Thursday, November 25, 2010


(Sanskrit Verses - by)
Sri Adi Sankaracharya
Text & Commentary – Post 3 (Vs.4,5,6)


In Post.1, we started the Nidhidhyasanam process by negating the causal body and the five great elements.

In Post.2, we negated the Praana life energy, the Pancha vayus, the Saptha Dhatus, the Pancha kosas, and the karmendriyas. We also asserted that we are the Chidhananda roopa, the Siva, the all pervading consciousness cum eternal bliss.

We are striving to use these answers of Adi Sankara to his future Guru, for our own Nidhidhyasanam (meditation).We now proceed further in our negation cum assertion process from Vs.4.

Na punyam na paapam na saukhyam na duhkham,
Na manthro na theertham na vedaa na yajnah,
Aham bhojanam naiva bhojyam na bhoktha,
Chidananda Roopa Sivoham, Sivoham.


For me, there is  –
neither  Punyam (Result of good deeds) nor Paapam (sin).
neither  Saukhyam (pleasures /comforts) nor  Duhkham (sorrow).
neither Manthram  nor Theertham.
neither Veda  nor Yajna.
I am neither the Bhoktha (the eater), nor the eatable (Bhojyam), nor the process of eating (Bhojanam).
I am the all pervading, universal consciousness and eternal bliss. I am the Siva, I am the Siva.”


Punyam is the result of good deeds. Paapam is the result of Bad deeds. Punyam and Paapam, as explained in another post, are the Adrista Phalam, the unseen, postponed result of our deeds  – whose fruits are given to us later than the deed at some time unknown to us.

The direct results of our deeds are known to us immediately. For instance, if we commit a theft, the drista phalam is the stolen money that we get. We may be happy with it.

But, the Adrista phalam as punishment for the theft will  visit us later, in some form and time, when we least expect it. Why this postponement? Why not this also be given simultaneously with the deed? Well. You also have a store of good deeds and bad deeds from the past – waiting in queue for giving you their respective fruits. You can’t escape any of them but you get them in the queue. When the Adrista phalam of a certain past deed may mature is decided not by you – but by the controller of the law of Karma!! He is the Karma phala dhatha. If he so wills – your today’s theft may give you both drista phalam and adrista phalam today itself – by being found out, beaten up and hauled into jail. Else, you may enjoy the stolen booty and wait for adrista phalam to come some time later. When it comes to you – you cannot link it up with your past deeds. This disjunction between the timing of bad deeds (and good deeds) and their adrista phalam deludes most individuals into perpetrating more and more heinous acts, thinking that they are getting away with all of their heinous acts!! No. they are going to pay for all of their acts – at the most unlikely time and in the most unlikely ways.

On the other hand, good people may seem to be suffering for their good deeds. No. Good people especially are quickly finishing up their past Prarabdha karma – taking their difficulties, their adrista phalam of past deeds in their stride. The Karma phala dhatha is especially kind to them in this respect – if we understand it right.

Good deeds accumulate our store of Punyam and bad deeds accumulate our store of Paapam. Their effect comes to us in the future - in the same birth or in a future birth.

Punyam and Paapam both lead us to Punar Janmas -  repeated future births – either directly after death or after spending some time in the heavens or the hell. Punyam and Paapam can not lead  to Moksha, the ultimate liberation. What comes along with you after your death is not your accumulated wealth, name, fame, relations etc –It is your unspent store of Punyam and Paapam. So – we can decide what we want to take!!

Punyam and Paapam have absolutely no effect on an Atma Jnani, like Sankara, who has been liberated already from Avidya. Many such Atma Jnanis (like Sankara) – we find them departing from their bodies very early in life. It is because-  they only need to finish up their already-matured Prarabdha karma phalam. Their past store of Sanchitha Karma is burnt out by their Atma Jnanam and there is no more Aagami karma for them. But, the already matured Prarabdha karma phalam has to be finished. Once this is done – they have no more need for bodily life. This is why Sankara says –

‘I’ have neither Punyam nor Paaapam.

Likewise, the Atma Jnani remains untouched by pleasures and sorrows. He is the highest Aananda or joy himself. He has no need for any other pleasures (or sorrows). These have no effect on him. No dualities can touch the Atma Jnani. So, Sankara affirms –

‘I’ have neither pleasures nor sorrows.

Manthram (chanting / Prayer)  is needed to please the celestial powers or to attain earthly goals or some heavenly pleasures. So is theertham (Sacred waters all over the world), which can bestow our desires or cleanse our sins. Atma Jnani has no such needs at all. So, Sankara says –

‘I’ need neither Manthram nor Theertham.

Atma Jnani is changeless and all pervading. All change that happens in the eater, the eatable and the seeming process of eating is Maya or Avidya. All these relate at micro level to Annamaya kosa and at macro level to the great element of earth. Earth becomes annamaya kosa (Gross body)this moment and becomes earth again the next moment, in an incessant, unending process – even if we cannot see it clearly and realize it with our gross eyes and gross thinking. It is the earth every where and all the time in the process. Not YOU at all!!

