Who am I


The Atma shatkam ( आत्मषट्कम्,: ātmaṣaṭkam)is also known as Nirvana Shatkam ( निर्वाणषट्कम्,: Nirvāṇaṣaṭkam),and by other variations of these names. It is a śloka in six stanzas written by the great Ādi Śaṅkara (first Shankaracharya) summarizing the basic teachings of Advaita Vedanta, or the Hindu teachings of non-dualism. It was written around 788-820 CE. Adi Sankara is probably the last person on this planet to have 12 strand DNA . He mastered the Vedas by the age of 6. This shows he is a re-incarnation, as Vedas take a whole lifetime to master.

When a young boy of eight (Adi Sankara), while wandering in the Himalayas, seeking to find his Guru, he encountered a sage who asked him, “Who are you?”. The boy answered with these stanzas, which are known as “Nirvana Shatakam” or Atma Shatakam”.

The sage the boy was talking to was Swami Govindpada Acharya, who was, indeed, the teacher he was looking for. These few verses can be of tremendous value to progress in contemplation practices that lead to Self-Realization.

“Nirvana” is complete equanimity, peace, tranquility, freedom and joy. “Atma” is the True Self.

The speaker of the poem is nominally Śiva, but it is generally seen as a statement by a knowing person of identity with Śiva or Brahmān. The speaker lists in the earlier verses what he (or Brahmān) is not. He is not body or mind, nor the things that attach them to each other and to the world, including the intellect, the senses, the practices of life, the occurrences of life such as birth and death. In the last verse he says that he permeates the universe, and that he is consciousness, bliss and the soul, and by implication, the Atman and Brahmān.


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