The mind is Brahman—this worship is called adhyātma. Next is that called adhidaivata: Space is Brahman. That is, meditate on space as Brahman. These two ways of meditation are advised: adhyātma and adhidaivata.(Chandogya Upanishad 3.18.1)

Whereas Shankaracharya in his Nirvana Shakta says I am not the mind, the intellect, the ego or the memory and I am the form of consciousness and bliss. Isn't this statement mutually contradictory? Do Upanishads say Mind and Space aren't Brahman??

  • Shankaracharya might be referring to dualistic philosophy Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 16:21
  • Can you give reference to Shankaracharya's qouted or his writing Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 16:22
  • isha.sadhguru.org/in/en/blog/article/… @DarkKnight Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 16:47
  • Nirvana Shatkam is a devotional composition. The ultimate aim as per the composition is to realize our true eternal nature as the atman, non different from paramatman, i.e of the form of Shiva (Shivoham Shivoham), which is Sat-Chitta-Ananda. Inverily though, Brahman is everything, but everything is not Brahman. Like Shankara says in Vishnu Shatpadi - "Samundro hi tarangah kvachana samundro na tarangah" i.e., A tide is always the part of Ocean, but ocean is not a part of the Tide. Similarly, Brahman is everything, yet not everything is Brahman.
    – Vivikta
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 17:45
  • @SethuSrivatsaKoduru he is speaking about himself and it is more like a dualistic interpretation of self Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


Meditation is always graded according to the aspirant and has to undergo various stages. One starts from thinking the body is Brahman, then the mind is Brahman till he realizes that none of these are actually Brahman.

Tai. Upanishad

Bhrigu is instructed by his father Varuna to realise Brahman. Gradually Bhrigu pierced through these various layers of his personality. From the five sheaths, he realizes that Bliss is Brahman, and the physical, the vital, the mental and the intellectual sheaths are not Brahman. Prāṇo brahmeti vyājānat (Tai.Upan. 3.3.1).

Talks with Ramana Maharshi, 146

When told that you are not the ego, realise the Reality. Why do you still identify yourself with the ego? It is like saying, “Don’t think of the monkey while taking medicine” - it is impossible. Similarly it happens with common folk. When the Reality is mentioned why do you continue to meditate Sivoham or Aham Brahmasmi? The significance must be traced and understood. It is not enough to repeat the bare words or think of them.

The meditation process is a gradual method of freeing consciousness from its entanglement in objects. Various Upanishads talks about various kinds of meditations: meditation on Vaishvanara, Hiranyagarbha, Ishvara, Omkara etc. but the ultimate purpose is Atma sakshatkara, or the realisation of Brahman.


mano buddhi ahankara chittani naaham na cha shrotravjihve na cha ghraana netre na cha vyoma bhumir na tejo na vaayuhu chidananda rupah shivo'ham shivo'ham

I am not the mind, the intellect, the ego or the memory, I am not the ears, the skin, the nose or the eyes, I am not space, not earth, not fire, water or wind, I am the form of consciousness and bliss, I am the eternal Shiva...

This is a devotional poem.

The main thing in the poem is to realize the self or to realize we to also divine.

We are the spark of the divine Shiva. That's what it means.

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