who am I?

Busily Lazy!

Busily Lazy!

“Often what we think of as the things ‘wrong’ with us are only expressions of our own individuality…… To try to be like another is to shrivel our soul.”


In the last one year, my life has shifted from being overwhelmingly busy to absolute boredom. In India, despite being a housewife, I felt I was the busiest person on the planet. I was actively involved in many things I liked to do and my life felt like it had some purpose. Meditation and my Mission play a pivotal role in my life. Naturally, my whole day simply flew doing something or the other pertaining to my Mission. 


In the past, I do not remember complaining once about my husband’s continuing absence and extra devotion to his work at the cost of totally neglecting the family. I juggled all the household duties the best I could, giving total precedence to Mission work. Since I always had some Mission related work waiting for me; I finished the rest of these daily chores with alacrity, rather they seemed to take care of themselves with ease, and I always had time to do what I really loved doing.


 I managed free time to devote to my hobbies, like learning music, reading, writing and sketching. In a nutshell, tending to the kids, my volunteer work combined with time spent in my hobbies, I never had room to sit idle. With ease and some magical power that comes from passion, I was able to pursue my hobbies, accomplish my household chores and be an active volunteer too.  I am actually trying to describe is ‘myself’: me and my whole self, my individuality manifested through my activities during the day, all of which vests on one word, Mission.


The past year brought a conflicting and discordant change in ‘me – myself’.  The one thing which kept me going, happy and purpose – filled disappeared. This move overseas brought with it changes and new challenges I needed to adapt to. The country and its culture were new to me, so it became more or less like a rebirth. The last one year was a different kind of discovery; more about the place, people, my daughter’s school, her life and routine. Thus, volunteering or working for the Mission was not an option. Every other routine was the same; household chores, tending to my daughter and with zero Mission work I was either writing or sketching or practicing music.  Without wasting any time, I located my Ashram in London (later in Dublin, Ireland which is where I am living presently); started attending Satsangh and put my name down for volunteer work. It was then a matter of time, I was assured; that I would surely get some Mission work and be busy again the way I loved to be. Until then I was determined to keep myself busy and learn to be happy and cheerful like I was back home. This thought process barely worked for about 2months.


I am inherently a shy person; and this was not India. I hesitated to repeatedly go and seek ‘work’. Anything I volunteered for, the rules were different here and I needed some clearance or the other. That meant another long wait of maybe 6months or so! I still tried to remain unfazed and kept going with the thought of ‘As long I am busy, I am happy, with or without Mission work’.  Work never came; I stopped asking, I busily kept waiting for them to ask….and ended up becoming busily lazy.  Gradually, my attendance reduced, I was too busy being lazy and conjured some lame excuse to stay home; skip ashram.


With this busily-lazy change came to light other changes. My life, with all the busy schedules and never ending chores, seemed very purposeless and devoid of ‘life’. The spark was gone. My complaints about my husband’s absence became incessant. With or without reason, I demanded to be sent back home. I could not see the reason why he brought us across seven seas and dumped us in this ‘hellhole’! (No disrespect to Dublin, it is a beautiful place, but my heart did not belong here and I was tired of being busily-idle!). My husband was perplexed, I had more work here, yet I complained of being free! I was in one of the most developed, clean countries of the world, yet I was unwell, falling sick, and forever complaining. 


Back home, with my volunteering work, I had to snatch time to pursue any of my hobbies. Here I could live a calm, planned life, not be disturbed and pursue every hobby, whim and fancy to my heart’s content. Yet, I was unhappy, and most of my household chores were untended to. Some work or the other remained pending. I was forgetful and started to procrastinate. With such a busy schedule in India every chore happened like clockwork. Magically, I found spare time to pursue my hobbies too. Here, I stopped music altogether. I dabbled with writing, a bit of jibber-jabber about everything and very soon it was tedious to write. The last few months my sketching too has come to a standstill. I was so busily – lazy that I never found ‘time’ to accomplish the basic household chores.


