The Six Verses to Liberation

Introduction

Posting a response to a question on the Nature of Consciousness, my fingers automatically started typing what is to follow next. I have often written things in a semi-involuntary manner, with the thoughts flowing and words forming without having to think (too much). How it happens or why it happens, I do not know. And while I was typing this response, a realization dawned.

The Nature of Consciousness

Consciousness is the base of all existence.
Without Consciousness, nothing would exist.
Everything that is, is Consciousness.
Everything that isn’t is also Consciousness.
There no place that is not Consciousness.
There is no time that is not Consciousness.
There is no space that is not Consciousness.

The Six verses to Liberation

 A great Indian philosopher — Adi Shankaracharya wrote a poem about two thousand years ago. It is called “Atma Shatakam” (also known as Nirvana Shatakam) — the Six verses on the Self. 

In this, Shiva is Sat Chid Ananda (or Existence Consciousness Bliss) and is a narration of what he is.

 

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Sanskrit

 Mano Buddhyahamkara Chittani naham|
 Nacha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghrana Netre||
 Nacha Vyoma Bhoomir Na Tejo Na Vayu|
 Chidananda Rupaha Shivoham Shivoham||

 Na Cha Prana Samjno Na Vai Pancha Vayu|
 Na Va Saptadhatur Na Va Pancha Koshah||
 Na Vak Pani Padau Na Chopastha Payu|
 Chidananda Rupaha Shivoham Shivoham||

 Na Me Dvesha Ragau Na Me Lobha Mohau|
 Mado Naiva Me Naiva Matsarya Bhavah||
 Na Dharmo Na Chartho Na Kamo Na Mokshah|
 Chidananda Rupaha Shivoham Shivoham||

Na Punyam Na Papam Na Saukhyam Na Dukkham|
 Na Mantro Na Teertham Na Vedo Na Yajnaha||
 Aham Bhojanam Naiva Bhojyam Na Bhokta|
 Chidananda Rupaha Shivoham Shivoham||

 Na Me Mrityu Shanka Na Me Jati Bhedah|
 Pita Naiva Me Naiva Mata Na Janma||
 Na Bandhur Na Mitram Gurur Naiva Shishyah|
 Chidananda Rupaha Shivoham Shivoham||

 Aham Nirvikalpo Nirakara Roopaha|
 Vibhur Vyapya Sarvatra Sarvendriyanam||
 Sada Me Samatvam Na Muktir Na Bandhah|
 Chidananda Rupaha Shivoham Shivoham||

English

I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego, nor the reflections of inner self (chitta). 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 indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.

Neither can I be termed as energy (prana), nor five types of breath (vayus), nor the seven material essences, nor the five coverings (pancha-kosha). Neither am I the five instruments of elimination, procreation, motion, grasping, or speaking. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.

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 (kama), nor even liberation (moksha). I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.

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 (yagnas). 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, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.

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 indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.

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 because I am everything, everywhere, every time, always in equilibrium. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.

Everytime I read this, recite this or hear it being recited, a very unusual reaction occurs in my body. A deep sorrow/anguish is wrenched out from the depths of my heart (literally the chest region) and I feel like I’m going to burst into tears. I don’t know why or how this has such an effect on me. Most of times, I cannot look beyond the emotional aspect of this poem. Sometimes when I do, I get some insights…

What is Consciousness?
Different people call it different things — God, Tao, Brahman.
The Material universe exists as a differentiation of this primordial Consciousness.

When you are conscious, you don’t need words to express/explain. Once you have words to explain something, you lose the Consciousness and get lost in the trappings of grammar. Lao Tzu (in the Classic of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm — Tao Te Ching) refers to this as “The Real Tao cannot be spoken. If it can be spoken it is not the Real Tao”.

Read the last three verses in which Shiva is describing himself (or is it Shankara?) —

I am not of the triad of observer or one who is experiencing, not the observed or that which is being experienced. I am beyond all that. I have no beginning nor end. I have no attributes.

Is that what Real Consciousness is? If that is real, then what do we have? Artificial Consciousness?

Perhaps what we have is not consciousness at all? Perhaps it is just responses to stimulii, conditioned by Society and Nature to react in a specific manner to a specific sequence of observations. Pure Consciousness transcends all of this, this entire game of observing and experiencing. Pure Consciousness simply IS.

So how do/when do we get know that this Pure Consciousness exists? I don’t know the answer to that. In those rare unguarded (by Intellect) moments when Pure Consciousness acts on us, coming to us in form of Intuitions, insights and realizations, maybe we realize that there is something that is both within us and yet without us. To get to this “thing”, we have first lose ourselves within ourselves.

Hmm…interesting thoughts there. My Tai Chi Master tells us about the Tai Chi Classics (a compilation of Aphorisms much akin to the Yoga Sutras) and of this cardinal rule of Tai Chi meditation —

Every part must be connected to every other part.

This is (now I understand) in reference to being aware of the entirety of  the self (not just the body parts physically), but the little quantum (Te) of the whole (Tao) that exists within each of us (it resides in the Lower Dan tien or Swadhisthana Chakra). Without first transcending the barriers of our social conditioning and intellect, that breaks us up into finite chunks of lesser reality — the Physical (my hand, my foot, my finger, my hair, my blood, my heart and so on) and the Mental (my brain, my intellect, my mind), we cannot experience the full flow of the higher reality. And this re-integration of the differentiated Consciousness continues, on and on, until we can regain the totality of ourselves (beyond our selves), as the One Ultimate Consciousness.


References

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atma_Shatakam

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