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Advaita Teachings On Atman – Soul

Advaita Vedanta, one of the philosophical schools of Hinduism, expounds profound teachings on the nature of the atman or soul. According to Advaita, the atman is not a separate entity but is intricately connected to Brahman, the ultimate reality or Absolute. Here are some key aspects of Advaita teachings on the atman:

Eternality and Infiniteness: Advaita asserts that the atman is eternal, transcending the boundaries of time and space. It is not subject to birth or death and remains constant throughout existence. Its infiniteness implies that it is beyond any limitation or restriction.

Pure Consciousness: The atman is described as pure consciousness (chaitanya). It is devoid of impurities, limitations, and attributes. This pure consciousness is considered the essence of the atman and the source of all subjective experience.

Identity with Brahman: According to Advaita, the ultimate realization is that the individual atman is identical to Brahman, the Absolute reality. The apparent separation is an illusion caused by ignorance (ajnana). The goal of life is to overcome this ignorance and recognize the inherent oneness of the atman with Brahman.

Ignorance (Ajnana) and Bondage: Advaita posits that the atman is bound by ignorance (ajnana), which creates a false sense of individuality and separation from the ultimate reality. This ignorance leads to the cycle of birth and death (samsara) and the experiences of pleasure and pain.

Liberation through Knowledge (Jnana): Liberation (moksha) in Advaita is not something to be achieved; it is the realization of the atman's true nature. The removal of ignorance through knowledge (jnana) is the key to liberation. By understanding that the atman is Brahman, one breaks free from the cycle of birth and death.

State of Bliss (Ananda): Upon realizing its true nature, the atman is said to experience unalloyed bliss (ananda). This bliss is not dependent on external factors but is intrinsic to the atman's nature. Liberation is described as the restoration of the atman to its original state of bliss.

No Transformation, Just Recognition: Advaita emphasizes that the atman does not undergo any transformation or change during the process of liberation. Instead, it involves the removal of ignorance to recognize the eternal and infinite nature of the atman.

In summary, Advaita Vedanta teaches that the atman is not a separate entity but is fundamentally one with Brahman. Liberation is the realization of this truth, leading to a state of eternal bliss and the end of the cycle of birth and death.