With my individuality lost, the comparisons began. I compared myself to others, they were all busy working, earning and seemed to enjoy life. I was sitting at home doing nothing which was depressing and very demoralising. I hurriedly started hunting for a job, any job. Work to keep me busy; get me out of this dreadful busily-lazy state. Then I read this:


“This is our uniqueness and what is special about us. Nature never repeats itself. …..We are meant to be different. When we can accept this, then there is no competition and no comparison. … We have come to this planet to express who we are.”


Thus, the past year has been one roller coaster ride of emotions. A learning year, keeping me busily busy with me- myself!  This new year heralds a new me. I comprehend that Mission work and my eagerness to spread my Master’s word is what is unique to me. How can that be copied from anyone? I am making friends, putting up flyers wherever it is allowed, to spread His word!


I have made small break throughs too. I am doing my Mission work again, not as actively as I aspire for, but I am hopeful and success is assuredly within reach. I have resumed writing, because my writings best express who I am. THIS is me, my true identity. And, I am happy again being busily-busy.


Note:  Most of my recent articles are self-deprecating, introspective and seriously one track! The whole year I seem to be reminiscing about my poor self, happy self, good self and all the many selves I suddenly seem to have countenanced in my whole persona. This will be my last one friends, this new year I assure you, you will see a new me, a positive me and a focused me. Here is to new beginnings and bidding adieu to the old me…


Who will I make peace with?

Who will I make peace with?

Peace is such an elusive term, attempting to attain peace I always feel I have gone piece – piece!  Personal experience has taught me the same lesson every time I ventured in search of peace; peace is what you feel from within and it comes only when the resistance from within stops and I am able to get into a state of accepting what is happening around me.

Peace is something I have been trying to make peace with since childhood. So, let me trace it back as far as my memory goes and see how at each stage I made peace with and who. Also how long this peace lasted before I was off searching peace againJ!

My first memory traces back to making peace with my siblings, either because I needed something from them or because we got into a squabble and it was time to make peace; else no one to play with! This making peace was in a day in day out affair, throughout my growing up years. Peace here seemed very easy to achieve because one moment we were all angry and at each other’s throats and the next we were either crying and hugging each other or apologizing and making amends or laughing away our foolish behaviour. Our childhood has a very simple definition and meaning for peace. The ability to be happy at that moment and have what we wish to have; then peace is there.

My next advent with peace was closer to my emotions and myself, than with making peace with others and buying peace from them, being at peace with them. My college days proved a big tug of war and a very learning experience at every step. The generation gap suddenly loomed very large in front of me and everything I did went against my parent’s wishes.  Try as I might I could not make peace with them, it lasted only so long before something else triggered their displeasure!  The career option I chose was not their choice, the clothes I started to wear were displeasing to them, the amount I ate raised their eyebrows sky high, the way I spoke seemed very outspoken, ill -mannered and brazen, the way I walked on the streets was rather provocative to their taste, they would have been happier with a more demure walk! The places I visited, the company I kept, everything was questionable or changeable. Name it, everything about my lifestyle and me had a red rage, or panic button written on it. Somehow, it was a mammoth task to please them and by the end of first year I was fast wearing out. The irony was that my sisters seemed to fare well! At least, their career path was graphed by my parents and they walked on it! I noticed that a lot of leeway was given to them, coming home after an appointed time was ok for them a taboo for me! They were going for coaching; I was going to waste my time doing something they did not want me to do in the first place. They rarely had to protest so the way spoke was exemplary, the way they walked was admirable and the way they conducted their life was what I was to emulate. Clothes and food became secondary and very minor negatives. The differences and challenges were gaping wide. And I was traversing down a whirlpool, caught up in my own dreams and ambitions and also trying to save my relationship with my parents, make peace with them.

If I made them happy, made peace at home doing what they wanted; I felt very obsolete and lonely at college! I was stuck between two very different worlds and I wondered why God landed me in this particular orthodox family! How all the other friends managed to look happy, be at ease (peace – I could not define or dare ask them then). I was unhappy at both places, home and outside of home. I was unhappy on my own, I was out of place with friends, and I was an outsider at home. And for the life of me, I could not figure out why! All I knew was making others happy was not buying me lasting happiness, and at times it made me sad. And many things I was doing were only a reaction or an act of defiance, I was not very comfortable or happy doing those deeds.

