1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

What it feels like to be the spirit December 12, 2008

image by axinia

Following the recent discussion on this blog in the difference between spirit and soul, I want to quote a great enlightened soul, Indian poet Kabir (1398-1448) that described this absolutely exceptional spiritual state so well:

Neither am I righteous nor non-righteous
Neither am I an ascetic nor a sensualist
Neither do I speak nor do I listen
Neither am I a servant nor a master
Neither am I constrained nor Liberated
Neither am I sad nor jubilant
Neither am I distinctly isolated from anything
Nor am I Identified completely with anything
Neither do I go to the world of hell
Nor do I proceed to the world of heaven
All actions are really my actions
But yet I am distinct from the actions
This truth only a rare exceptional one realizes
Such a person sits in quiescence

Oh Kabîr don’t bring forth any creation
And don’t efface anything either


poem by Kabir (poet-saint of India, 15th Century)


18 Responses to “What it feels like to be the spirit”

  1. Peter Says:

    Sounds like Nirvana Shatkam. ~ 🙂

    Mano budhyahankara chithaa ninaham,
    Na cha srothra jihwe na cha graana nethrer,
    Na cha vyoma bhoomir na thejo na vayu,
    Chidananada Roopa Shivoham, Shivoham.

    Neither am I mind, nor intelligence ,
    Nor ego, nor thought,
    Nor am I ears or the tongue or the nose or the eyes,
    Nor am I earth or sky or air or the light,
    I am Shiva, I am Shiva, of nature knowledge and bliss

    Na cha praana sangno na vai pancha vaayuh,
    Na vaa saptha dhathur na va pancha kosa,
    Na vak pani padam na chopastha payu,
    Chidananada Roopa Shivoham, Shivoham.

    Neither am I the movement due to life,
    Nor am I the five airs, nor am I the seven elements,
    Nor am I the five internal organs,
    Nor am I voice or hands or feet or other organs,
    I am Shiva, I am Shiva, of nature knowledge and bliss

    Na me dwesha raghou na me lobha mohou,
    Madho naiva me naiva matsarya bhava,
    Na dharmo na cha artha na kamo na moksha,
    Chidananada Roopa Shivoham, Shivoham.

    I never do have enmity or friendship,
    Neither do I have vigour nor feeling of competition,
    Neither do I have assets, or money or passion or salvation,
    I am Shiva, I am Shiva, of nature knowledge and bliss

    Na punyam na paapam na soukhyam na dukham,
    Na manthro na theertham na veda na yagna,
    Aham bhojanam naiva bhojyam na bhoktha,
    Chidananada Roopa Shivoham, Shivoham.

    Never do I have good deeds or sins or pleasure or sorrow,
    Neither do I have holy chants or holy water or holy books or fire sacrifice,
    I am neither food or the consumer who consumes food,
    I am Shiva, I am Shiva, of nature knowledge and bliss

    Na mruthyur na sankha na me jathi bhedha,
    Pitha naiva me naiva matha na janma,
    Na bhandhur na mithram gurur naiva sishyah,
    Chidananada Roopa Shivoham, Shivoham.

    I do not have death or doubts or distinction of caste,
    I do not have either father or mother or even birth,
    And I do not have relations or friends or teacher or students,
    I am Shiva, I am Shiva, of nature knowledge and bliss

    Aham nirvi kalpo nirakara roopo,
    Vibhuthwascha sarvathra sarvendriyanaam,
    Na chaa sangatham naiva mukthir na meyah
    Chidananada Roopa Shivoham, Shivoham.

    I am one without doubts , I am without form,
    Due to knowledge I do not have any relation with my organs,
    And I am always redeemed,
    I am Shiva, I am Shiva, of nature knowledge and bliss

  2. Sahaja Says:

    @Peter….do u know sanskrit??? I understood the verse as it is without ur transalation and am surprised that u got it so correct!!! Did u learn the meaning of this or did u understand from reading??

    @ Axinia….as always!!! U make me see the same stuff in a beautiful manner …Hats off…. I was acquinted with Kabir’s poems but I know them now!!!

