WHO ARE YOU? A VEDANTA APPROACH TO THE SELF

One day a boy of about 8 years old was wandering through the Himalayas when he met an old sage. ‘Who are you?’ he asked the boy.

The little boy was Sri Shankaracharya, who according to the tradition mastered the Vedas by the age of 6, and he gave the following answer, considered a condensed version of Advaita (non-dual) Vedanta teachings.

 

Lord-Shiva-night-theprimerose-photography-Rosa-TagliafierroI am not the mind, the intellect, the ego or the memory,
I am not the ears, the skin, the tongue, the nose or the eyes,
I am not space, not earth, not fire, water or air, 
I am the form of pure consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal Shiva…

Mano buddhi ahankara chittani naaham
na cha shrotravjihve na cha ghraana netre
na cha vyoma bhumir na tejo na vaayuhu
chidananda rupah shivo’ham shivo’ham

I am not the breath, nor the five pranas,
I am not matter, nor the 5 sheaths of consciousness
Nor am I the speech, the hands, or the feet,
I am the form of pure consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal Shiva…

na cha prana sangyo na vai pancha vayuhu
na va sapta dhatur na va pancha koshah
na vak pani-padam na chopastha payu
chidananda rupah shivo’ham shivo’ham

There is no hatred or attachment in me, no greed or delusion,
I know not pride or jealousy,
I am not within the bounds of dharma, artha (wealth), kama (desire) or moksha (liberation)
I am the form of pure consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal Shiva…

 Shiva-at-night-Parmarth-Niketan-Ashram-Rishikesh-India-theprimerose-photography-Rosa-Tagliafierrona me dvesha ragau na me lobha mohau
na me vai mado naiva matsarya bhavaha
na dharmo na chartho na kamo na mokshaha
chidananda rupah shivo’ham shivo’ham

I am not bound by virtues or vice, pleasure or pain,
I need no mantras, no pilgrimage, no scriptures or rituals,
I am neither enjoyment (experiene), nor an object to be enjoyed (experienced), nor the enjoyer (experiencer)
I am the form of pure consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal Shiva…

na punyam na papam na saukhyam na duhkham
na mantro na tirtham na veda na yajnah
aham bhojanam naiva bhojyam na bhokta
chidananda rupah shivo’ham shivo’ham

I have no fear of death, no caste or creed,
I have no father, no mother, for I was never born,
I am not a relative, nor a friend, nor a teacher nor a student,
I am the form of pure consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal Shiva…

na me mrtyu shanka na mejati bhedaha
pita naiva me naiva mataa na janmaha
na bandhur na mitram gurur naiva shishyaha
chidananda rupah shivo’ham shivo’ham

I am devoid of duality, my form is formlessness,
I exist everywhere, pervading all senses,
I am neither attached, neither free nor captive,
I am the form of pure consciousness and bliss,
I am the eternal Shiva…

aham nirvikalpo nirakara rupo
vibhut vatcha sarvatra sarvendriyanam
na cha sangatham naiva muktir na meyaha
chidananda rupah shivo’ham shivo’ham

(NIRVANA SHATAKAM composed by Sri Adi Shankaracharya (788-820 CE)

English translation from Istha website modified at times based on AYTTC course material)

 

During last couple of weeks, an introduction to Vedanta was given as a study subject in the Ashtanga Yoga TTC I’m doing at Tattvaa Yogashala, and really loved chanting this as taught by masterji Sunil Sharma.

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