• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The concept of Atman

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Atman The West regards the atman as being like the human soul, and this implies individualism. The Greek word for spirit is atmos and by looking at this, we can see that the word atman is more closely related to the notion of a spirit. In Hindu literature, the atman is the part of human existence that lives on and there are numerous illustrations given by writers that support this. One of the most famous illustrations about atman can be found in the Chandogya Upanishad. In the Chandogya Upanishad, there there are over 16 different illustrations of this vital notion of atman. It's this story of a boy where basically his dad tells him to put a big old chunk of salt in some water. The next day the dad tells him to get the water and drink from the side of it. ...read more.

Middle

The Upanishads all teach that we all have atman inside us, and that in order to release the atman; the knowledge required (the process of jnana mega) is hard, "Like pith extracted from a reed" [Katha Upanishad] and that it is identical to Brahman, it is Brahman. It is that which lives on What does the Gita teach about the atman? The Bhagavad Gita teaches pretty much the same as that which is found in the Upanishads. The authors had to use the same concepts as those found in the Upanishads because the Upanishads are divinely revealed. The teachings are core teachings and so to disagree with them would be to disagree with God. The gita also teaches that atman is in everyone, and that atman is immortal. The following passage found within the Gita supports this;"who thinks that he can be a slayer? ...read more.

Conclusion

In his scholarly writings, Bowen says that "the atman is clothed with, though not limited by the psychological components of the individual personality." The author of the Gita makes a very big deal that the outward physical body is very different to the inmost self and when a person dies, this marks the end of the physical body but not the atman. The atman is a key idea within Hinduism, and it is essential in order for us to gain a good understanding about Hindu ethics. Without atman, the concept of samsara, the wheel of transmigration and the ultimate aim of Moksha, Hinduism wouldn't make sense. The concepts of Moksha and samsara would be scientifically inexplicable and would therefore ultimately fail if the concept of atman were not accepted. Because of this, atman is vital to the religion. Hinduism would not be able to support itself as a religion without this concept, and therefore it's essential that we understand just how important the concept of atman is to Hinduism. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hinduism section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hinduism essays

  1. Examine and Comment of Christian and Hindu Beliefs about Life After Death

    The law of karma can also explain the differences in circumstances and inequalities between people around the world. Although many Hindus aspire to a good rebirth, the ultimate goal of any Hindu is for the atman (soul) to escape Samsara altogether and this is known as 'Moksha'.

  2. The Beginning Of Hinduism.

    He may take the shape of a God or Goddess. Each God or Goddess has its own personality and appearance. In the form of Brahma, God created the world (Brahma is a form of Brahman). As Vishnu, God keeps the world going and as Shiva, He destroys the world.

  1. Abortion - Hindu view.

    Quotes from Religious texts "Let your mother be a god to you. Let your father be a god to you." Taittiya Upanishad 1:11 "The result of a virtuous action is pure joy; action done out of passion bring pain and suffering; ignorance arises from actions motivated by 'dark' intentions."

  2. With reference to a Hindu wedding ceremony, describe and explain the many points of ...

    being married is important in Hindu society, Being married is important in the Hindu society. This is because marriage in Hinduism is not seen as a lifestyle choice but a duty and religious stage of life, from 'student', the first ashrama, to 'householder', the second ashrama according to the Varna-ashrama-dharma.

  1. Describe the presentation of the soul in the Katha Upanishad.

    This imagery is repeated several times throughout the Upanishad highlighting its significance, the idea that atman, though small, lives in every human's ego and personality. Chapter four also describes the soul as "omnipresent", an idea that is presented in the fig tree analogy that "its root is above, its branches below" "on it all the world's rest".

  2. "It is essential for Hinduism to reform but the most important issue was the ...

    when many new tribes were incorporated into the Aryan society and some of their practices including the worship of idols were accepted by the former as an acceptable form of divine worship. The practice became popular definitely by the Mauryan and post Mauryan period when idols and temples started appearing in various parts of India.

  1. Why did Hinduism need to reform?

    The rise of such mass communication meant that ideas, beliefs and values spread quicker from different regions. Especially western ideas in this case. Western Science and philosophy began to establish itself. Schools of thought from philosophers such as Mill and other Utilitarianists who promoted ideas stemming from rationalism and logic.

  2. Christianity and Hinduism seem to have profoundly different views in relation to God and/or ...

    suggests an initial explosion from singularity in which the universe is continuously expanding from; which concludes a beginning. Brahman (the one ultimate reality) is believed to have 3 functions, which are shown by 3 Gods: Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. He is the source of all manifestations.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work