Nirvana Shatkam  – after thoughts

The essence of Nirvana Shatkam is ‘You are nothing but pure awareness and your true nature is everlasting joy’. The more I ponder over it, I seem to discover yet more gems in this short, simple but philosophical looking profound statement. Just look at the two parts of this sentence.

1. ‘You are nothing but pure awareness’. This means, as exemplified in six verses, that anything you can think, imagine or perceive, including your brain, body, intellect, relationships, physical possessions are things you own or relate to. They are NOT part of you. In other words they are not part of your identity and neither do they define you. 

2. ‘Your true nature is everlasting joy’. This means that if you are not in this state (which in real life is true for most people most of the time), then you are entitled to try to attain it. Note, it does not imply that you can achieve that state soon or ever. All it implies is that it is ok for you to try to achieve it. Looked from a different angle, it can be said that trying to attain everlasting joy is the goal of your life. 

The first one is your reality. The second is your guiding principle for life. It is as simple. My previous article is essentially examples of application of these two (your reality and your guiding principle) messages. See how beautifully these abstract looking verses lead to very practical meaning. It took me almost a year of reflecting on it, before I was able to express these in words. Apply these to anything in life and see where it takes you.

The statement ‘You are nothing but true awareness’) essentially frees and encourages you to make unlimited changes in your life. Since nothing is part of you or forms your identity, you have less hesitation changing it. See more on this in my previous article. The second part  ‘Your true nature is everlasting joy’ can provide guidance in all areas of life. Here are some examples.

Nirvana Shatkam and inspirations for

Self discovery 
If achieving ‘everlasting joy’ is your life guiding principle, how do you plan to go about it. Before you have any hope of achieving it, it is important that you identify what is ‘everlasting joy’ for you. This directly leads to modern wisdom where ‘discovering self’ and identifying your unique gifts and talents is encouraged. Step 10 years into future and imagine that you have achieved all you ever dreamt of, and yes you would have taken a big step towards achieving ‘everlasting joy’. Substitute that with regrets in various areas and your goal of ‘everlasting joy’ is that much more difficult. Put in another words, achieving success is relatively simple, but as Covey in his book ‘Seven Habits of Highly effective families’ puts it, after climbing the ladder of success, many people realize that they are on the wrong ladder. If you ever find your self on the wrong ladder, your task of achieving ‘everlasting joy’ would become lot more difficult.

You may have truly discovered yourself (your gifts, interests, ambitions – leading to life goals) and may have started moving on the path of realizing these, but it is equally important that you work to achieve these with full energy. Most people at some stage in life have some regrets about past. “Had I done MBA 10 years back, I could have been much more effective in my profession”. You want to avoid such regrets which many times are result of lack of initiative, courage or commitment towards hard work. So fully realizing your potential through diligence and being your best in everything you do is the only way to avoid future regrets and is a logical next step after the self discovery mentioned above.

Self Acceptance / Stress management
Notice, in the above paragraphs, I never indicated that under any circumstances, it can become impossible to achieve ‘everlasting joy’. I stopped at saying it can become ‘difficult’. Life is full of unknowns. Most people can’t do any of the above (discovering self or doing everything perfectly) and even if that is done, the result of your actions are never guaranteed. Developing the personality of acceptance and looking into future with optimism is what is needed. We encourage our children to work very hard towards studies and other pursuits, but also teach them not to fret too much if on some instance the grades are lower than expected. Bhagavad Gita’s Nishkam Karm Yoga also leads to the similar philosophy. So if your life goal is to ‘work towards achieving everlasting joy’, you will need to develop skills related to self acceptance and stress management as well. 

Are you beginning to see the profound meaning hidden behind this short and simple sentence ‘Your true nature is everlasting joy’. What I have written are just some examples. This is not all, in fact we just touched tip of the iceberg.

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