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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Bukhaaraat

दूर से सराब  पास  आ रही है
कहीं से दबी हुई आवाज़ आ रही है
[सराब = illusion; ]

साँसों में गर्मी बदन में तपिश
आतिश-ए-दिल ज़बर पर आ रही है
[तपिश = heat; आतिश-ए-दिल = ambers from heart; ज़बर = above]

चस्म-ए-शम्स बरसाए शरारे    
सोज़-ओ-दूद  मेरे बदन से आ रही है
[चस्म-ए-शम्स = eyes which seem like sun, शरारे = ambers; सोज़-ओ-दूद = heat & smoke]

खर्जरों में गूंजती  हैं आवाजें
आवाजें दिल-ए-बियाँबान से आ रही है
[खर्जरों  = desolate]

 जल रहा मुज़्तरिब, बिन चिता बिन आग 
हों रहा है राख और फुगाँ आ रही है
[फुगाँ = wail]
'मुज़्तरिब'

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Choomaha Dar Ardo Saman

This ghazal is written by famous Afghan sufi poet Jami. I was unable to find the meaning of the lyrics. The fourth and fifth stanza is used in many sufi songs.

Choomaha Dar Ardo Saman Taaban Tui Taban Tui
Rashke Malak Noore Khuda Insaan Tui Insaan Tui

Roshan Ze Rooyat Do Jahan Akse Ruqat Khursheed-o-Maan
Aye Noore Zaate Kibriya Rakhshaan Tui Rakhshaan Tui

Ayat-e-Quran Abroyat Tafseer-e-Quran Gaisuyat
Aye Roo-e-Tou Quran-e-Maan Iman Tui Iman Tui

Ya Mustafa Ya Mujataba Irhamlana Irhamlana
Dast-e-Hamaan Becharara Damaan Tui Damaan Tui

Man Asiyam Man Ajizam Man Bekasam Haal-e-Maraa
Ya Shafe-e-Roze Jaza Pursan Tui Pursan Tui

Jami Ravad Az Chashme Maan Jalwa Numaan Behre Khuda
Jano Dilam Har do Fida Jaana Tui Jaana Tui

 'Jami'

Protagoras and The Sophists

A sophist was a man who made his living by teaching things that would be useful to them and are not taught in regular curriculum. As there was no public provision for such education, the Sophists taught only to those who had private means. This tended to give them a certain class bias which was increased by political circumstances of the time.

In Athenian democracy, judges and most executive officers were chosen by lot and served for short periods. They were thus average citizens with their characteristic prejudices and lack of professionalism. The plaintiff and defendant or prosecutor and accused appeared in person, not through professional lawyers. Naturally, success and failure depended largely on oratorical skill in appealing to popular prejudices. Although a man had to deliver his own speech, he could hire an expert to write the speech for him, or, as many, preferred, he could pay for instruction in the arts required for success in the law courts. These arts the Sophists were supposed to teach. They taught the art of arguing, and as much knowledge as would help in this art. Broadly speaking, they were prepared, like modern lawyers, to show how to argue for or against any opinion and were not concerned to advocate conclusion of their own. Those, to whom philosophy was closely bound to religion, were naturally shocked; to them, the sophists appeared frivolous and immoral. The sophists were prepared to follow an argument wherever it might lead them. Often it led to skepticism. One of them, Gorgias, maintained that nothing exists; that if anything exists; and to be knowable by any one man, he could never communicate it to others.

Protagoras was most prominent amongst the sophists. Protagoras was born about 500 B.C; at Abdera in Thrace, the city from which Democritus came. He twice visited Athens. His second visit to Athens is described somewhat satirically in Plato’s Protagoras, and his doctrines are discussed seriously in Theaetetus. He is chiefly noted for his doctrine that “Man is measure of all things, of things that are that they are, and of things that are not that they are not.” This is interpreted as meaning that each man is the measure of all things and that when men differ there is no objective truth in virtue of which one is right and other is wrong. The doctrine is essentially skeptical and is presumably based on deceitfulness of the senses.

Russel quotes Plato, in the Theaetetus, to explain Protagoras. One opinion can be better than other but not necessarily truer. For e.g. when a man has jaundice everything looks yellower to him. There is no sense in saying that things are not really yellow, but the color they look to a healthy man, one can say, however that since health is better than sickness, the opinion of man in health is better than that of man who has jaundice. This point of view is akin to Pragmatism.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

tamaam umr ik lamhe ka intezaar kia..