  3. guqin Says:

    To Sahaja,

    So you read Sanskrit? I am very impressed. I have been considering learning an Indian language (I now speak only Chinese and English) but not knowing which one will suit me. I heard that modern Hindi is in fact a rather new and artificial language, if this is true, then it isn’t what I am after (authentic Indian culture). I have been also considering Bengali which is Tagore’s language and I also heard that much of India’s literature is in Bengali, and this language also has a deep link to ancient Indian culture. What do you think? Should Bengali be a good choice or something else? Or should I just attempt Sanskrit? Thanks.

  4. I guess a lot of Indians (At least my type) didn’t appreciate the richness that Sanskrit offers, in spite of having such a rich literature. (Actually I got a chance to learn Sanskrit during my higher education but mostly I memorized the verses). I have regretted that quite often. I am happy that Sahaja can understand the language. Most of us can’t.

    Axinia, I had studied Kabir Ke Dohe, a list of poems by Kabir and their meanings when I was quite young. At that age, we are not able to appreciate the richness of literature, are we? (I used to omit this one especially). Isn’t it an Irony that when we want to know about all this, we are occupied with something else and when we were taught all this full time, we weren’t interested!!

    @Guqin: Tamil is also a rich language with a very vast and rich literature.

    Destination Infinity

  5. axinia Says:

    Guqin, thanks 🙂

    I can also read Sanskrit and understand many words – it is beautiful but rather complicated language. What is really intresting about Sahaskrit, is that it is the Mother of many Indiand and most European languages – in facgt, I wanted ot post domething on it with amazing examples! -coming soon 🙂
    Sahaskrit definetely worth studying, if you are corageous enough.

    you are so write that we are not able to appreciale good lieterture when we are young. I remember how I was always amaized in the scchool that we had to read Dostoevsky and Tolstoy at the teenager age when one is not able to understand most of it… But still it is a good basis, for may be alter one will want to come back.

  6. Peter Says:

    This is not my translation but I understand around 30% of the Sanskrit meaning. If you are well versed in Sanskrit you can help me a lot.
    I have a big debate about translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

  7. guqin Says:

    “that it is the Mother of many Indian and most European languages ”

    Very interesting, Axinia, a friend of mine just said to me that he found books in English on Indian spirituality read quite naturally, at the begining he found this puzzling since he thought Indian culture must be as different from western culture as it can be. Yet later he started suspecting that it was India having influenced Europe in earlier times and only now western culture starting influencing back, so perhaps English is actually quite “natural” as a medium in expressing Hindi ideas. (This can not be true with the Chinese case, I find Chinese language and English are mutualy uneasy in expressing each other’s ideas, I am guessing Chinese language may have the same difficulty with other western languages)

    @Destination Infinity


  8. guqin Says:

    Axinia, do you speak or know a great many languages? A former professor (from Germany) told me that though he spoke 6 European languages but he only considered Russian the sufficiently distinct one since all other 5 were similar.

  9. volodimir108 Says:

    guqin, that is not surprising – axinia is a linguist in her education 🙂

  10. axinia Says:

    guqin, it is not fair – you ask questions and rise topics that i was preparing to post about!! 🙂

    Indeed, because I graduated as a linguist (thanks, Vladimir!), I am very keen on a language as a phenomenon, as well as on studying different languages. i do not know that many, but if I really need, I can learn any language very fast: lingusitics give one a deep understanding how a language works and develops, and one can grasp the structure and nature of any language rather easy …

    Besides, the Russian school of lingusitcs is considered to be the strongest in the world ‘:)

    As for Chinese, it is a totally different approach…but that is a vast topic to cover!! I hope I will be able to do it soon.
    In the meanwhile, you may like to read my posts on a similar topic:




  11. guqin Says:

    Thanks, volodimir and Axinia.

    Chinese is indeed quite different.

    Egyptian was an interesting language too. They had great talent for hard engineering but still prefer beauty with unusual patience as shown in their script, in that sense they were similar to ancient china.