This set me thinking; and my last two years of degree were more of a self-study, than academic or career studies. The more I read, sought advice from my lecturers and the more I pondered; the answer that came to me was always a singular line – “Am I happy, comfortable, at peace doing whatever I was doing?” If yes, I was able to carry it through despite protests at home. I could convince them, reason and make peace too. But if the answer from within said – “No, I am not comfortable, at ease with myself.” Then I knew I needed to rethink.

To cut a long story short; I stepped into my post graduate studies as a person who was at peace with herself.  I had my challenges; my parents were still not very happy with my life’s progress report. I lost some good friends due to misunderstandings; I made some new ones along the way and in all this I managed to maintain my peace. I had made peace with myself, with who I am, who I need to be and how I need to live my life.

It made me strike a balance between achieving my needs and wishes, at the same time manage to keep my parents feathers unruffled and also maintain a good rapport with my friends and peers. I needed to weigh them, friends and family on either side of the weighing scale and I became the pivot or the tipping point. If I could hold myself steady the balance was maintained, else the scales tipped.  My lifestyle could not be dictated totally by anyone but me. The clothes I wore, the career I chose, the company I kept all were intrinsically tied to my comfort level and adaptability. If chose to be defiant and went against my family, I could not maintain the façade for long.  Something which stayed with me till now was the clothes I was brought up in and the clothes I out of the blue decided to wear when I entered college! Similarly, the food we were used to at home throughout my growing up years and the whole new palette that opened up because of college canteen, pocket money, outings with friends. I was comfortable only for a while and then became very ill at ease, both with the clothes and the food and the so called things I was doing with my friends. 

The situation now, as a mother and the challenges I face are more of a déjà vu. And much of what I did as a youth seems to flash in front of my eyes, actions and arguments with my teenage son. Fortunately for me, I learnt and implemented my learning and can be a smart, orthodox and a modern mom all rolled in one. Making peace with myself helped me translate the same to my children also. I coached them find their space, their comfort corner. I mentored them to identify their unique qualities, make peace with their faults or inabilities and focus on their strengths. The life they lead the choices they made; the kind of friends they moved with and finally the food they were inclined to, defined their inner nature and they had to find their balance in all this! Now peace for them is no longer friends and family balancing but balancing food, clothes, ambitions, and their own natural instincts.

Similarly, peace for me is an entirely new ball game, holds a different meaning and the war I wage is also distinctive to me. The understanding that came was making peace with family, relations and a friend is a life long journey.  This realisation dawned rather late to me, and how peace was pivotal to my leading a happy and a complete life. A life which left little to seek; a life which makes its mistakes, experiments, walks down unknown path and, yet is brave enough to acknowledge, accept and accomplish peace; an inner peace with the self.  A life which can inspire every other person I come contact with, and help that person also make peace, with whoever he or she is waging a war with; thus I too continue to make peace with myself.

Thank you.


I wrote this article a year ago, published in another magazine titled: www.radiantstreets.com

The song of Self – 5th verse

The song of Self – 5th verse

Atma Shatagam—Adi Shankaracharya  788-820 BC

Na Me Mrityu shanka Name jaati bedhah,

Pita naiva me naiva mata na janmah|

Na bandhur na mitram guru naiva shishyah ,

Chidananda roopah Shivoham shivoham | 5|

न् में मृत्यु शंका न् में जाती भेद:

पिता नैव् में नैव् माता न जन्म

न बन्धुर न् मित्रं गुरु नैव शिष्य:

चिदानंद रूप: शिवोहम शिवोहम |५|


I neither doubt death nor have I fear of death; I have no caste distinctions. I am neither the mother nor the father. I was never born and I have no kith or kin. I am no one’s friend; I am not a guru nor am I any one’s shishya. I have no separation from my true self, no doubt about my existence, nor have I discrimination on the basis of birth. I am not the relative, nor the friend, nor the guru nor the disciple. I myself am the joy of pure consciousness; I am Shiva, shivoham, shivoham. I am indeed, that eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.