तेरी रंजिश ने दिल को तार तार किया
इश्क में हमने इसे ज़ार ज़ार किया
[तार तार = shred; ज़ार ज़ार = wail copiously]

खुशफहमी-ए-शादगी है तुझे ए खूबां
क्या जिया जो ना तुमने कभी प्यार किया
[खुशफहमी-ए-शादगी = illusion of happiness; खूबां = beautiful]

तुम ना समझ पाए ज़ज्बात-ए-मुहब्बत
यूँ तो हमने सद हजारां आशकार किया
[सद हजारां = hundred thoushand; आशकार = reveal]

लो आज हों गए हम तुम से बाबस्ता
जाँ हमने तेरे दर पे वार किया
[बाबस्ता = associated ]

ना होगा कोई मुन्तज़िर 'मुज़्तरिब' सा
तमाम उम्र एक लम्हे का इंतज़ार किया
[मुन्तज़िर = awaiting]

'मुज़्तरिब' 

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Leucippus and Democritus - The Atomist

Leucippus and Democritus are considered to be the founders of Atomism. Though Democritus place is later in the chronology, along with Socrates, he is generally considered along with Leucippus.

Leucippus seems to have flourished around 440 B.C. He comes from Miletus and carried on the rationalistic and scientific way of philosophy associated with the city. He was much influenced by Parmenides and Zeno. Epicurus, a later follower of Democritus doubted his existence. There are, however, a number of allusions to him by Aristotle and it seems incredible that these would have occurred if he had been merely a myth.

Democritus was from Abdera in Thrace. He flourished around 420 B.C. He travelled widely in eastern & southern lands in search of knowledge. He seems to have visited Egypt and Persia.

Leucippus, if not Democritus, was led to atomism in the attempt to mediate between monism as represented by Parmenides and pluralism as represented by Empedocles. Their theory is remarkably akin to modern physics. They believed that everything consists of atoms and atoms are physically invisible and indestructible. The atoms have always been in motion and there are infinite numbers of atoms. The space between two atoms is empty. Atoms have different shape and size. Whether Atomist considered atoms as weightless is debated. But there is considerable reason to think that weight was not an original property of atoms of Leucippus and Democritus.

It seems more probable that, on their view, atoms were originally moving at random. Democritus said that there was neither up nor down in the infinite void and compared the movement of atom in the soul to that of motes in sunbeam where there is no beam. As a result of collisions the collection of atoms comes to form Vortices.

Contrary to popular perception in antiquity, Atomists were strict deterministic, who believed that everything happens in accordance with the natural laws. Democritus explicitly denied that anything can happen by chance.

Aristotle and others reproached Leucippus and Democritus for not accounting for original motion of atoms (i.e. how the atoms got into motion), but in science causation must start from something, and wherever it starts no cause can be assigned for initial datum. The world may be attributed to a creator, but even the creator himself is unaccounted for.

The atomists sought to explain the world without introducing the notion of purpose or final cause. The “final cause” of an occurrence is an event in the future for the sake of which the occurrence takes place.

Taking an example if we ask, “Why are railways built?” the answer would be because people would travel. This is the “final cause” why railways are built. When we ask “Why” concerning an event, we may mean either of two things. We may mean “What purpose did this event serve?” or we may mean “What earlier circumstances caused this event?”

The answer to the former question is teleological explanation, or an explanation by final causes, the answer to the latter question is mechanistic explanation. The mechanistic question leads to scientific knowledge, while the teleological question does not. The atomist asked the mechanistic question and gave mechanistic answers. Their successors, until the renaissance, were more interested in teleological question, and thus led science up a blind alley.

As regards the teleological explanation, it eventually arrives at creator whose purpose is realized in the course of nature. But if a man is so obstinately teleological as to continue to ask what purpose is served by the Creator, it becomes impious. The conception of purpose, therefore, is only applicable within reality, not to reality as whole.

A similar argument applies to mechanistic explanations. One event is caused by another and other by third and so on. But if we ask for a cause of the whole, we are driven again to creator who must himself be uncaused. All causal explanations, there must have an arbitrary beginning. This is why it is no defect in the theory of atomist to have left the original movements of atoms unaccounted for.