  12. sailaja Says:

    Hi Axinia, Wonderful poem. This actually is the witness state when we attain the fourth state of Turiya. Beautiful.

    Our mother Shri Mataji had mentioned about this Atmashtakam or Nirvanashtakam and when ever i read it in sanskrit or english i feel the bliss. Fantastic.

    Peter, your blog is really an encyclopedia and still i am in the process of understanding many articles viz; Upanishads etc.

  13. Well expressed by Kabir, who exemplified the secular syncretic culture that has sadly disappeared from modern India, and indeed, all of South Asia 😦

    While I’m no linguist, Axinia, and I barely know two-and-a-half languages, I’m really surprised that you say that Sanskrit is the mother of most European languages. Sanskrit sure is the mother of one branch of languages of the Indo-European family but how can it be called the mother of most European languages? Apart from certain dubious right-wing elements in India who promote this completely unscientific myth for their own interests, I haven’t heard anyone say this. Those characters want to believe the subcontinent was the cradle of humanity and promote the ridiculous idea of outward mass migration from India, when infact the opposite is true. Except for the mass migration of indentured labour under British rule and migration in recent times apart from maybe the Roma peoples and other minor migrations, South Asia has always been the land where people from outside have come and settled, except maybe the tribal population who are believed to be the original inhabitants of India.

  14. kanagu Says:

    Kabir’s works are always special which always makes us think. But I regret that I just mugged them up when I got the oppurtunities 😦

  15. Sahaja Says:

    Guqin – Sorry for being late in responding….My knowledge of sanskrit is beginner to pro…I studied [not read] for 2 years and am mesmirized!! I can read and write[when dictated] mostly but am not sure of writing on my own! i.e cant make my sentences … My interest was there since I was a kid…I used to try and understand slokas with my understanding of telugu! And even now, I try improving by understanding slokas/verses….Ahh..I am always mesmerized with the flow, beauty and music of the language!

    Sanskrit is definitely a lovely language to learn and u can find many similarities in root words to my native language – Telugu….I dont know much of Tamil but my grandmom says there are much links to Tamil as well!!
    Considering the link to european languages – some research has been done on this and there are similarities found between Latin,Lithuvanian etc ….but lots to be known yet! Axinia could help us better!
    Considering a language to learn …Hmm….Bengali is a very good option….its a sweet language but I dont know anything to compare its similarities with Sanskrit!
    Hindi – the script is very very similar and u can learn traditional hindi like I am learning now!
    Telugu – its a special language, script is much diff from sanskrit but just coz I knew Telugu, I could understand many slokas since I was a child!
    Tamil – Known to be the oldest of south indian languages…and very authentic still!

  16. guqin Says:

    Hi, Sahaja

    Thanks for your response.
    I am impressed (and surprised) by India’s richness in languages. China’s languages are not as rich I believe partly as a result of the unification of the country in most of her later history. There are a good side and a down side in unification I guess.

  17. Sahaja Says:

    Guqin, in UK, I hear that Chinese(mandarin) might be the next widely spoken language after English and Spanish….Do u think the same?
    Pardon my ignorance but I dont know if thre are many languages in China too apart from Chinese….Can u tell me?

  18. guqin Says:


    “Chinese” is a very vague term, with it people usually mean Mandarin, but which is only a standarized version of a language spoken by people originaly came from the north. “True Chinese” migrated to the south in ancient times and got mixed into “Cantonese” (what I speak). Minorities keep their own languages still, say Tibetants and Muslams. Among Han Chinese there used to be more languages too but many got lost since China’s latest unification has been since 221BC and the empiror dicided to standarized the script.

    Today, Mandarin is considered the national language, and since China has a hugh population, so Mandarin is spoken by many for sure, but perhaps limmited to Chinese cultural zones. Due to China’s economic advancement, many foreigners are indeed learning Mandarin, but I think they are only interested in “functional” Mandarin. To my observation Chinese culture doesn’t seem popular in the west. I am not sure if I should believe Mandarin will be widely spoken like English in any near future. I tend to think not.

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