Further Elaboration:

As a student I attended many personality development workshops. The emphasis was always on communication skills, good dressing sense and the ability to be competitive, driven; I needed to have an edge over the other students.  The focus always seemed on being aware of what the competing student was doing and do better than that person else I would end up losing my coveted spot.  Now, I never figured how someone else’s coveted spot could be mine too. And how come I was competing with that person with no idea whether I wanted to be in the race for the so called coveted spot at all! This juggling with others, trying to read their mind, probing into their life left me in such disarray about my own self, who I really wanted to be or even who I really was.

This world was in many ways always trying to confuse me and I was finding it increasingly difficult to trust my own kith and kin. Identity is the only thing I was desperately trying to hang on to; losing my identity meant losing everything.  But what is identity? Does it always remain the same? Even my given name changed with marriage and I adopt my husband’s name. From being my parent’s child I had graduated and become a parent myself, identity changes seemed to happen at every step of my life and yet here I was, searching and seeking the answer to this core question, who am I?

The answers came, gradually and one at a time, after I joined meditation.  As I sat meditating one day, something happened and I felt very anxious, worried and perturbed. I saw myself dissolving and re-emerging as a different person, same face, body and skin, but a new identity and yet I was the same, no change in me as a person as such! ‘I’ would seem to burn into cinders and again a new ‘I’ seemed to emerge, like the phoenix.  This thought bothered, and thus stayed with me awhile. I ruminated over this recurring ‘I’ with a new face. I tried to blend, merge with the daughter feeling in me, and saw myself as a wife. I tried to put both together then a new role of mother popped through a third window of my mind. This seemed very unending and nerve wrecking to me. I was one person, yet so many people depending on the time, situation, given role or duty.  Who or which identity was meditating then, all these months? And who was I searching for during these hours of meditation and contemplation? How many people was this singular I and how many more roles could this person play? What exactly was I trying to fathom?

I  sat and meditated more on this singular thought about who I am, and what was I trying to figure out, who was I trying to search for, why this recurrence of ‘I’ during mediation? Does this ever disappear? Dissolve into oblivion or merge with my creator? Is there such a possibility? Out of blue it came, only when ‘I’ was immersed in HIM did this I seem to dissolve, disappear or merge! Else it always seemed to retain its identity.  This I did not die, it was always there, in whichever form, role I chose to play or identify with. The core or the essence was always the same, I kept changing the clothing ever so often, I failed to pause and see, really see the core within.  I was so busy playing all these roles and disguises, the real I was lost and had gone silent, deep into the recesses of my heart.  I was nothing but HE, the creator, the one person from whom I came; a part of HE.

So, who and where was this I, really? No one and nowhere if seen independently, or the one person whose role I may be playing momentarily; and everywhere and everyone when merged with HIM! A mirror broken reflects the same face in that many number of pieces and when put together the same many faces magically emerge as one. Thus is my inner self too, as long as I predominance remains ‘I’ is a mere piece of the mirror, reflecting it. The minute ‘I’ realises and merges with the mirror it becomes whole again.

To conclude, who am I? I am all of this and also I am neither the mother nor the father. I was never born and I have no kith or kin. I am no one’s friend; I am not a guru nor am I any one’s shishya. I have no separation from my true self, no doubt about my existence, nor have I discrimination on the basis of birth. I am not the relative, nor the friend, nor the guru nor the disciple. I myself am the joy of pure consciousness; I am Shiva, shivoham, shivoham. I am indeed, that eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.

Song of self – Verse IV…

Song of self – Verse IV…

Dear readers,

First accept my sincere apologies for the long delay. Totally my fault and I am sure most of you have given up on me:(. I will be regular and win you all once again:)

Here is the 4 th verse and will soon be followed by the 5th and the last one…



Atma Shatagam—Adi Shankaracharya  788-820 BC

Na punyam na papam, na saukhyam na dukham

Na mantro na Teertham, na vedo na yagnaha |

Aham bhojanam naiva bhojyam na bhokta

Chidananda roopah, shivoham shivoham |4|

न् पुण्यम न् पापं न् सौख्यं न् दु:खम

न् मंत्रों न् तीर्थं न् वेदा न् याग्ना:

आहम भोजनम न् भोज्यं न् भोक्ता

चिदानन्द रूपह शिवोहम शिवोहम ||४||


I have neither merit (virtue), nor demerit (vice). I am not attached to any righteousness or sinful deeds. I do not commit sins or good deeds, nor have I happiness or sorrow, pain or pleasure.  I have no need for pilgrimages; or any of the sacred scriptures, nor do I have to perform any special rituals or sacrifices.  The Vedas and Yagnas are of no concern to me, even the holy places. I am neither the meal nor the one who consumes or what is consumed.  I am none of the triad of the observer or the one who experiences, the process of observing or experiencing, or any object being observed or experienced.   I am the fortunate, joyful, Supreme Being who is the very emblem of truth, knowledge and eternal bliss. I myself am the spiritual joy of pure consciousness; Shiva- Shivoham Shivoham. I am indeed, that eternal knowing and bliss, love and pure consciousness.

Further Elaboration:

This beautiful verse is taking us a step closer to knowing oneself. The Self remains unaffected by neither external senses nor the inner turmoil of emotions we create within for ourselves.  This verse tries to explore and nullify a few other entanglements which affect the self, distancing us or differentiating the self from the pervasive Self.  We are like the spider entangled in its own web. The spider spins the web from its own self and foolishly , or perhaps unwittingly (like us humans) keeps spreading the web and it remains in the center of the web the core of the web is the spider and the day it destroys itself, the web disappears.  The spider borrows no material from outside, it is all in the spider, the spider, the web around it , the world the spider has created for itself, all from within the spider, the web to the onlooker appears to be on the outside which is a mere illusion. Verily like this world, its sequential events that we are so entangled in; but if we pause and see, observe, be the observer, we realise the myth that all this apparent reality is.

A small narrative is reproduced here for further clarification: An ageing master grew tired of casino his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” said the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,

“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

This again elucidates the extent to which we are governed by our mind and perception. Either we are like the spider caught in its own web spun out of its own self. Or we are like the apprentice who is unable to look at the larger perspective and dwell in our small world; the limited glass of water. For a realised person none of this matter, yet everything matters. He /she are neither bound by event nor does this realised person crave for freedom from such event.

Another perspective to fathom this better; the food we eat goes through the whole cycle, does it not? It is in the seed form, grows into a sapling, plant and tree and bears fruit again. We eat the fruit in the raw form and some digests; gives us the requisite energy, the faeces we pass is also the same fruit we consumed. This goes back to the nature, consumed by some other life forms and converted to energy yet again. This faeces returned to nature in a different form provides manure or life energy to the soil and in turn to the tree too. What or who is getting affected here and how? Everything finally seems to convert to energy, a life force depending on the need of the life form. This person, enjoying the food, is a part of the external universe and identifies with the gross universe, which is but a manifestation or the Maya in play. This Maya or mula prakiti is the cause of this universe. Whereas, the Atman or the prajna exists as the Hiranyagarbha and enjoys the subtle universe; and as Virat, enjoys the Gross universe. He is neither the experiencer nor the experienced. How can one know about the self without experiencing the self? Does a dead person know he/she is dead? It is the near and dear ones who mourn. Similarly, how aware is a new born? The family rejoices; the little one is in a state of bliss, in communion with the inner self!

Thus, a person who is permanently rooted in the Atman is neither bound by the subject nor by the object. He/she is beyond all dualities. He /she is the spiritual joy of pure consciousness; Shiva- Shivoham Shivoham.  He /she indeed becomes, that eternal knowing and bliss, love and pure consciousness.