Leucippus was concerned to find a way of reconciling the arguments of Parmenides with the obvious fact of motion and change. Leucippus thought he had a theory which harmonized with sense perception and would not abolish either coming to be and passing away or motion and the multiplicity of things. He made this concession on the facts of perception. On the other hand he conceded to the monists that there could be no motion without void. The result is a theory which he states as follow:

“The void is a “not being”, and no part of “What is” is a “not being”; for 'what is' in the strict sense of term is an absolute plenum. This plenum, however, is not one, on the contrary, it is many, infinite in number and invisible owing to the minuteness of the bulk. The many move in the void (for there is a void): and by coming together they produce coming to be, while by separating they produce passing away. Moreover, they act and suffer action whenever they chance to be in contact (for there they are not one) and they generate by being put together and becoming intertwined. For the genuinely one, on the other hand, there could never have come to be a multiplicity, nor from genuinely many a one: that is impossible.”

It will be seen that there was on which everybody so far was agreed, namely there could be no motion in the plenum. In this, all alike were mistaken. There can be cyclic motion in a plenum, provided it has always existed. The idea was that a thing could only move into an empty space, and that in a plenum, there are no empty spaces. It might be contended, perhaps validly, that motion could never begin in a plenum, but it cannot be validly maintained that it could not occur at all.

To the Greeks, however, it seemed that one must acquiesce in the unchanging world of Parmenides, or admit the void. One may put the Parmenidian position in this way: “You may say that there is the void; therefore the void is not nothing; therefore it is not the void.” It cannot be said that Atomists answered this argument; they merely proclaimed that they proposed to ignore it on the ground that motion is a fact of experience, therefore there must be a void, however difficult it may be to conceive.

Democritus worked out his theories in considerable details and some of the working out is interesting. Each atom, he said, was impenetrable and indivisible because it contained no void. When you use a knife to cut an apple, the knife has to find empty places where it can penetrate; if the apple contained no void, it would be infinitely hard and therefore physically indivisible. Each atom is internally unchanging, and in fact a Parmenidian one. The only thing that atoms do is to move and hit each other, and sometimes to combine. They are of all sorts of shapes; fire is composed of small spherical atoms; and so is the soul. Atoms, by collision produce vortices, which generates bodies and ultimately worlds. There are many worlds, some growing, some decaying; some may have no sun or moon, some several. Every world has a beginning and an end.

Life developed out of the primeval slime. There is some fire everywhere in a living body. Thought is a kind of motion and is thus able to cause motion elsewhere. Perception and thought are physical process. Perception is of two sorts, one of the sense and one of the understandings. Perception of the latter sort depend only on the things perceived, while those of the former sort depends also on our senses, and therefore apt to be deceptive. Like Locke, Democritus held that such qualities as warmth, taste, and color are not really in the object, but are due to our sense organs, while such qualities as weight, density and hardness are really in the object.

Democritus was through-going materialist; for him, the soul was composed of atoms and thought was physical process. There was no purpose in universe, there were only atoms governed by mechanical laws. He disbelieved in popular religion and argued against nous of Anaxagoras. In ethics he considered cheerfulness as the goal of life, and regarded moderation and culture as the best means to it. He disliked everything violent and passionate; he disapproved of sex, because he said, it involved the overwhelming of consciousness by pleasure.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

aaj main gaya to laut ke phir na aaonga

आज  मैं गया
तो लौट के फिर ना आऊंगा

ये  आँखें ना रोक पायेंगी
ये आंसूं  ना रोक पायेंगे
तेरी बातें ना रोक पाएंगी
तेरी कसमें ना रोक पायेंगे
आज मैं गया
तो लौट के फिर ना आऊंगा

तेरी हंसी मैं भूल जाऊँगा
सारी ख़ुशी  मैं भूल जाऊँगा
सारे वादे मैं भूल जाऊँगा
सब इरादे मैं भूल जाऊँगा
आज मैं गया
तो लौट के फिर ना आऊंगा

अधजगी रातें मैं छोड़ जाऊँगा 
अनकही बातें मैं छोड़ जाऊँगा
अधूरी मुलाकातें मैं छोड़ जाऊँगा
अतृप्त ज़ज्बातें मैं छोड़ जाऊँगा
आज मैं गया
तो लौट के फिर ना आऊँगा

आधी रातो में  किसे जगाओगी
  वेवजह किसे सताओगी
कौन देखेगा राह तुम्हारी
किसे अपने किस्से सुनाओगी

रूठोगी, तो कौन तुम्हे मनायेगा
कौन अपने हाथों से खिलायेगा
कौन तुम्हे सब बातें समझायेगा
कौन तुम्हारे सपनो को अपना बनायेगा