In reality – there is neither an eater, nor an eating process nor an eatable. All are one and the same Mithya. This is the ultimate reality in which the Atma Jnani is. Readers may kindly read the three stories on Maya in an earlier post to further attain clarity on Maya.

Atma, the self, is action-less, transaction-less and change-less. It is the witness of all. It is all pervading but not itself the Pancha bhoothas or their variants at micro level. What undergoes changes is Mithya or Maya. The jeeva, who is not Atma Jnani, is perennially facing maya and its effects.
As Atma Jnani, Sankara affirms –

I am the all pervading, universal consciousness and eternal bliss. I am the Siva, I am the Siva.

It is once again reminded to readers – that Siva, Brahman, Atma all refer to the same all pervading entity, the self.

In your Nidhidhyasanam, please try to visualize the scientific process of Pancha mahabhoothas becoming the gross body and the gross body merging back into them in a continuous process. It is the Maya. You are neither the Kartha, nor the Bhoktha.  Remind yourself that all that changes is Maya.  And, you are the all pervading and the unchanging self.

With this realization, come out of the Maya, be a witness and negate all this as not you. You are not the ever changing part of maya. Now see yourself as - all that remains unchanged, as the Chidananda Roopa, the Siva, pervading all that is seemingly changing. You are the unchanging witness behind all that is changing.


Na (mruthyur na shanka)(me mruthyu shanka) na me jathi bhedho,
Pitha naiva me naiva matha na janma,
Na bhandhur na mithram gurur naiva sishyo,
Chidananda Roopa Sivoham, Sivoham.


In Vs.5, we find two versions prevailing, for the first line. One version runs as “Na mruthyur na shanka”. Another version runs as  “Na me mruthyu shanka”. For our purpose, both versions are good enough. Use either of them (but not both!). The difference is not very significant.
As per first version – Sankara says -
“I” have no death nor any “fear(or suspicion)” ( of death, disease, pain etc).
As per second version – “I” have no fear of death.

Shanka can probably be better interpreted as foreboding of death – rather than as fear (for which the word is bhayam) or suspicion.

Sankara says – 

‘I’ have no death, nor any foreboding of death.
‘I’ have no differences of castes
‘I’ have neither a father, nor mother, nor a birth
‘I’ have neither relations nor friends
‘I’ have neither a Guru nor disciples
I am the all pervading, universal consciousness and eternal bliss. I am the Siva, I am the Siva.”


For an all pervading, eternal, ‘birth and deathless’, all knowing consciousness principle, the only one entity existing without a second – what death can be there and what foreboding or fear of death can be there?

For the one who is all pervading and who is without any second entity, where from any caste (or religious, or racial, or national, or any other) distinctions can come? Sankara had affirmed this in Maneesha Panchakam too.

For one who is birth-less and death-less – where from a father or mother or birth can come?

When there is no second entity at all – where from can any friends, relations, Gurus or Disciples come?

Therefore, Sankara asserts and affirms –

I am the all pervading, universal consciousness and eternal bliss. I am the Siva, I am the Siva.”


Aham nirvikalpo nirakara roopo,
Vibhur vyapya sarvathra sarvendriyanaam,
Sadha me samathvam  na mukthir na bandhah (Na chaa sangatham naiva mukthir na meyah)
Chidananda Roopa Sivoham, Sivoham.


Like Verse.5, in Vs.6 too, two versions exist - for the third full line. The second version is given in brackets. Looking at the context and the flow of first 2 lines and the last line, I settle for the first version given without brackets. The other three are absolutely positive in sense and the flow therefore matches with a positive third line given without brackets above.
Not only that. The 6th verse is pure and absolute assertion and affirmation of the SELF. Sankara has already done with the negation parts in the first 5 verses. That which “ I AM NOT” is over. Here – What “I AM” is being declared in a complete, total, doubtless, divsionless, whole hearted assertion of the self. This only completes, consolidates and effectivises the Nidhidhyasanam process.

Let us look at the meaning:

I am the divisionless whole (Nir-vikalpa). I am the formless form (Niraakara roopa).

I am the controller and ruler, pervading everywhere, all the time, on all the sense organs and therefore beyond them.

I am ever the same everywhere in equilibrium -  without the need for either liberation or attachments.

I am the all pervading, universal consciousness and eternal bliss. I am the Siva, I am the Siva.”


Sankara very clearly affirms and asserts that he is divisionless, changeless, all pervading, ever in equilibrium, and is ever the eternal bliss and universal consciousness.