The song of Self- Verse Three

Atma Shatagam—Adi Shankaracharya  788-820 BC

Na me dvesha  ragau na me lobha mohau

Mado naiva me naiva matsarya bhavah

Na dharmo na chartho  na kamo na mokshah

Chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham (3)

न् में द्वेष रागौ न में लोभ मोहौ

मदों नैव में नैव मात्सर्य भाव:

न् धर्मो न् चार्थो न् कामो न मोक्ष:

चिदानंद रूप: शिवोहम शिवोहम ||३||


I have no likes or dislikes; nor I have greed or delusion; I have no pride or arrogance, vanity; Nor am I jealous of anyone or in competition with anyone; I do not need the four main necessities of life namely: Dharma- the Law of Life, Artha- Wealth, Kama – Desires and Moksha – Liberation; I am the fortunate joyful, Supreme being who is the very emblem of truth, knowledge and eternal bliss. I myself am the spiritual joy of pure consciousness- Shiva; Shivoham, Shivoham.

Further Elaboration:

The Seer, in the second verse, was talking about the gross body, the external sheath. In this verse he tries to go a little deeper and addresses the emotions, the way the mind works and how humans get entangled by the webby mind.  A realised soul, atman is not only devoid of the gross body and its sheaths, the atman is also devoid of illusions and emotional webs. Lust, hatred, delusion, pride, jealousy and greed are the shad ripus; our internal enemies which lead us astray from knowing oneself.  They are also called arishadvargas; these feelings or emotions emanate from the mind, and affect the mind too.  A person who is under the influence of these is still in an illusionary state, follows the dictate of the mind and commits deeds, good and bad. Depending on the actions the result or karma is endured by the seeker. So joys and sorrows, or success and failure, or pain and pleasure follow each other. The true aspirant is yet to know that the gross body, in tandem with these internal enemies, is going through the life cycle. Whereas the atman, being a part of that One supreme being; thus is devoid of this duality. The atman is not affected by these internal enemies, or the external sheaths discussed earlier. The atman is beyond all these.  The supreme one has no obligation to be righteous, procuring wealth and or maintaining physical well-being, aspiring for Liberation; none of these bind the atman. A person under the influence of these internal enemies commits sins and as a result suffers pain; with an ever increasing bondage and clinging towards this samsara/world. But a jeeva mukta who has achieved Realization is free of these internal passions. A jnani always maintains the same sightedness or sama-dristhi towards everyone, everything and every event. The atman is free of this life and death cycle. Atman is one with the Supreme Being.

Exercising Dama- sense control and Sama- mind control we need to again and again bring the mind back to the Self or Atman.  When the world fails to tempt us in anyway, the mind begins to earnestly think of the Atman.  Once these temptations are lost on the mind, we move closer to the heart. The mind acknowledges and gets the power of discrimination. The world is but [ 5 ] Page 20The Rise of Pentaho Analytics along with Big data recovery Pentaho, headquartered in Orlando, has a team of BI veterans with an excellent track record. Maya, a projection of the Supreme one in the shape, form, colour, and size that is convenient to us humans.

A small analogy to illustrate the above verse: Our room is ours because of the identity and special attachments we add to it, décor of choice, our special corner, our own cosy specially chosen towels with colour and print of our choice, we inadvertently go about giving those four walls a special unique identity and think that is the whole world! Just imagine breaking those four walls; is it possible that a part of the other room could now be a part of your identity too?  Now, the adjacent room and your room have lost their differences or in other terms become one big room, right? And again, going a little further, if we are able to do away with the walls of the house altogether; then it is possible that we can feel one with the neighbour too? And this can go on, to breaking away the boundaries, physically and psychological.  What is it that is separating us? Are they not these walls we build, physically in the material world and mentally or emotionally for the inner world? We came from The One Supreme Being, God is one and we all are definitely carrying Him within us. We have, over the years developed layers and layers and further more layers; built a stronghold of emotions and samskaras, differentiated ourselves from Him, separated the self from the Self, who has ever been within us, a mute spectator, waiting patiently.  The wait is simply to be able to peel away these coatings, look deeper, and remove the coloured glasses and become one with the Self. The Self is all pervasive only when we are one with the Self, else it instantaneously becomes the self, with its differentiation and layers.

If one adds water to water, it remains the same, when one adds colour to water, does not imply that the water has lost its identity, it is the person who added the colour who sees it thus. How is water getting affected in all this? Similarly, the all-pervasive is the same; we have added layers and hidden Him inside, in the deepest recess of the heart. That is exactly what the great seer, Shri Ramchandra ji said, “God has hidden Himself inside you and exposed you, you hide yourself, and expose Him”. And then you will know, realise that you are, and were always one with Him.  And we sing with others; I myself am the spiritual joy of pure consciousness- Shiva; Shivoham, Shivoham.