फिर ये आँखें भर आयेंगी
और खर्जारों  से टकराएंगी
नज़र बार बार दरवाजे तक जायेंगी
पर मुझको ना ढूंढ पायेंगी

 अपने लिए ही सही
 रोक लो मुझको तुम आज, की
आज मैं गया
तो लौट के फिर ना आऊंगा 

'प्रशांत'

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Anaxagoras

Anaxagoras was born at Clazomenae, in Ionia, about the year 500 B.C. He spent about thirty years of his life in Athens around 462 B.C to 432 B.C. He was probably induced to come by Pericles and was the first one to introduce philosophy to Athenians. As Pericles grew week his men, including Anaxagoras, were troubled by his enemies. What happened actually is not certain, except that Anaxagoras had to leave Athens. He returned to Ionia, where he founded a school.

Anaxagoras carried out on the scientific, rationalist tradition of Ionia. He was from the school of Anaximene. He was first to suggest mind as primary cause of physical change. Anaxagoras held that everything is infinitely divisible, and that even the smallest portion of matter contains some of each elements. Things appear to be that of which they continue most. For e.g. everything contains some fire but what we know as fire is one in which fire is preponderant.

Like Empedocles, he agrees against the void. His greatest achievement is that he differed from his predecessors in regarding mind (nous) as a substance that enters into the composition of living things and distinguishes them from dead matter. In everything, he says, there is portion of everything except mind. There are certain things which contains mind also. In such things mind has power over all things that have life; it is infinite and self ruled and is mixed with nothing. Mind is the source of all motion. It causes a rotation, which is gradually spreading throughout the world, and is causing the lightest things to go to the center and the heaviest to fall towards centre. Mind is uniform and is just as good in animals as in man. Man’s apparent superiority is due to the fact that he has hands; all seeming differences of intelligence are really due to bodily differences.

Aristotle and Socrates complain that Anaxagoras, after introducing mind, makes very little use of it. Aristotle points out that Anaxagoras introduces mind as a cause when he know no other. Wherever he can, he gives mechanical explanation.

In cosmology he had great achievements. If we discount Parmenides cryptic suggestion, Anaxagoras was the first to explain that moon shines by reflected light. He gave the correct theory of eclipse. The sun and stars, he said, are fiery stones, but we do not feel the heat of stars as they are distant. The sun is larger than Peloponnesus, the moon has mountains and inhabitants.

Bertrand Russell summarizes Anaxagoras contribution as:

Anaxagoras kept alive the rationalist and the scientific tradition of Ionians. One does not find in him the ethical and religious preoccupations which, passing from Pythagoras to Socrates and from Socrates to Plato, brought an obscurantist bias in Greek Philosophy. He is not quite in the first rank, but he is important as the first to bring philosophy to Athens, and one of the influences that helped to form Socrates.”

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A brief history of Athens

Attica at the beginning of the historical period was a self supporting agricultural region. It's capital was a small town inhabited by artisans and craftsmen. The town was called Athens.



In the Homeric age Attica, like other Greek cities, was a monarchy. Over the period the king became just a titular power and the control passed to aristocracy. The aristocrats oppressed both the artisans and the countrymen. A compromise in the direction of the democracy was affected by Solon early in the sixth century, and much of his work survived through a subsequent period of tyranny under Peisistratus and his sons. When the tyranny became week the aristocrats, as an opponent of tyranny, advocated democracy. Democratic process gave power back to aristocracy.

The greatness of Athens begins at the time of the two Persian wars (490 B.C and 480-79 B.C). Before this Ionia and Magna Graecia, which comprised of cities of South Italy and Sicily, were center of learning which produced great men.

The victory of Athens against the Persian king Darius at Marathon (490 B.C) and combined Greek fleet against his son Xerexes (480 B.C) under the Athenian leadership gave Athens great Prestige.

The Persian occupied Ionia and a part of mainland Asia Minor rebelled after the Persian were driven out of mainland Greece by the combined Greek force. Athens became the leader against the war against Persia. The other cities gave Athens the monetary help and Athens provided them with soldiers and ships. Gradually Athens acquired naval supremacy over the other empire and gradually transformed the empire into Athenian empire.

Athens became rich and prosperous under the leadership of Pericles, who governed by the free choice of people. The age of Pericles was the glorious time in the Greek history. Literature and Philosophy made a great Leap.

