Song of the Soul by Adi Shankaracharya

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Song of the Soul by Adi ShankaracharyaAdi Shankaracharya was a renowned Indian sage and philosopher who is credited with revival and unification of various schools thought in Hinduism through his doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. Advaita refers to the idea that the true self (atman) is the same as the supreme universal spirit (brahman). Having lived in the 8th century AD, Adi Shankaracharya used to compose many poems and chants for his disciples to recite during their meditation practice to help them understand the complex nature of the soul.

Song of the Soul (Atma Satkam) is one such poem which summarizes the basic teachings of Advaita Vedanta. It is also a description of the state of samadhi – the last limb of yoga in Patanjali’s Eightfold Path of Yoga. In this state, the yogi (atman) has departed from the material world and has merged with the supreme universal spirit (brahman). Below is the English translation of Song of the Soul as composed by Adi Shankaracharya:

Song of the Soul by Adi Shankaracharya

I am neither ego nor reason, I am neither mind nor thought,
I cannot be heard nor cast into words, nor by smell nor sight ever caught:
In light and wind I am not found, nor yet in earth and sky –
Consciousness and joy incarnate, Bliss of the Blissful am I.
I have no name, I have no life, I breathe no vital air,
No elements have moulded me, no bodily stench is my lair:
I have no speech, no hands and feet, nor means of evolution –
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss in dissolution.
I cast aside hatred and passion, I conquered delusion and greed;
No touch of pride caressed me, so envy never did breed:
Beyond all faith, past reach of wealth, past freedom, past desire,
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss is my attire.
Virtue and vice, or pleasure and pain are not my heritage,
Nor sacred texts, nor offerings, nor prayer, nor pilgrimage:
I am neither food, nor eating, nor yet the eater am I –
Consciousness and joy incarnate, Bliss of the Blissful am I.
I have no misgiving of death, no chasms of race divide me,
No parent ever called me child, no bond of birth ever tied me:
I am neither disciple nor master, I have no kin, no friend –
Consciousness and joy am I, and merging in Bliss is my end.
Neither knowable, knowledge, nor knower am I, formless is my form,
I dwell within the senses but they are not my home:
Ever serenely balanced, I am neither free nor bound –
Consciousness and joy am I, and Bliss is where I am found.

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