Atma Shatagam—Adi Shankaracharya  788-820 BC


“Mano bhudhya -hankara chittani naham

Na cha shrotra jihve ,na cha ghranna netre

Na cha vyoma bhumir na tejo na vayuhu

Chidananda roopah shivoham shivoham”

मनो बुध्य हंकार चित्तानि  नाहम,

न् चा श्रोत्र जिह्वे न् च घ्राण नेत्रे

न् चा व्योम भुमिर न् तेजो न वायु:

चिदानंद रूपह: शिवोहम शिवोहम


I am not mind nor intellect,thought  nor ego, or some form of the supreme being; I  neither have ears , nor tongue and I neither have nose (nostrils) nor eyes; I am not the sky , earth , light or the wind;  Nor the reflection of inner self.

I am beyond that, I am not ether, nor the earth nor the fire nor the wind; I am fortunate, joyful, and Supreme Being who is the very emblem of truth, knowledge and eternal bliss.

I am indeed, that eternal knowing and bliss, I am the spiritual joy of pure consciousness – Shiva; I am love and pure consciousness.

Further elaboration:

When the world came into being, something must have existed before from which or through which the world happened, right?  It is the million dollar question we all ask; “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” If God did create this universe, then where was God before this universe got created and why the need to create this world at all? The popular belief is; only space existed and a stir was created, ‘Kshobh’; this stir brought the world into existence and with it space and time was occupied by creation, His creation.

The logical conclusion that we can draw here is that since we all are beings that came from the Kshobh, then we are a part of the initial stir, maybe a miniscule part, nevertheless a part of the Creator of the kshobh; the creator too by extension.  Thus, moving a little further with the same analogy, we being a part of the creator, we have it in us, each and every one of us, that potential to be Him, the Creator. So, if we are the creator ourselves or have the potential to become Him then we, our real core self, definitely is nameless and formless like the Creator.

This is exactly what Shankaracharya sung when he was merely eight years old!  He says that we are not the mind, intellect nor ego. The Self within us is He, the creator and the self, is so engrossed in the gloss on the outside that we miss mobile casino the Self and describe the self only. Thus, the Self, or the creator has become a mere spectator, probably like the ignition key in the car, when you start the car, once is all you need to click and turn. Then the driver and the machine take over. Similarly, God created the world and we human beings took over. He stepped aside. But the God within us is beneath all our human layers of differentiation and ego; as a mute observer.

Manduka Upnishad (III.I.I) has a small story about two birds sitting on a branch

“Two birds that are ever associated and have similar names,

Cling to the same tree.

Of these one eats the fruit of divergent tastes,

And the other looks on without eating.”

Meaning: The two birds are self and Self, the outer self and the inner Self. It is a beautiful allegory; where the Supreme Self is sitting on a tree, a witness, watching, not participating, and doing nothing in fact.  The small self or the outer self is eating fruit of divergent tastes and reacting, behaving according to the taste of the fruit just savoured; while the Self looks on.

The next verse in the same chapter, same Upanishad further says:

“On the same tree, the individual soul remains drowned (i.e. stuck), as it were;

And so it moans, being worried by its impotence.

When it sees the other, the adored Lord, and His glory,

Then it becomes liberated from sorrow.” (Manduka, III.I.2)            


Meaning: The tree is supposed to be the body or the human self and on the same tree the individual soul is supposed to be drowned, stuck, indulging in its divergent tastes mentioned in the prior verse.  Thus, very aptly put, it simply implies and explains what the Shankaracharya has sung in this verse.

I am that, your inner Self; and your self is so busy with the small things of life, it (the outer self) adamantly refuses to take time and look within, seek the answer to the profound question; “Who am I?”

When we do take time, and the occasion comes, to look at the higher Self within us that we adore His glory and come to believe that we can be liberated. And in due course with practice and sadhana we move towards our goal of Self- realisation.

