Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 30 Mar 2021


Is Shankara's Nirvaana Shatkam to be sung by any ordinary soul?

[An online spiritual discussion was conducted on March 27, 2021, in which several devotees participated. Some of the questions of devotees answered by Swāmi are given below.]

[Kum. Laxmi Thrylokya asked: Pādanamaskāraṃ Swāmi! Śrī Ādi Śaṅkarācārya has blessed us by composing many wonderful prayers (stōtras) to God. But He has also composed Nirvāṇa Ṣatkam having the phrase “Śivo'ham”, which means that I am God Śiva. Chanting this prayer repeatedly impresses on our mind the idea that we all are Lord Śiva. But You have clarified that the philosophy of Advaita is applicable only to the Human Incarnation of God and not to all souls. Then, why did Śaṅkarācārya give us this Nirvāṇa Ṣatkam, which is not applicable to us? At Your Divine Lotus Feet, Thrylokya]

Swāmi replied: When something good is done to the soul through a lie, it is not wrong at all. The mother says to the child that if it eats the food, the moon will come down. Believing this lie as truth, the child eats the food and grows well. Truth or lie is not very important in all contexts. Of course, in some contexts the lie harms good and innocent people. The mother is giving food only to the child for its growth and the mother is not giving poison to the child to kill the child. In both cases, coming down of moon is a lie. In one context (giving food), the lie is appreciable and is not a sin. In another context (giving poison) the lie is condemned and it is a sin. Hence, welfare of the soul is more important than truth or lie. The soul loses confidence due to worldly problems and in such context, if the soul reads this prayer and feels that it is God Śiva and gains full confidence, it is good only and such lie is to be appreciated. If the soul reads this prayer and gets overconfidence to do some destruction saying that God Śiva is the deity of destruction, then, the same prayer spoiled the soul and such prayer in such context is to be condemned. Proper use of the knife will benefit you and improper use will cut your own finger!