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Meaning Of Atman - Swami Vivekananda Explains

Swami Vivekananda explains the meaning of the word Atman in Hinduism.

I will not translate this word to you in English because the idea does not exist in Europe; it is untranslatable. The modern attempt of German philosophers is to translate the word Atman by the word ‘Self’, and until that word is universally accepted, it is impossible to use it. So, call it as Self or anything, it is our Atman. This Atman is the real man behind. It is the Atman that uses the material mind as its instrument, its Antahkarana as is the psychological term for the mind.

Vedanta Kesari Magazine published by Ramakrishna Mission, Chennai, Explains more about the term and what Swami Vivekananda meant

Etymologically the term Atman means that which is eternal (from the Sanskrit root word  att, ‘that which exists always’).

So, eternal soul means Atman. Is there also non-eternal soul? In a way, yes, and that is called Jiva which is Atman plus body and mind (so it becomes jivatman).

While Atman is never born or grows or decays and dies, in its embodied state it seems to undergo change, and the most expressive manifestation of this change is

birth and death. In reality, however, Atman is the birthless, deathless, eternal core of human personality.



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