Ātman (Hinduism)

Ātman (Hinduism)

An article related to




Hinduism Portal
Hindu Mythology Portal
v · d · e

Ātman (IAST: Ātman, Sanskrit: आत्मन्) is a Sanskrit word that means 'self'. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism it refers to one's true self beyond identification with phenomena. In order to attain salvation (liberation) a human being must acquire self-knowledge (atma jnana) which is to say realise experientially that one's true self is identical with the transcendent self (paramatman) that is called Brahman.



The root *ēt-men (breath) is cognate with Old English "æþm", Greek "asthma", German "Atem": "atmen" (to breathe).The Spanish word "alma" (soul) is not related to "ātman". It is derived from Latin "anima" (breath,soul), which is cognate to Sanskrit "ánilaḥ" (wind). Although "ánilaḥ" and "ātman" have similar meaning, they are not etymologically related.

Schools of thought


Philosophical schools such as Advaita (non-dualism) see the "spirit" within each living entity as being fully identical with Brahman – the Principle, whereas other schools such as Dvaita (dualism) differentiate between the individual atma in living beings, and the Supreme atma (Paramatma) as being at least partially separate beings.[1] Thus atman refers to the individual spirit or the observer being.[2]

Within Advaita Vedanta philosophy the Atman is the universal life-principle, the animator of all organisms. This view is of a sort of panentheism (not pantheism) and thus is sometimes not equated with the single creator God of monotheism. Identification of individual living beings/souls, or jiva-atmas, with the 'One Atman' is the non-dualistic Advaita Vedanta position, which is critiqued by dualistic/theistic Dvaita Vedanta. Dvaita Vedanta calls the all-pervading aspect of Brahman Paramatman different from individual Atman and claims reality for both a God functioning as the ultimate metaphorical "spirit" of the universe, and for actual individual "spirits" as such. The Dvaita, dualist schools, therefore, in contrast to Advaita, advocate an exclusive monotheistic position wherein Brahman is made synonymous with Vishnu. Aspects of both philosophies are found within the schools of Vishishtadvaita Vedanta and Achintya Bheda Abheda.

In some instances both Advaita and Dvaita schools may accommodate the others's belief as a lower form of worship or practice towards the same ultimate goal.[3]


In the view of the Yoga school, the highest attainment does not reveal the experienced diversity of the world to be illusion. The everyday world is real. Furthermore, the highest attainment is the event of one of many individual selves discovering itself; there is no single universal self shared by all persons.[4]


The pre-Buddhist Upanishads link the Self to the feeling "I am."[5] Among the religious thinkers of the time, and in common usage, the concept "self" entails the notion of "I am". However, following the Buddha, later Upanishads like the Maitri Upanishad write instead that only the defiled individual self, rather than the universal self, thinks "this is I" or "this is mine",[5] and the even later Mandukya Upanishad, which was written with heavy Buddhist influence, defines the highest state to be absolute emptiness.[6]


Adherents to Jainism and Brahma Kumaris religion also use the phrase the atman to refer to 'the self'. Often atman is mistaken as being interchangeable with the word jiva with the difference being somewhat subtle. Whereas atman refers to the self, jiva refers to the living being, the exact comprehension of which varies throughout the philosophical schools.

See also


  1. ^ Bhagavata Purana 3.28.41
  2. ^ Bhagavata Purana 7.7.19–20 ""Atma" also refers to the Supreme Lord or the living entities. Both of them are spiritual."
  3. ^ Bhagavad Gita 12.3–4 "But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which lies beyond the perception of the senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, unchanging, fixed and immovable – the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth – by controlling the various senses and being equally disposed to everyone, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, at last achieve Me."
  4. ^ Stephen H. Phillips, Classical Indian Metaphysics: Refutations of Realism and the Emergence of "new Logic". Open Court Publishing, 1995, pages 12–13.
  5. ^ a b Peter Harvey, The Selfless Mind. Curzon Press, 1995, page 34.
  6. ^ Hajime Nakamura, Trevor Leggett, A history of early Vedānta philosophy, Part 2. Reprint by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 2004 page 285.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Atman — means self in Sanskrit and is a concept of importance in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Yoga and Jainism: Ātman (Hinduism) Ātman (Buddhism) Atman (Jainism) Atman may also refer to: Atman (fashion) the clothing line and fragrance made by Russell… …   Wikipedia

  • Ātman (Buddhism) — Ātman ( sa. आत्मन्) or Atta (Pāli) literally means self , but is sometimes translated as soul or ego . The word derives from the Indo European root *ēt men (breath) and is cognate with Old English æthm and German atem [ [http://www.yourdictionary …   Wikipedia

  • atman —    The atman is the self or soul. The word is derived either from the root at (to move) or the root an (to breathe). It is used both for the individual self or soul and for the transcendent “Self” or “All soul,” which is all reality. Often the… …   Encyclopedia of Hinduism

  • Atman — At man, n. [Skr. [=a]tman.] (Hinduism) (a) The life principle, soul, or individual essence. (b) The universal ego from whom all individual atmans arise. This sense is a European excrescence on the East Indian thought. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • atman — [ät′mən] n. [Sans ātmā, breath, soul, Supreme Spirit < IE * ēt men, breath > OE æthm, Ger atem] Hinduism 1. the individual soul or ego 2. [A ] the universal soul; source of all individual souls …   English World dictionary

  • Hinduism — An article related to Hinduism …   Wikipedia

  • Hinduism — /hin dooh iz euhm/, n. the common religion of India, based upon the religion of the original Aryan settlers as expounded and evolved in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, etc., having an extremely diversified character with many… …   Universalium

  • atman — /aht meuhn/, n. Hinduism. 1. the principle of life. 2. the individual self, known after enlightenment to be identical with Brahman. 3. (cap.) the World Soul, from which all individual souls derive, and to which they return as the supreme goal of… …   Universalium

  • Hinduism in Malaysia — An article related to Hinduism …   Wikipedia

  • Hinduism in the Netherlands — An article related to Hinduism …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”