretation of "Shivohum" which has several literal meanings in Sanskrit. Often set to music, these verses are a powerful affirmation of our true nature in the face of the many limitations our soul's are identified with.
Paramahansa Yogananda wrote that the seeds of truth expounded in scripture are covered by "the hard shell of language and ambiguity." But through the guidance of a true guru one can use the "nutcracker of intuitive perception" to open the shells and find within the seed of truth.
With these words in mind, I offer a simple translation of this sacred text in the way that I have learned it, and I encourage serious seekers to look for further understanding and knowledge from authentic and qualified sages and their writings.
Original Text By: Adi Shankara (7th Century)
Translation by: Naren K. Schreiner
Click Here For Pronunciation Guide
mano-buddhyahaṅkāra-cittā ni nāhaṁ na ca śrotrajihve na ca ghrāṇanetre |
na ca vyoma-bhūmiḥ na tejo na vāyuḥ cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'haṁ śivo'ham ||
I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego, nor feeling-consciousness (citta). I am not touch, hearing, taste, smell nor sight (the five senses). I am not ether, earth, radiance (fire), nor air (the five elements). I am conscious bliss in form, I am Spirit, I am Spirit.
na ca prāṇasañjño na vai pañcavāyuḥna vā saptadhātur na vā pañcakośaḥ |
na vāk pāṇipādau na copasthapāyū cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'haṁ śivo'ham ||
I am not life-force (prāṇa), nor the five breaths (vāyus), nor the seven bodily metals, nor the five sheaths of consciousness (kośa). Not the bodily functions of elimination, procreation, motion, holding, or speaking. I am conscious bliss in form, I am Spirit, I am Spirit.
na me dveṣa-rāgau na me lobha-mohau mado naiva me naiva mātsarya-bhāvaḥ |
na dharmo nacārtho na kāmo na mokṣaḥ cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'haṁ śivo'ham ||
I have no aversion nor attraction to anything, no greed, nor delusion, nor ego-pride, nor envy. Not duty (dharma), nor wealth, nor desire, nor liberation (mokṣa). I am conscious bliss in form, I am Spirit, I am Spirit.
na puṇyaṁ na pāpaṁ na saukhyaṁ na duḥkhaṁ na mantro na tīrthaṁ na vedā na yajñāḥ |
ahaṁ bhojanaṁ naiva bhojyaṁ na bhoktā cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'haṁ śivo'ham ||
Not virtue, nor vice, not happiness nor sadness. No mantras, holy places, scriptures (Vedas), nor rituals (yajña). I am not the one who eats food, nor the act of eating, nor the food itself. I am conscious bliss in form, I am Spirit, I am Spirit.
na me mṛtyuśaṅkā na me jātibhedaḥ pitā naiva me naiva mātā na janma |
na bandhur na mitraṁ gurur-naiva śiṣyaḥ cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'haṁ śivo'ham ||
For me there is no death nor identification with caste. I have no father, nor mother, nor birth. Not relatives, nor friends, nor guru, nor students. I am conscious bliss in form, I am Spirit, I am Spirit.
ahaṁ nirvikalpo nirākāra-rūpo vibhur-vyāpya sarvatra sarvendriyāṇām |
sadā me samatvaṁ na muktir na bandhaḥ cidānandarūpaḥ śivo'haṁ śivo'ham ||
I am without any attributes and without any form. I am all-pervading, omnipresent, eternal. I am beyond both liberation (mukti) and material bondage. I am conscious bliss in form, I am Spirit, I am Spirit.
©2015 Sangita Yoga