January 22, 2011

Six Verses of Liberation

Once in ancient India, a young student named Shankara wandered from city to city looking for a teacher of wisdom who could help him on his path to enlightenment. Along the way, a great Swami named Govindapada Acharya recognized the brilliance of this young boy of 8 years.

But first, the Swami decided to test Shankara by asking him a deceptively simple question: "Who are you?" In response, the boy replied in six verses of improvised poetry. Today these verses are known as the Nirvana Shatakam - or The Six Verses of Liberation.


Who are you?

1.
I am not mind, nor intellect,
nor ego, nor storehouse of past memories.
I am not the senses (hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling,)
I am something beyond that.
I am not made of the elements (space, earth, fire, wind.)
I am indeed,
That bliss born of true knowledge, Shiva:
love and pure formless awareness.

2.
Neither can I be called energy, nor life-breath,
nor the bodily matter (fluid, blood, muscle, fat, bones, marrow, tissue)
nor the layers of being (from physical to mental to spiritual).
Neither am I physically involved in elimination,
procreation, motion, grasping, or speaking.
I am indeed,
That bliss born of true knowledge, Shiva:
love and pure formless awareness.

3.
I have no hatred or dislike,
no affiliation or liking,
no greed, nor delusion,
no pride or haughtiness,
no feelings of envy or jealousy.
I have neither duty, nor wealth,
nor desire, nor even need for liberation.
I am indeed,
That bliss born of true knowledge, Shiva:
love and pure formless awareness.

4.
I have neither merit, nor demerit.
I do not have happiness or sorrow,
pain or pleasure.
I do not need mantras, pilgrimages,
scriptures, rituals or sacrifices.
I am neither the one who observes,
the process of observing, or object being observed.
I am indeed,
That bliss born of true knowledge, Shiva:
love and pure formless awareness.

5.
I do not have fear of death,
as I do not have death.
I have no separation from my true Soul,
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.
I am indeed,
That bliss born of true knowledge, Shiva:
love and pure formless awareness.

6.
I am all pervading.
I am without any attributes, and without any form.
I have neither attachment to the world, nor to liberation.
I have no wishes for anything because I am everything,
everywhere, every time, always in equilibrium.
I am indeed,
That bliss born of true knowledge, Shiva:
love and pure formless awareness.