Pericles rebuilt the temple on Acropolis which was destroyed by Xerxes. He also built the Parthenon at the end of this period. Athens was most beautiful and splendid city of Hellenic world. In Philosophy, Athens contributes only two great names, Socrates and Plato. Plato belonged to later period but Socrates passed his youth and early manhood under Pericles. Pericles ruled for 30 years until his fall in 430 BC.

Until the fall of Pericles, democratic process gave power to the aristocracy. But towards the end of his life the leaders of Athenian democracy began to demand a larger share of Political power. At the same time, his imperialist policy caused increasing friction with Sparta, leading to Peloponnesian war (431 – 404 B.C) in which Athens was completely destroyed.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Atma Shatakam - Chidanand roopah shivoham shivoham

In this post my aim is to explain Atma shatakam, a poem summarizing the concept of Advaita Vedanta, written by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. To do that I will first explain about the Advaita philosophy and then I’ll put up the explanation of Atma shatakam sholkas. The content of this post is mainly aggregated from Wikipedia, My earlier post, ‘Hindu Philosophy’ by Theos Bernard and the exposition of Atma shatakam by C.V Reddy published on Sri Ramakrishna math’s website.

Vedanta: The Vedanta is one of the six schools of Hindu Philosophy (Darshana). The others being Nyaya, Vaisesika, Smakhya & Yoga. A more elaborate description I have posted here. The Vedanta is technically classified as Uttaramimamsa. ‘Uttara’ means last; ‘mimamsa’ means “investigation, examination, discussion or consideration”; therefore, the last consideration of Vedas. This system of thoughts is commonly referred to as Vedanta, composed of Veda and Anta, “end’; literally, “the end of the Vedas”. Because the central topic is the Universal Spirit; called ‘Brahma’, the name Brahmasutra and Brahmamimamsa are frequently used. Another title is Sarirakamimamsa, an enquiry into embodied spirit.

Tradition attributes the Vedanta sutra to Badarayana whose actual date is quite unknown. The dates range from 500 B.C. to as late as 200 A.D. Some scholars contend that Badarayana is the alias for Vyasa the sage who wrote ‘Mahabharata’. The central theme of Vedantasutra is the philosophical teachings of Upanishads concerning the nature and relationship of the three principles, that is, God, the world, and the soul, this also includes relationship between Universal soul and individual soul.

Three schools have developed from the interpretation of the Vedantasutra. They are: The Advaita (non dualism); Visistadvaita (qualified non dualism) and Dvaita (dualism) propounded respectively by Shankaracharya (8th century), Ramanujacharya (11th century) and Madhavacharya (12th century). The Advaita school contends that all phenomenal existence is an illusion called maya, and that only the Ultimate Principle (Brahma) is real, the Visistadvaita system maintains that there is only one Reality, but that in the objective world it manifests itself as duality; the Dwaita schools treats the evolutionary scheme in the same way as Samkhya. Its only contribution is the way in which it deals with the supreme Deity.

Shri Adi Shankaracharya and Advaita Vedanta: Adi Shankaracharya consolidated the Advaita Vedanta treaties. In his ‘Vivekachudamani ‘, a famous work that expounds Advaita Vedanta philosophy, he succinctly summarizes this philosophy as:

‘Brahma satyam jagat mithyā, jīvo brahmaiva nāparah’

(Brahma is the only truth, the world is illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and individual self)

According to Adi Shankara, God, the Supreme Cosmic Spirit or Brahman, nominative singular Brahma, is the One, the whole and the only reality. Other than Brahman, everything else, including the universe, material objects and individuals, are false. Brahman is at best described as that infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, incorporeal, impersonal, transcendent reality that is the divine ground of all Being. Brahman is often described as ‘neti neti’ meaning "not this, not this" because Brahman cannot be correctly described as this or that. 'It' (grammatically neutral, but exceptionally treated as masculine) is the origin of this and that, the origin of forces, substances, all of existence, the undefined, the basis of all, unborn, the essential truth, unchanging, eternal, the absolute. How can it be properly described as something in the material world when it is the basis of reality? Brahman is also beyond the senses, it would be akin a blind man trying to correctly describe color. It, though not necessarily a form of physical matter, is the substrate of the material world, which in turn is its illusory transformation. Brahman is not the effect of the world. Brahman is said to be the purest knowledge itself, and is illuminant like a source of infinite light.

