Last Updated: October 21, 2018

Definition - What does Atman mean?

Atman is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as “self” or “breath.” It is a word that is used in Hinduism to describe the concept of the inner Self.

Each person’s Atman is regarded as being a part of the universal Brahman, which is the eternal Truth or the absolute Universal Principle.

For yoga practitioners, increasing self-awareness and self-knowledge through meditation can lead to the revelation of the inner Self through time and practice.

Yogapedia explains Atman

In Hinduism, Atman is seen as being the true Self or Essence of a person. To achieve liberation, they have to reach the level of self-knowledge that allows their Atman to become the same as the Brahman.

In Buddhism, there is no concept of the inner Self in Buddhism; although, the word is sometimes used to refer to an Absolute rather than to an individual’s own Self.

Upon death, it is believed a person’s Atman either goes with them to their new life, or it reaches moksha and is freed from the constraints of the death and rebirth cycle. This latter event only occurs when the person understands that their Atman is identical to the Brahman.

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