Nirvana Shatkam by Adi Shankaracharya

Adi ShankaracharyaNirvana Shatkam (निर्वाणषट्कम्) also known as Atma Shatkam (आत्मषट्कम्) was composed by Adi Shankaracharya based on his own direct and intimate experience of absolute bliss of realisation of the ultimate knowledge of the self and the universal spirit.

“Shatkam” denotes that it contains six verses. The term “Nirvana” signifies total tranquility and joy. Atma is the pure divinity that is ubiquitous in all and that which seeks to attain unison with the ultimate “Paramatma”. In this composition, Adi Shankara sets forth the essence of Advaita, the oneness of supreme “Brahman”.

The legend goes that Shankara, as an young boy of eight encountered a sage who asked him, “Who are you?”. The answer was given in these six stanzas. The sage was Govindapada who became the Guru (teacher) of Adi Shankara.

Every stanza ends with the following declaration of who he was, and who we all should become in our ultimate quest for the truth:

“Chidananda rupha Shivoham Shivoham” (चिदानन्द रूप: शिवोऽहम् शिवॊऽहम्), meaning I am of the nature of pure knowledge and bliss; I am Shiva, the ultimate.

Here is a melodious rendering the six verses of Nirvana Shatkam by Ms. Sudha Malhotra. It is published in CD format by Chinmaya Mission. A booklet containing the full meaning and commentary is also available with them.

6 thoughts on “Nirvana Shatkam by Adi Shankaracharya

  1. Kalpana

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.. I’ve been looking for Sudhaji’s version for more than 20 years!

  2. arvind

    dear sirs,

    i had an occasion to hear this enchanting sudha malhotra rendition of nirvanshatakam at the end of a chinmayananda discourse on geeta at nehru stadium, pune about 35 years ago and was trnsported.

    since then i had been trying and trying at many places including kolvan, uttarkashi tapowan centre, sandipani, mumbai , various music centres etc but somehow could not get it.

    i thought -,like extinct beautiful species , this song also may have disappeared.

    my long quest has been fulfilled and i thank you greately for your uploading this rare masterpiece of amalgamation of shankara’s darshan with mellifluos soothing rendition by sudha malhotra.

    may god and shankara bless you all,


  3. Kothandaraman Ganesh

    My heartfelt thanks for posting this beautiful rendering of the Nirvana Shatkam. I used to hear it with my mother at the Chinmaya Mission. There are no words to describe this rendering. Hari Om

  4. sudhir mohan

    I heard this in 1980 when Swamiji had come to Baroda. I bought its 45 rpm record although I did not have a player. I used to take the record for listening to frinends place or even to restaurants. I trie to obtain cassette or cd but surprisingly mission in delhi has not even heard of it. I had a cassette containing commentary on bhaj govindam by swamiji on one side and this. but with time the cassette has got spoiled . will be thankful if you could let us know how to obtain the CD.


  5. seekertruth

    Shankaracharya has touched upon multiple aspects of the Purusa and Prakruti in the Nirvana Shatakama. A collection of these videos –

    are explaining each of these aspects (72 in total) with reference to both time (Shiva) and space (Shakti) which form existence itself. The last few verses of the Nirvana Shatakama reveals the Shivoham – its state, nature, etc. On the whole, it is a treatise of advaita philosophy that the dualities always exist but one must seek the eternal blissful state – the true goal of human birth.

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