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Wed Sep 19, 2012, 06:28 PM

Atma-Shatakam/Nirvana Shatakam, The Song of the Self. Advaita Vedanata(Non-Dual) school of Hinduism

The Advaita Vedanta School of Hinduism is one of the most famous and ancient schools of Hinduism in Existence. Advaita means "not-two". The basic premise of the Advaita Vedantin is that the Atman(self) is identical to Brahman. Ignorance prevents us from realizing this truth. Jnana Yoga(Yoga of knowledge) is practiced by the Advaitins in order to pierce this veil of ignorance and realize the Brahman they have always been.

The Advaitin looks inward and not outward, as by knowing oneself(realizing that one is Brahman) one realizes everything. This is called 'self-realization"/"Enlightenment"/"Moksha" in the Dharmic traditions. The first textual evidence to the existence of Advaita vedanta can be found in the Hindu Upanishads from the 10th century BCE.

The following is a famous Sloka(Song) of six stanzas called "Atma/Nirvana Shatakam" .


1)
I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego,
nor the reflections of inner self (chitta).
I am not the five senses.
I am beyond that.
I am not the ether, nor the earth,
nor the fire, nor the wind (the five elements).
I am indeed,
That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, pure consciousness.

2) Neither can I be termed as energy (prana),
nor five types of breath (vayus)
nor the seven material essences
nor the five coverings (pancha-kosha).
Neither am I the five instruments of elimination,
procreation, motion, grasping, or speaking.
I am indeed,
That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, pure consciousness.

3) I have no hatred or dislike,
nor affiliation or liking,
nor greed,
nor delusion,
nor pride or haughtiness,
nor feelings of envy or jealousy.
I have no duty (dharma),
nor any money,
nor any desire (kama),
nor even liberation (moksha).
I am indeed,
That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, pure consciousness.

4) I have neither merit (virtue),
nor demerit (vice).
I do not commit sins or good deeds,
nor have happiness or sorrow,
pain or pleasure.
I do not need mantras, holy places,
scriptures (Vedas), rituals or sacrifices (yagnas).
I am none of the triad of
the observer or one who experiences,
the process of observing or experiencing,
or any object being observed or experienced.
I am indeed,
That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, pure consciousness.

5) I do not have fear of death,
as I do not have death.
I have no separation from my true self,
no doubt about my existence,
nor have I discrimination on the basis of birth.
I have no father or mother,
nor did I have a birth.
I am not the relative,
nor the friend,
nor the guru,
nor the disciple.
I am indeed,
That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, pure consciousness.

6) I am all pervasive.
I am without any attributes,
and without any form.
I have neither attachment to the world,
nor to liberation (mukti).
I have no wishes for anything
because I am everything,
everywhere,
every time,
always in equilibrium.
I am indeed,
That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, pure consciousness.

------------------------------------

I love how non-duality is expressed in this song.
Note: Shiva is used interchangeably with us, human beings in this song. In other words Shiva/Brahman and I are the same.


The four most popular Advaita Vedanta Sayings (Zen Koanish in nature, are used to impart the knowledge of Advaita)


1) prajńānam brahma - "Consciousness is Brahman"
2) ayam ātmā brahma - "This Self (Atman) is Brahman"
3) tat tvam asi - "Thou art That"
4) aham brahmāsmi - "I am Brahman"


^^ All of Advaita philosophy can be found condensed in these words.


"The knowers of Brahman become Brahman"


(To clarify, they are always Brahman, they never were anything else, but due to their ignorance they believe they are different..but when they realize Brahman they realize themselves.. for they have always been "that"


For a lot for Advaitins the question about the existence of God is of no use and makes no sense.In fact Advaita Vedanta explicitly states that God is but an illusion and a projection of ignorance. Often they are either agnostics (like buddhists) or Atheists.


"This self was indeed Brahman in the beginning. It knew itself only as "I am Brahman". Therefore it became all. And whoever among the gods had this enlightenment, also became That Brahman. It is the same with the seers (rishis), the same with men. The seer Vamadeva, having realized this self as That, came to know: "I was Manu and the sun." And to this day, whoever in a like manner knows the self as "I am Brahman," becomes all this universe. Even the gods cannot prevent his becoming this, for he has become their Self. Now, if a man worships another deity, thinking: "He is one and I am another," he does not know. He is like an animal to the gods. As many animals serve a man, so does each man serve the gods. Even if one animal is taken away, it causes anguish to the owner; how much more so when many are taken away! Therefore it is not pleasing to the gods that men should know this."
~Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10:



Brahman is the totality of all knowledge, of all perception and all experience. There is nothing to be known, nothing to be had, nothing to be enjoyed. Brahman is just existence.

"Consciousness minus conceptualization is the eternal Brahman."
~Valmiki’s Yoga Vasistha-


PS:
Youtube has some videos of the Nirvana/Atma Shatakam. I've embedded one here




PS: A considerable number of Ancient India's philosophers and scientists were Advaitins. They were also the ones who first invented and used the number zero. It was used to refer to a philosophical concept which was both "everything" and "nothing" at the same time. Later on it was also used in mathematics and the end result was the number zero

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Reply Atma-Shatakam/Nirvana Shatakam, The Song of the Self. Advaita Vedanata(Non-Dual) school of Hinduism (Original post)
Vehl Sep 2012 OP
tosh Sep 2012 #1
rug Sep 2012 #2

Response to Vehl (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 06:51 PM

1. Beautiful!

Thank you for posting this.

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Response to Vehl (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 08:35 PM

2. How do you define Brahman?

 

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