Due to ignorance (avidyā), the Brahman is visible as the material world and its objects. The actual Brahman is attributeless and formless (Nirguna Brahman). It is the Self-existent, the Absolute and the Imperishable. Brahman is actually indescribable. It is at best "Satchidananda" (merging "Sat" + "Chit" + "Ananda", i.e., Infinite Truth, Infinite Consciousness and Infinite Bliss). Also, Brahman is free from any kind of differences or differentiation. It does not have any sajātīya (homogeneous) differentiation because there is no second Brahman. It does not have any vijātīya (heterogeneous) differentiation because there is nobody in reality existing other than Brahman. It has neither svagata (internal) differences, because Brahman is itself homogeneous. In Islamic parlance the verse ‘wahdahu la sharika lahu’ (GOD is one and he has no partner) is what Advaita philosophy is about.

According to Adi Shankara, Māyā is the complex illusionary power of Brahman which causes the Brahman to be seen as the material world of separate forms. Maya has two main functions — one is to "hide" Brahman from ordinary human perception, and the other is to present the material world in its (Brahmam) place. Māyā is also said to be indescribable, though it may be said that all sense data entering ones awareness via the five senses are Māyā, since the fundamental reality underlying sensory perception is completely hidden. It is also said that Māyā is neither completely real nor completely unreal, hence it is indescribable. Its shelter is Brahman, but Brahman itself is untouched by the illusion of Māyā, just like a magician is not tricked by his own magic. Māyā is temporary and is transcended with "true knowledge," or perception of the more fundamental reality which permeates Māyā.

Since according to the Upanishads only Brahman is real, and yet the material world is seen as real, Adi Shankara explained the anomaly by the concept of this illusionary power of Māyā.

According to Advaita Vedanta, when man tries to know the attributeless Brahman with his mind, under the influence of Maya, Brahman becomes the Lord. Ishvara is Brahman with Maya — the manifested form of Brahman. Adi Shankara uses a metaphor that when the "reflection" of the Cosmic Spirit falls upon the mirror of Maya, it appears as the Ishvara or Supreme Lord. The Ishvara is true only in the pragmatic level. God's actual form in the transcendental level is the Cosmic Spirit.

Ishvara can be described as Saguna Brahman or Brahman with attributes that may be regarded to have a personality with human and Godly attributes. This concept of Ishvara is also used to visualize and worship in anthropomorphic form deities such as Shiva, Vishnu or Devi by the Dvaitins which leads to immense confusion in the understanding of a monistic concept of God apart from polytheistic worship of Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti in Hinduism .

To think that there is no place for a personal God (Ishvara) in Advaita Vedanta is not a misunderstanding of the philosophy. Ishvara is, in an ultimate sense, described as "false" because Brahman appears as Ishvara only due to the curtain of Maya. However, just as the world is true in the pragmatic level, similarly, Ishvara is also pragmatically true. Just as the world is not absolutely false, Ishvara is also not absolutely false. He is the distributor of the fruits of one's Karma.

The soul or the self (Ataman) is identical with Brahman. It is not a part of Brahman that ultimately dissolves into Brahman, but the whole Brahman itself. Now the arguers ask how the individual soul, which is limited and one in each body, can be the same as Brahman? Adi Shankara explains that the Self is not an individual concept. Atman is only one and unique. Indeed Atman alone is {Ekaatma Vaadam}. It is a false concept that there are several Atmans {Anekaatma Vaadam}. Adi Shankara says that just as the same moon appears as several moons on its reflections on the surface of water covered with bubbles, the one Atman appears as multiple atmans in our bodies because of Maya. Atman is self-proven, however, some proofs are discussed—e.g., a person says "I am blind", "I am happy", "I am fat" etc. The common and constant factor, which permeates all these statements is the "I" which is but the Immutable Consciousness. When the blindness, happiness, fatness are inquired and negated, "I" the common factor which, indeed, alone exists in all three states of consciousness and in all three periods of time, shines forth. This proves the existence of Atman, and that Consciousness, Reality and Bliss are its characteristics. Atman, being the silent witness of all the modifications, is free and beyond sin and merit. It does not experience happiness or pain because it is beyond the triad of Experiencer, Experienced and Experiencing. It does not do any Karma because it is Aaptakaama. It is incorporeal and independent.

When the reflection of atman falls on Avidya (ignorance), atman becomes jīva — a living being with a body and senses. Each jiva feels as if he has his own, unique and distinct Atman, called jivatman. The concept of jiva is true only in the pragmatic level. In the transcendental level, only the one Atman, equal to Brahman, is true.

