Nirvana Shatkam

There are many paths of spiritual progress, and even though from outside they look different, all paths lead to same destination.

One may decide to do Krishna Bhakti, Shiva Bhakti, Bhakti of Shakti, Rama, Ganapati, Hanuman etc.. Or one may decide follow Dnyan marg, Dhyan marg, Karma Marga, or anything in-between. Once they master their path, everyone reaches to the same destination.

This destination too has multiple names, some call it Vaikuntha-lok, Kailasa-lok, Go-lok, moksha, self-realization, eternal-happiness or eternal-calm, and many others, but all agrees that, to reach there one has to give up the attachment of “me-as-my-body”, all hatred, all desires, and just be one with your path.

Just like Mira would see Krishna in everything, including the poison that she was made to drink. She didn’t hate anyone, for that matter she didn’t love anyone apart from Krishna.

This destination is summarized very well by Adi Shankaracharya in his Nirvana Shatkam. It uses a common technique used in Dnyan yoga, called neti-neti (not-this, not-this) to find the truth.

While there are certain difference how other philosophies like Dwaita see this, but at the summary level this description still holds good.


मनोबुद्ध्यहंकार चित्तानि नाहं न च श्रोत्रजिह्वे न च घ्राणनेत्रे । न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।
While we adore this body, we are not really the body, as when we die body stays but we don’t. Also, we can’t be intellect, mind or pride as those are attributes of the body, and as we are not body, we are not those too.

न च प्राणसंज्ञो न वै पंचवायुः, न वा सप्तधातुः न वा पञ्चकोशः । न वाक्पाणिपादौ न चोपस्थपायु, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।
Also as we are not the body, things that make the body also not ours.

न मे द्वेषरागौ न मे लोभमोहौ, मदो नैव मे नैव मात्सर्यभावः । न धर्मो न चार्थो न कामो न मोक्षः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।
All the hatred, likes/dislikes, desires, duties, even the desire for moksha is due to our attachment to the body, as we are not body, we are none of those.

न पुण्यं न पापं न सौख्यं न दुःखं, न मन्त्रो न तीर्थो न वेदा न यज्ञ । अहं भोजनं नैव भोज्यं न भोक्ता, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।
Paap/Punya are the reason for birth or death of body, and same goes with happiness and sorrows too, so, none of that is us.

न मे मृत्युशंका न मे जातिभेदः, पिता नैव मे नैव माता न जन्मः । न बन्धुर्न मित्रं गुरूर्नैव शिष्यः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।
As we are not body and other things we saw earlier, there is no death for us, same way, we don’t have birth, mother, father, friends, and Guru, or anything else which associates us to the body.

अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकार रूपो, विभुत्वाच सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् । न चासङ्गतं नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।।
If we are none of these, then what are we?… We are the all-pervasive self, which fills the whole universe or for that matter “which is the universe”. We have no attachment to the world and has no-need-of-moksha too, as we ourselves are “the moksha”. In short, we are that eternal-bliss, which people call Shiva.


You can hear this another beautiful composition by Adi Shankara, in the voice of SP Balasubrahmanyam :