The Concept of Atman or Eternal Soul in Hinduism
Shang China Video transcript - [Instructor] We're now going to talk about Hinduism which is one of the largest religions on Earth, practiced by over a billion people. And, it's interesting for several reasons. First, it is considered to be one of the oldest religions that is still practiced. Some historians would place the origins of Hinduism at 5, years into the past. It has elements that may have been practiced in the Indus Valley civilization. You also have significant elements that come from the Vedic Period.
In fact, the Vedas, for which the Vedic Period is named really form the root of Hinduism as it is practiced today. It is believed that the Vedas come from an Indo-Aryan people that many historians believe came from Central Asia and were related to many of the people who colonized Europe. Now, the other thing that is fascinating about Hinduism, and I really just referred to some of it, it is a combination of many cultures that really merged over thousands of years. And, they merged around the Indian subcontinent.
As you will see there are many traditions, many cultures, many different ways that one can, and many different ways that people do practice Hinduism. But, there are also core beliefs that we wanna get to the heart of in this video.
Brahman and Atman: That Art Thou
And, we'll discuss more in future videos. Now, what's also interesting is where the name Hinduism or Hindu comes from, a Hindu being someone who practices Hinduism. The name for what we now call the Indus River in Sanskrit was Sindhu, and Sindh is still a region in the Indian subcontinent. The version that the Persians said was Hindus and this got converted to Indus in Latin. So really, Hinduism is the term for the cultural and religious practices of people beyond the Indus River. The India really comes from this same root.
Indus is where India comes from, but Indus comes from Hindus, which comes from Sindhu and these are all related to the word Hindu. And, you can see that very clearly in the Persian version. Now, as I mentioned, there's many different practices in Hinduism, many different traditions, many different rituals in Hinduism, but I'm going to try to focus in on what could be considered the spiritual core. This Self is Supreme. And beyond is Brahman, who is omnipresent and without attributes.
Atman | Hindu philosophy | catchsomeair.us
While the basis of Atman is reality, permanence and Bliss, the nature of ego is illusion, impermanence and suffering. The ego of a living being is permanently soaked in ignorance and gloom and needs to be rescued from eternal doom and damnation by the indwelling Atman. The ego is a false reflection of it. The Katha Upanishad explains the relative status of the two selves in this manner, "There are two selves, the separate ego and the indivisible Atman.
When one raises above I, me and mine, the Atman reveals Itself as the real Self. The former eats the sweet and sour fruits of life, while the later looks on with detachment. The senses are said to be the horses and selfish desires are the roads by which they travel.
When the Self is confused with the body, the mind and the senses, they say that he appears to enjoy pleasures and suffer from sorrow. Nor do we know how to understand it or preach it. It can be attained only by those whom the Self chooses. In the Kena Upanishad the problem is further explained and the way to reach Atman is also suggested, "The ignorant one thinks that the Self can be known by the intellect, but the enlightened one knows that He is beyond the duality of the knower and the known.
The idea which is implied or suggested in the Upanishads is that Atman cannot be realized by ordinary consciousness, when the senses are active and when the mind is unstable, and buddhi, intelligence, is under the influence of desires, delusion and duality, which interfere with the process of knowing and the discernment of truth and right knowledge. There cannot be an experience of Atman when there is the gulf of "knowing" between the knower and the known.
He who knows It as an objectknows It not really. The mind and the senses stand between the two polarities of the knower and the known, or the subject and object. They prevent the being from knowing and realizing Atman as its very Self.
Hinduism: core ideas of Brahman, Atman, Samsara and Moksha.
The mind is an imperfect instrument with an inherent inability to understand and discern Atman. His intelligence cannot reveal the Self to him, beyond its duality of subject and object.
What is the solution, or the process by which Atman becomes self-evident? The Upanishads are clear.
He also adds, "This awakening which you have known comes not through logic and scholarship, but from close association with a realized teacher. The self can be attained by only those who the Self chooses. Dharma Dharma Dharma is an important term in Indian religions. In Hinduism it means 'duty', 'virtue', 'morality', even 'religion' and it refers to the power which upholds the universe and society. Hindus generally believe that dharma was revealed in the Vedas although a more common word there for 'universal law' or 'righteousness' is rita.
Dharma is the power that maintains society, it makes the grass grow, the sun shine, and makes us moral people or rather gives humans the opportunity to act virtuously.
But acting virtuously does not mean precisely the same for everyone; different people have different obligations and duties according to their age, gender, and social position. Dharma is universal but it is also particular and operates within concrete circumstances.
Each person therefore has their own dharma known as sva-dharma. What is correct for a woman might not be for a man or what is correct for an adult might not be for a child. The importance of sva-dharma is illustrated well by the Bhagavad Gita.
This text, set before the great battle of the Mahabharata, depicts the hero Arjuna riding in his chariot driven by his charioteer Krishna between the great armies.
The warrior Arjuna questions Krishna about why he should fight in the battle. Surely, he asks, killing one's relatives and teachers is wrong and so he refuses to fight. Krishna assures him that this particular battle is righteous and he must fight as his duty or dharma as a warrior. Arjuna's sva-dharma was to fight in the battle because he was a warrior, but he must fight with detachment from the results of his actions and within the rules of the warriors' dharma.
Indeed, not to act according to one's own dharma is wrong and called adharma. Correct action in accordance with dharma is also understood as service to humanity and to God.
The idea of what has become known as sanatana dharma can be traced back to the puranas - texts of antiquity. Those who adhere to this idea of one's eternal dharma or constitution, claim that it transcends other mundane dharmas - that it is the para dharma, the ultimate dharma of the self. It is often associated with bhakti movements, who link an attitude of eternal service to a personal deity.
Now exhibited in the Horniman Museum, London. This is called varnashrama-dharma. In Hindu history the highest class, the Brahmins, adhered to this doctrine. The class system is a model or ideal of social order that first occurs in the oldest Hindu text, the Rig Veda and the present-day caste jati system may be rooted in this.
The four classes are: Brahmans or Brahmins - the intellectuals and the priestly class who perform religious rituals Kshatriya nobles or warriors - who traditionally had power Vaishyas commoners or merchants - ordinary people who produce, farm, trade and earn a living Shudras workers - who traditionally served the higher classes, including labourers, artists, musicians, and clerks People in the top three classes are known as 'twice born' because they have been born from the womb and secondly through initiation in which boys receive a sacred thread as a symbol of their high status.
Although usually considered an initiation for males it must be noted that there are examples of exceptions to this rule, where females receive this initiation. The twice born traditionally could go through four stages of life or ashramas.
The ashrama system is as follows: Brahmacarya - 'celibate student' stage in which males learned the Veda grihastha - 'householder' in which the twice born male can experience the human purposes purushartha of responsibility, wealth, and sexual pleasure Vanaprastha - 'hermit' or 'wilderness dweller' in which the twice born male retires from life in the world to take up pilgrimage and religious observances along with his wife Samnyasa - 'renunciation' in which the twice born gives up the world, takes on a saffron robe or, in some sects, goes naked, with a bowl and a staff to seek moksha liberation or develop devotion Correct action in accordance with dharma is also understood as service to humanity and to God.
The idea of what has become known as sanatana dharma can be traced back to the puranas.