Atma Shatakam or Nirvana shatakam: Nirvana shatakam, attributed to Adi Shankaracharya. It is a hymn popular with all those who feel drawn to the practice of Vedantic spiritual practices. It is also recited on important occasions in Hindu temples, prayers meetings, and satsangs. As this is a dhyana stotra, a hymn for meditation, it is of special significance and importance.  
The word shatakam means six and the word nirvana means freedom or liberation. It is thus a hymn of six verses on liberation, each of which is like a jewel in the garland of Vedanta. It is also called as atma shatakam or six verses on the nature of the Self. The first three lines in each of the first five verses negate all that is not Atman, while the last line in each verse strongly affirms what atman is.

मनोबुद्धिअहन्कार्चित्तनि नाहं  न च श्रोताजिह्वे  न च घ्राणनेत्रे
न च व्योम्भुमिर्ण  तेजो  न  वायु चिदानंदरूपः शिवोहं  शिवोहं 

manobuddhy-ahamkara chittani naham na cha shrotra jihve na cha ghrana netre
na cha vyomabhumirna tejo na vayuh chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham

manah mind buddhih intellect ahamkarah ego (I-consciousness) chittani memory na not aham I na not cha and shrotra ear (organ of hearing) jihve tongue na not; cha and ghrana nose (organ of smell) netre eyes; na not cha and vyomah space bhumih earth na not tejah fire (light) na not vayuh air chidananda rupah nature of pure consciousness shiva Shiva aham I shiva Shiva aham I
1. I am not the mind, intellect, ego, or memory; nor the ear or tongue; nor the nose nor eye; nor the space, earth, fire, or air (and water), I am of the nature of Pure Consciousness-Bliss-Absolute, I am Shiva, I am (verily) Shiva.

Notes: Mind (manah), intellect (buddhih), ego (ahamkara), and memory (chittani) together are referred to by the technical term antah karana or internal instrument. Ear, tongue, nose, eyes, and skin together are the five jnana indriyas. Space, earth, fire, air, and water are the five elements (pancha bhutas).

न  च  प्रानसंगयो  न  वै पंचावायु  न  वा सप्ताधतुर्ना  वा  पंचाकोशः 
न  वाक्पानिपादम   न  चोपस्थापायु  चिदानंदरूपः  शिवोहं   शिवोहं

na cha prana-samjno na vai panchavayuh na va saptadhaturna va panchakosah
na vakpanipadam na chopasthapayu chidanandarupah shivoham shivoham
na not cha and pranah life-breath samjnah sign na vai neither pancha vayuh five vital airs na not va or sapta dhatuh seven basic elements (of the body) na not va or panchakoshah five sheaths na not vak organ of speech pani hand padam foot (or leg) na not cha and upasthapayuh generative and excretory organs chidananda rupah nature of pure consciousness shivo Shiva (the auspicious one) aham shivo shiva aham I

2. I am not indicated by prana, nor the five-fold vital airs nor the seven elements (sapta dhatuh) of the body, nor the five sheaths; nor the organs of speech, nor hand, nor leg; and not generative or excretory organs, I am of the nature of Pure Consciousness-Bliss-Absolute, I am Shiva, I am (verily) Shiva. 
Notes: Five vital airs are : Prana (controls respiratory system), Apana (controls excretory system), Vyana (controls circulatory system); Samana (controls digestive system), and Udana (controls ejection of the prana from the physical body). Seven basic elements (sapta dhatuh) consist of: skin, flesh, fat, bone, blood, bone marrow, and semen. Five sheaths (pancha kosha) are believed to veil our understanding of the atman include, in order from
gross (outer most) to the subtle (inner most): annamaya kosha (food sheath); pranamaya kosha (vital air sheath);
manomaya kosha (mind sheath); vijnanamaya kosha (intellectual sheath); and anandamaya kosha (bliss sheath).

