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Elacqua, J., et. al. (2013, Mar 4). Atman. Faithology. Retrieved from http://faithology.com/beliefs/atman

Elacqua, Joseph, et. al"Atman" Faithology, LLC. Last modified March 4, 2013. http://faithology.com/beliefs/atman

Elacqua, Joseph, et. alAtman. Faithology, LLC, 2012. http://faithology.com/beliefs/atman (Accessed Aug 22, 2014).

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  • Jones, Lindsay, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 15 vols.
  • Last Updated: March 4, 2013
  • Originally Published: July 18, 2012
  • Atman

Introduction

Atman is a core concept of Hinduism. Literally meaning "breath" or "self," atman may be variously translated as spirit, soul, or ego. The word atman refers to the universal self that is inherent in all people and functions as the ultimate spiritual core of every sentient being. In the Bhagavad Gita, the god Krishna revealed that atman is indestructible and everlasting; therefore death is never the end for anyone.

atman

The earliest textual mention of atman is in the Rigvedic Pantheon”

According to Hindu beliefs, one's atman continues to live on after the body dies. It moves to a new body via the process of samsara, or the unending cycle of rebirth. Thus, in this doctrine, whenever a person dies, his or her atman is reborn within a new body. This cycle continues until the attainment of moksha, or release from this cycle.

Some Hindu sects subscribe to the belief that their atman is a part of Brahman, the all-embracing and eternal cosmic source of all creation. Others prefer equating it to a more personal deity, such as Vishnu, Shiva, or Devi.

This doctrine provides a stark contrast between Hindus and Buddhists. Instead, Buddhists maintain a belief in anatman. According to this doctrine, there exists no divine spiritual atman that has the potential to survive death.