The song of Self—Last Verse

The song of Self—Last Verse

Atma Shatagam – Adi Shankaracharya  788 – 820 BC

ahaṃ nirvikalpo nirākāra rūpo

vibhutvā ca sarvatra sarvendriyāṇaṃ

na cāsangata naiva muktir na meyaḥ

cidānandarūpaḥ śivo’ham śivo’ham


अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकाररूपो
विभुत्वाच्च सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् ।
न चासङ्गतं नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥६॥




I am all pervasive. I am without any attributes, and without any form. I have neither attachment to the world, nor to liberation (mukti). I have no wishes for anything because I am everything, everywhere, every time, always in equilibrium.  I am Shiva, shivoham, shivoham. I am indeed, that eternal knowing and bliss, the auspicious (Śivam), love and pure consciousness.


Further Elaboration:

All the above verses incessantly elucidate the same thing, trying to answer the single question: who am I? Since this is the last verse I am recapitulating the first five verses here below J

Mano Buddhi Ahankara Chitta Ninaham
Nacha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghrana Netre
Nacha Vyoma Bhoomir Na Tejo Na Vayu
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego, nor the reflections of inner self (chitta).
I am not the five senses. I am beyond that.
I am not the ether, nor the earth, nor the fire, nor the wind (the five elements).
I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.

Na Cha Prana Samjno Na Vai Pancha Vayu
Na Va Saptadhatur Na Va Pancha Koshah
Na Vak Pani Padau Na Chopastha Payu
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

Neither can I be termed as energy (prana), nor five types of breath (vayus), nor the seven material essences, nor the five coverings (pancha-kosha).  Neither am I the five instruments of elimination, procreation, motion, grasping, or speaking.

Na Me Dvesha Ragau Na Me Lobha Mohau
Mado Naiva Me Naiva Matsarya Bhavah
Na Dharmo Na Chartho Na Kamo Na Mokshah
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

I have no hatred or dislike,  nor affiliation or liking,  nor greed,  nor delusion, 
nor pride or haughtiness,  nor feelings of envy or jealousy. I have no duty (dharma), nor any money, nor any desire (kama),  nor even liberation (moksha).

Na Punyam Na Papam Na Saukhyam Na Dukham
Na Mantro Na Teertham Na Vedo Na Yajnaha
Aham Bhojanam Naiva Bhojyam Na Bhokta
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

I have neither merit (virtue), nor demerit (vice). I do not commit sins or good deeds, nor have happiness or sorrow, pain or pleasure. I do not need mantras, holy places, scriptures (Vedas), rituals or sacrifices (yagnas). I am none of the triad of the observer or one who experiences, the process of observing or experiencing,
or any object being observed or experienced

Na Me Mrityu Shanka Na Me Jati Bhedah
Pita Naiva Me Naiva Mata Na Janma
Na Bandhur Na Mitram Gurur Naiva Shishyah
Chidananda Rupa Shivoham Shivoham

I do not have fear of death, as I do not have death. I have no separation from my true self, no doubt about my existence, nor have I discrimination on the basis of birth. I have no father or mother, nor did I have a birth. I am not the relative, 
nor the friend, nor the guru, nor the disciple. 


All the above verses; if the reader gives them a careful reading; continuously explain what the boy ( shankaracharya ) is not! He begins saying – “He is not mind, intellect nor ego, then up until the fifth verse he is saying he is not death nor birth, since he has neither!”  Only the last verse begins with – “I am…” He is all pervasive. He is everywhere and in everything and in everyone! He is… and because He is …this world also is…” if we deny His existence then we might have to question all else too. He resides in every animate- inanimate part, particle of this universe and beyond. How can anyone not be Him when we all have Him in us? Do the broken pieces of a mirror reflect a different face in every broken piece? No! They reflect the same face; even the smallest shard has the same face, very miniscule undoubtedly, but the same reflection. Where is the doubt then? Why do we think HE is separate from us? Why this feeling of distance or separateness and differentiation? What fails to bring in the feeling of oneness in all of us?

Why do we behave thus? Why do we so doggedly distance our self from our Self? I am repeating the  introductory paragraph here:   It is a very striking point to note that when the universe began it was in such a pristine pure state; science and spirituality were one, Religion was one, and we all were one. Every householder was a saint, enlightened and achieving the real goal of life. With time ominously dark clouds started to appear, wisdom became a restricted property. Religion became Religions, and Science and spirituality parted ways. Science looked for reason and doubted everything, Spirituality became the mute spectator. We have uprooted our own culture and heritage in our greed for wealth and scientific advancement. What every householder knew then is an enigma to almost the whole nation now.

 What Jagat Guru, Adi shankaracharya could answer with such simplicity and lucidity then, in 788 – 820 BC; at the mere age of 8; we, today, are yet to decipher and capture the essence of those verses. This realized soul knew the reason, purpose, source of his existence and the role he had come to play in the short life that God had blessed him with.


And here we are today, with all our modern technologies and extraordinary discoveries, yet befuddled more than ever before and unable to answer the fundamental question.

During our self development classes we ask the students this question – Who am I? And my co –faculty always introduces this in a unique way: “we used to have a television show (This is during those good old B/W TV days where only one channel came) named ‘Tarang’. In that show once the teacher and the students play ’catch me if you can’ and all the children race to catch the teacher. One student catches the hand and shouts, ‘caught you, caught you!’ And the wise teacher says, ‘NO! You caught my hand! U did not catch me!’ and this goes on, one student catches the head, the shirt, the leg, all the body parts but get the same reply from the teacher!! Suddenly they all jump on the teacher together and scream in unison, ‘Now we caught you! And the wily teacher still has that huge smile on his face and says, ‘No! This is my body that you have pounced upon! Who am I!? ” Now this story always holds the audience and they all close their eyes to introspect, pause and ruminate. What is it that aptly answers this question?

If we take the example of Bruce Lee’s famous dialogue: “Be Water my friend…” Are we water? Even then one is a glass of water, the other may be a cup, then again another may be rose colored water and someone else maybe ice. These are all the attributes and clothing or coverings of water. But are we water yet? Water is, it has no taste, no form, no color, and no attributes; yet without water we cannot survive. Similarly, HE is and so I am! All the rest that differentiate us from each other are merely attributes, layers, clothing, bondages, samskara whatever name we choose to give. Thus, remove the layers and what remains is He. And the same He will be in everyone, and all becomes One, singular, no diversity nor separateness.

No wonder that a true Saint sees only a reflection of oneself in the rest of the world. And we in our stupid smallness try to see ourselves and find fault in the rest of the world. We are unique, true, but think again, is this uniqueness really such a good attribute? Why do we wish to be unique or different?

Thus, to conclude, try and see Him in yourself, to answer this question ‘ who am I?’ and to truly realize Him and be one with Him,  try and see Him in all else too. I am..Because He is…

Thank you