Nirvana Shatkam of Adi Sankara ends here. This is not merely intended for reading and understanding. Kindly translate into action. Digest this in your minds. Sit in a silent (if possible, solitary) place, sit comfortably in any Asana (Posture), close your eyes and contemplate on each of these ideas – as if it is you that you are contemplating on. You are the one who is - divisionless, changeless, all pervading, ever in equilibrium, and is ever the eternal bliss and universal consciousness. Fill your self with equanimity and merge into the totality.

Enjoy the peace and the joy spreading all over, within and without.
I am the Siva, I am the Siva.”

 *  E N D ( & THE BEGINNING)  *


  1. Entire commentary is excellent.
    Very delighted and will meditate on this very regularly.

  2. Thanks for the post and the commentary. Do you have verses in Telugu with translation followed?
    I like your explanation on verse 5 reflecting non-duality of Sankara.

    One more? How can you support existence of soul and karma siddanta when Vedanta says everything is Brahman whether you are aware of it or not. I believe when someone dies the life force (prana) leaves the body. The Manas-buddhi-aham-chitta all that were dependent on prana for expression would merge with Brahman.

  3. Dear Bush,

    Thanks for your very encouraging comments and for your further question.

    Your question is a very frequently expressed doubt - and has been answered by Adi Sankara in ATMA BODHA and many other texts. I have covered ATMA BODHA in this Blog.

    In short, Only the Gross body dies, but the subtle body and causal body travel after death, to go through their Sanchitha / prarabdha karma in the next birth on earth, or some times, in a heaven / hell, after which they again come back to earth. What dies is only the Gross Body.

    This birth-death-birth cycle continues as long as our identification with the Gross-subtle-causal bodies continues, which is due to the veil of Maya/Ignorance.

    Once, Identification with Brahman occurs, the cycle ceases. Some of the realized souls may, at their option, take a rebirth, Like Lord Krishna said in Gita.

    The manas-buddhi-aham-chittam are all part of the subtle body . These are not to be confused with the gross body parts where they reside, which are part of the Gross Body. When Gross body dies, they are freed from the gross body, but carry along with them their PUNYAM-PAPAM store, and nothing else. Gita also confirms this in many places, including the Dhyana Yoga chapter.

    In future, there will be a series on PATANJALI YOGA SUTRAS - which also will help in clarifying many such nagging doubts.

  4. Namaste,

    You said "Once, Identification with Brahman occurs, the cycle ceases". It is not uncommon for spiritual seekers to experience the 'one ness of the self with universal self' during Bhajan, seeing a beautiful sun set. I mean not a sensual experience only, but along with knowledge in a clear consciouness.( I understand the 'Jeevan Mukta' lives in that state all the time.)
    if you take case of Jeevan Mukta/liberated soul, is that they get rid of thier Mind stuff( Mano-budhyahamkara chittaniNaham) while living and carry forward nothing when they die. Mean thier subtle.causal bodies also die along with physical. I read the book 'what happens to soul after death' by Swami Sivananda. he does explain what you said.
    I can feel and experience prana/gross body. but not other bodies.
    thanks again for this informative blog. Will look forward for future posts.


  5. Dear bush,

    Thanks for you comments.What we experience in a Bhajan, Sathsang, seeing a beautiful sunset, or selfless love - is a nearness to divinity - not always a total identification with it. It gives Great Joy. For some, total identification is also possible.

    These are all part of Bhakthi Yoga, in which you experience Brahman through his creation.
    We see god in the sky, on the earth, below the earth and below the sea - in so many shapes and forms everywhere. By all means, enjoy every thing beautiful. The beauty in every thing is Brahman.

    Jeevan Muktha remains totally identified with Brahman all the time. You are right.Yet, he can play with Maya, the whole creation, through all his sense instruments and mind - which are now not his masters, but his faithful servants.

    Kindly go through the current series of posts on Patanjali Yoga sutras - wherein there are many further details for such questions.

  6. Thanks again for your response. I like the way put it' senses and mind are servants of liberated souls but not masters'.

    Is the bliss we experience in above examples is part of the ' sat-chit-ananda'. Does this word translate in to ananda that result due to realization that nature of self is a ever existing consciousness?

  7. Ananda in Sat-chit-ananda is the self itself.

    Self need not experience joy separately - but self is joy itself.

    The self is also "sat", i.e., it is all pervading, and is everywhere in the Universe.

    If your identification extends to the whole universe, you can experience that joy everywhere.

    In reality - where are you experiencing the Joy?

    Within you. Always. That Joy is a reflection of the SELF within you.

  8. Hi Sir,

    It is a pleasure reading your blog..and this has got to be wonderful explanation of atma shatkam on the internet definitely. Great Job..However i would like to add one suggestion..can you paste the technical sanskrit terms that you are using in sanskrit beside the english word as it would be easy and pronunciation will be clear ..

    1. Thanks Me.Kalyan Srinivas for your comments.I will certainly implement your suggestion to the extent possible.

      Please keep reading the other articles too.