Thus, the human being enshrines both the selves. The higher Self is the supreme Divinity, God, Lord and Creator, whatever we choose to call Him. The lower self is us, the mortal human being going on with the daily life, trying to give meaning and understanding to our true goal of life. And, one day it becomes imperative that we awaken to the inner Self, and realise the Supreme Being within us.

Thus, to conclude the first verse, once we are conscious and awakened to the inner Self, how can we be anything but that Supreme Being enmeshed and hidden Within? We are that Supreme Consciousness, pure love and Bliss and all else; the fire, water, ether; our senses, eyes, ears all fade into oblivion and lose significance. We suddenly realise we are not that, none of the above. We are indeed, that eternal knowing and bliss, We are the spiritual joy of pure consciousness – Shiva; I am love and pure consciousness.


Who Am I? – Introduction

Who Am I? – Introduction

This probably is the most ubiquitous question which has bothered everyone.  All of us at some point, stage, age wonder about the self; our real purpose or goal of life. Why we are here and what we have been sent to accomplish or achieve? During our most depressing moments we strive for answers and lean towards introspection searching for meaning; trying to fathom the reason why events are happening the way they are and what is the logic behind all this.

Every human being is unique and every event in the person’s life occurs for a reason or purpose. It is for the individual to figure out the reason and unravel the mystery of who he/she is and his/her real goal of life.

As kids we are so self – absorbed and self – centric that nothing outside of the self we bother to acknowledge, probably the core reason why children are usually happy and so self – assured. All they seek is immediate fulfilment of needs and they are smiling, innocent and in blissful state.  As we grow we begin to get enmeshed with relationships, identity roles, emotional game plays and the more we spread our web the further tightened gets the grip of the web.  Without any realisation, we find ourselves caught in the vicious grip of life, pathways in every direction, leading everywhere, purpose less; mindless and unending. This begins gradually with teenage and hits us as midlife crisis when we find ourselves stuck, unable to move ahead, doing everything right, yet continuously hitting dead ends and experiencing failures or setbacks.

Every lamp has the same potential to burn and emanate light, but it needs some external being, source to illuminate it once. Every seed has the potential to become a fruit bearing tree but again, it needs ideal soil, fertiliser and the tender hand of a loving, wise gardener who will nurture the seed and see it grow to its full potential.  Every stream, rivulet flows ceaselessly moving ahead washing different shores and merging with different rivers; in an attempt to merge with the ocean and become one with it. Every egg hatches into a beautiful chick with proper care.  The beautiful butterfly goes through a long drawn incubation period, in the very unbecoming and ugly larva, caterpillar stage. We all have the potential to become one with the divine or returning to our original state provided we know who we are, why we are here, and how we need to live our life so as to realise our true goal of life.

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.

 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 realised 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. He sings the beautiful ATMA SHATAKAM, the song of self,  Or NIRVANA SHATAKAM , illustrating and trying to answer the  fundamental question- “who am I?”

Adi Shankaracharya, wandering in Himalayas, seeking his guru, was asked by a seer, “who are you?” The sage the boy was talking to was none other than Swami Govindacharya himself, the teacher Shankarcharaya was searching for.  How the student introduced himself to his Guru is beautifully portrayed in these enlightening verses.

Deep contemplation and repetition of these verses with bhava Or the right attitude , is said to lead to the absolute and bring self- realisation to the seeker.  That is why the name Nirvana Shatakam; Nirvana is the complete equanimity , peace, tranquillity, freedom and joy. Shatakam are the count of 6 verses , the length of this poem. Similarly, atma shatakam; atma is the true self. These are the 6 verses which help one realise their true self, and lead to self-realisation or nirvana.

These verses date back to 788 – 820 CE and speak of non- dualism in the Hindu philosophy and teachings. They form the basic core of Advaita philosophy and find a space in Mandukya upnishad also.


In the forthcoming articles, in this series, the writer makes a humble attempt to rewrite a verse at a time; making an attempt to explain and also understand the essence of this most enlightening verses by this unparalleled great seer.  Hopefully, the reader and the writer can take a small step forward on the path of freedom and self-realisation.