न  में  द्वेषरागौ  न  में  लोभमोहौ  मदों  नैव  में  नैव  मात्सर्यभावः
न  धर्मो  न चार्थो  न  कामो  न  मोक्षः   चिदानंदरूपः  शिवोहं  शिवोहं
na me dvesha-ragau na me lobha mohau mado naiva me naiva matsaryabhavah
na dharmo nacha-artho na kamo na mokshah chidanandarupah shivoham shivoham

na not me to me dvesah hatred (aversion) ragah attachment na not me to me lobhah greed mohah delusion madah arrogance na not eva only me na eva not to me matsarya bhavah feeling of jealousy na not dharmah dharma na not cha and arthah wealth (money) na not kamah desire  na not mokshah liberation chidananda rupah nature of pure consciousness shiva Shiva aham I shiva Shiva aham I
3. I have neither aversion nor attachment, neither greed nor delusion; I have neither arrogance nor jealousy; I have no duty (to perform) nor any wealth (to acquire); neither desire nor liberation; I am of the nature of Pure Consciousness-Bliss Absolute, I am Shiva, I am (verily) Shiva

Notes: Greed, delusion, pride and jealousy together with lust and anger constitute shad ripu (also called ari shad varga), the six-fold internal enemies of a human being. Dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (desire), and moksha (liberation) are together known as purusharthas, the four objectives of a human being.

न  पुण्यं  न  पापं  न  सौख्यं  न दुखं  न  मंत्रो  न  तीर्थं  न  वेदा  न  यज्ञं
अहम्  भोजनं  नैव  भोज्यं  न  भोक्ता  चिदानंदरूपः  शिवोहं  शिवोहं 

na punyam na papam na saukhyam na duhkham na mantro na tirtham na veda na yajnah
aham bhojanam naiva bhojyam na bhokta chidanandarupah shivoham shivoham

na punyam not virtue na papam not sin na saukhyam not pleasure (material happiness) na duhkham not sorrow (pain) na mantrah not a sacred chant; na tirtham not a holy place of pilgrimage na veda not Vedas (not scriptures) na yajnah not sacrificial fire rituals aham I bhojanam na eva not the act of enjoying bhojyam (nor) the object of enjoyment na bhokta not the enjoyer chidananda rupah nature of pure consciousness shiva Shiva aham I shiva Shiva aham I
4. Neither virtue (punyam) nor sin (papam) nor happiness nor sorrow; nor a holy chant nor a holy place of pilgrimage nor Veda nor sacrifice; I am neither enjoyment, nor enjoyable object, nor the enjoyer; I am of the nature of Pure Consciousness-Bliss Absolute, I am Shiva, I am (verily) Shiva.

न  में  मृत्युशंका  न  में  जाति  भेदः  पिता  नैव  में  नैव  माता  न  जन्मः   
न  बंधुर्ना  मित्रं  गुरुर्नैवा  शिष्यः  चिदानंदरूपः  शिवोहं  शिवोहं

na me mrityushanka na me jati bhedah pita naiva me naiva mata na janma
na bandhurna mitram gururnaiva shishyah chidanandarupah shivoham shivoham

na me not to me mrityuh shanka fear of death na me not to me jati caste (and creed) bhedah distinction pita father na eva not either me to me na eva mata nor mother na janma not (even) birth na bandhuh nor relation na mitram nor a friend guruh guru na eva not either shishyah a disciple chidananda rupah nature of pure consciousness; shiva Shiva aham I shiva Shiva aham I
5. I have no apprehension of death; neither do I have any distinction of caste (or creed); I have neither father, nor mother, nor (even) birth; neither friend nor kith and kin; neither teacher (guru) nor disciple; I am of the nature of Pure Consciousness-Bliss-Absolute, I am Shiva, I am (verily) Shiva.


अहम्  निर्विकल्पो  निराकार्रुपो   विभुर्व्याप्य  सर्वत्र  सर्वेंद्रियानाम  
सदा  में  समत्वं  न  मुक्तिर्न  बन्धः  चिदानंदरूपः  शिवोहं  शिवोहं
aham nirvikalpo nirakararupo vibhurvyapya sarvatra sarvendriyanam
sada me samatvam na muktirna bandhah chidanandarupah shivoham shivoham

aham I nirvikalpah without dualities nirakara rupah without a form; vibhuh omnipresent; vyapya pervading (spread out) sarvatra everywhere sarva all indriyanam sense organs sada always; me samatvam I am equanimous na muktih neither liberation na bandha not bondage chidananda rupah nature of pure consciousness; shiva Shiva aham I shiva Shiva aham I

6. I have neither dualities nor shape or form; I am present everywhere (omnipresent) and pervade all the senses; I am always equanimous; I am neither liberation nor bondage; I am of the nature of Pure Consciousness-Bliss-Absolute, I am Shiva, I am (verily) Shiva.