Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Prajnatma Mean?

Prajnatma is a term used in yogic and Hindu philosophy that means “the intelligent Self” or “I am the intelligent Self.” In this context, the Self refers to the person's soul or inner essence. The goal of yoga is union of the Self with the universal source, or the higher Self. In fact, “yoga” means “union.”

The term comes from the Sanskrit prajna, meaning “wise,” “intelligent” and “knowing,” and atma, which refers to the “self” or the “soul.”


Yogapedia Explains Prajnatma

Prajnatma is one of the Mahavakyas, the short phrases known as the Great Contemplations or Great Utterances from the Upanishads. The Mahavakyas are contemplated in meditation and prayer as a form of self-exploration. They are also chanted as mantras and are key tools used in the path of Jnana yoga.

The other main Mahavakyas include:

  • Aham Brahmasmi – “I am Brahman” or “I am divine”
  • Prajnanam Brahma – “Brahman is intelligence”
  • Tatvamasi – “You are that” or “I am that”
  • Ayamatma Brahma – “My Self is Brahman”
  • Isavasyam idam sarvam – “All this is enveloped by God”
  • Pranosmi – “I am breath”

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