Atman Is Brahman Essay
The original Vedas are the oldest sacred writings of the Hindus and are composed of spiritually focused poetry written in Sanskit between 2000-1000 B. The spirtually inspired poets who wrote these early Vedas often imply a one-ness with the Divine.More recent Vedas are known as the Upanishads - a name implying sitting at the feet of a teacher - and are the Hindu sacred texts next in antiquity dating from circa 600 B. The Upanishads uphold views that maintain that people are capable of a profound interior spirituality.The atman is variously translated into English as the eternal self, spirit, essence, soul, or breath.It is the true self as opposed to the ego; that aspect of the self which transmigrates after death or becomes part of Brahman (the force underlying all things).The first known mention of atman is in the Rigveda, a set of hymns, liturgy, commentary, and ritual written in Sanskrit.Sections of the Rigveda are among the oldest texts known; they were likely written in India between 17 BC.
The Upanishads, written between the eighth and sixth centuries BC, are dialogues between teachers and students focusing on metaphysical questions about the nature of the universe. Many address the atman, explaining that atman is the essence of all things; it cannot be understood intellectually but can be perceived through meditation. There are six major schools of Hinduism: Nyaya, Vaisesika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta.Knowing atman is simply understanding what atman is—but it does not lead to unification with Brahman or to eternal happiness. Unlike the other schools, it describes atman as identical with ego, or personal self.Virtuous actions have a positive impact on one's atman, making ethics and good works particularly important in this school.The concepts of atman and Brahman are generally described metaphorically in the Upanishads; for example, the Chandogya Upanishad includes this passage in which Uddalaka is enlightening his son, Shvetaketu: As the rivers flowing east and west Merge in the sea and become one with it, Forgetting they were separate rivers, So do all creatures lose their separateness When they merge at last into pure Being. Nyaya scholars suggest that consciousness exists as part of the atman, and use rational arguments to support the existence of atman as an individual self or soul.The This school of Hinduism is described as atomistic, meaning that many parts make up the whole of reality.
The Yoga school has some philosophical similarities to the Samkhya school: in Yoga there are many individual atmans rather than a single universal atman.