Atma, Atman, the Eternal Soul

Hinduism Concepts

by Compiled by Richard Stoney

"Our individual soul is the immortal and spiritual body of light that animates life and reincarnates again and again until all necessary karmas are created and resolved and its essential unity with God is fully realized."

"Our soul body was created in the image and likeness of the Primal Soul, but it differs from the Primal Soul in that it is immature. While [God] is unevolutionary perfection, we are in the process of evolving." 1

"Are Souls and World Essentially Good?

The intrinsic and real nature of all beings is their soul, which is goodness. All is in perfect balance. There are changes, and they may appear evil, but there is no intrinsic evil. Aum.

The soul radiates love, is a child of God going through its evolutionary process of growing up into the image and likeness of the Lord. Goodness and mercy, compassion and caring are the intrinsic, inherent or indwelling nature of the soul. Wisdom and pure knowledge, happiness and joy are the intrinsic nature of the soul. Can we believe the soul is anything but goodness, purity and all the refined qualities found within super-consciousness? When God is everywhere, how can there be a place for evil?" 2

Yearning for Divine Self

"Each one of us is God (Atman). Nobody is deprived of this. When we realize our Infinite Self, we are replete. There is nothing more to desire. But as long as we do not recognize our own Divinity, we have a yearning. It is yearning for our Divine Self but, blinded by the maya ("illusion") of the world, we mistake this yearning as desire for material pleasures." 3

The Soul and Its Illusion

Atman or the soul is in reality identical with Paramatman or the Oversoul, which is One, Infinite and Eternal. The soul is, in fact, beyond the gross, subtle and mental worlds, but experiences itself as being limited owing to its identification with the Sharira or gross body, Prana or the subtle body (which is the vehicle of desires and vital forces), and Manas or the mental body (which is the seat of the mind). The soul in its transcendental state is One—Formless, Eternal and Infinite—and yet identifies itself with the phenomenal world of forms, which are many and finite and destructible. This is Maya or the cosmic illusion. The soul and its illusion." 4

Suggestions for Further Reading

1. Subramuniyaswami, pp. 79, 81.
2. Satguru S'ivaya Subramuniyaswami, Dancing with S'iva p. 137
3. Kerry Brown, ed. The Essential Teachings of Hinduism , p.132.
4. Meher Baba, Discourses by Meher Baba, The Journey of the Soul to the Oversoul

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