Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Adhyatma Mean?

Adhyatma is a Sanskrit term that can be used to refer to the “highest self” or “highest soul.” It comes from the word, atma, which means “self,” and adhi, which means “above,” but can also be called “around it” or “beside it.”

In yogic philosophy, adhyatma is generally understood to mean the most personally transcendent, spiritual and highest aspect of the self. However, it can also be translated as “self-centered” or meaning one who refers a lot to themselves.


Yogapedia Explains Adhyatma

In the Bhagavad Gita, the adhyatma is used to refer to the “overself,” which is described as the way Brahman is manifest in the soul of all beings. Spiritually, in this sense, the whole universe is a manifestation of Brahman and as such, Adhyatma is both the highest self and the whole universe.

Some spiritual teachings state that because adhyatma can simultaneously refer to both the individual self and the cosmic Highest Self, the key to spiritual development is to practice focusing less on the individual and more on the Cosmic Self .

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