When Ādi Śhaṅkaracharya was eight years old and wandering on the banks of the River Narmada, he saw Govindapada who asked him, “Who are you?” The boy responded with these stanzas, which are known as “Ātma Ṣhaṭakam”. It describes Adi Shankaracharya’s philosophy of Advaita Vedanta in short. Read it with an open mind, it may change the way you look at the world as it did with me when I first read it a few years back.
मनोबुद्धयहंकार चित्तानि नाहं न च श्रोत्रजिव्हे न च घ्राणनेत्रे । न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 1 ।।
“I am not the mind, nor intellect, nor ego, nor the reflections of inner self (citta). 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 That eternal knowing and bliss, I am Shiva- love and pure consciousness.
न च प्राणसंज्ञो न वै पंचवायुः, न वा सप्तधातुः न वा पञ्चकोशः । न वाक्पाणिपादौ न चोपस्थपायु, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 2 ।।
2) Neither can I be termed as energy (prāṇa), nor five types of breath (vāyus), nor the seven material essences, nor the five sheaths(pañca-kośa). Neither am I the organ of Speech, nor the organs for Holding ( Hand ), Movement ( Feet ) or Excretion. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, the auspicious Shiva- love and pure consciousness.
न मे द्वेषरागौ न मे लोभमोहौ, मदो नैव मे नैव मात्सर्यभावः । न धर्मो न चार्थो न कामो न मोक्षः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 3 ।।
3) 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 (kāma), nor even liberation (mokṣa). I am That eternal knowing and bliss, I am Shiva- love and pure consciousness.
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 ।। 4 ।।
4) 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 (yajñas). 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. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, I am Shiva- love and pure consciousness.
न मे मृत्युशंका न मे जातिभेदः, पिता नैव मे नैव माता न जन्मः । न बन्धुर्न मित्रं गुरूर्नैव शिष्यः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 5 ।।
5) 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. I am That eternal knowing and bliss, I am Shiva- love and pure consciousness.
अहं निर्विकल्पो निराकार रूपो, विभुत्वाच सर्वत्र सर्वेन्द्रियाणाम् । न चासङत नैव मुक्तिर्न मेयः, चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ।। 6 ।।
6) 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 becaI am everything, everywhere, every time, always in equilibrium. I am That eternal knowing and bliss, I am Shiva- love and pure consciousness.