Eighteen Principles ,One Verse Nirvana Shatakam Adi Sankara

Adi Shankaracharya with Disciples.image

Adi Sankaracarya wrote the Nirvana Shatakam.

This is also called as Atma Shatakam.

He explains the Non Duality of Reality in these  Six Verses.

The essence of the Vedas are found in three Mahavaakyas(Great Revelations)

They are,

‘Aham Brahmasmi’ (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 of the Yajur Veda)

tat tvam asi – “Thou art That” (Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7 of the Sama Veda)
prajñānam brahma – “Prajñānam is Brahman”  or “Brahman is Prajñānam” (Aitareya Upanishad 3.3 of the Rig Veda)

The Core meaning is That There is One Reality and We Are a part of it,nay we are It.

( note , one sloka each from each Veda: Atharva also has one)

I shall be posting blogs on each of them.

The interpretations of the three Acharyas differ, resulting in the three main systems of Indian Thought.

They are.

Advaita of Adi Sankara, Non Dualism, Monism,

Visishtadvaitam- of Ramanuja, Qualified Monism and

Dwaidha of Madwacharya, Dualism.

Shankaracharya, in these verse, not only gives us the essence of the Vedas, but also explains the Evolution of the Universe through the Eighteen Principles.

The World , to be known, has two elements or two things.

The Observer and The Observed.

We are the Observers and all other things are the ‘Observed’

On our side, The Observer, we have the following .

The five sense organs,Eyes,Ears, Nose, Mouth and Skin (body, tactile)-5

Five acts of perception, seeing,tasting etc.(Eyes register Image, they do not experience; to explain  one may have eyes but can not see;the act of seeing is different from ‘seeing’) -5

Mind(the activity of the Brain),-1

Buddhi, distinguishing faculty, differentiating between The Right and The Wrong)-1

Ahanagara, the feeling of ‘I’, Mine”-1

The Five elements,Earth,Water,Fire,Air and Ether-5

Total 18

The Sloka.

Nirvana Shatkam 1
Nirvana Shatkam 1

Mano-Buddhy-Ahangkaara Cittaani Naaham
Na Ca Shrotra-Jihve Na Ca Ghraanna-Netre |
Na Ca Vyoma Bhuumir-Na Tejo Na Vaayuh
Cid-Aananda-Ruupah Shivo[a-A]ham Shivo[a-A]ham ||1||

1.1: Neither am I the Mind nor Intelligence or Ego,
1.2: Neither am I the organs of Hearing (Ears), nor that of Tasting (Tongue), Smelling (Nose) or Seeing (Eyes),
1.3: Neither am I the Sky, nor the Earth, Neither the Fire nor the Air,
1.4: I am the Ever Pure Blissful Consciousness; I am Shiva, I am Shiva,

This constitutes the elements for(of) the Observer.

What about the ‘Observed?’

Explanation in the next post along with Samkhya explanation for these principles, for Samkya is a heterodox system which does not believe in the Vedas

7 responses to “Eighteen Principles ,One Verse Nirvana Shatakam Adi Sankara”

  1. Thanks for sharing this ancient wisdom, which is applicable even today. It is great to be able to access such knowledge through you. It is now our duty to take it forward by learning from past and adopting it in present and future according to conditions. Many Thanks


  2. Aren’t there Four Mahavaakyaas :-
    (1) Prajnanam Brahma – Consciousness is Brahman;
    (2) Aham Brahmasmi – I am Brahman:
    (3) Tat Tvam Asi – That Thou Art;
    (4) Ayam Atma Brahma – This Self is Brahman.

    Or the one from the Atharvana Veda is not counted as a Mahaavaakya?


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