Last Updated: July 27, 2017

Definition - What does Aham mean?

Aham is a Sanskrit term which means "self" or "I." Aham Brahmasmi is a popular saying used in the Upanishads, the ancient philosophical texts of Hinduism. With Brahmasmi referring to Brahman, or the Absolute Reality, the saying may be translated to mean "I am Brahman."

Yogapedia explains Aham

Aham Brahmasmi is one of the four mahavakyas, meaning "great sayings" of the Upanishads.

Depending on where it is applied, aham may allude to a real ego or a false ego. While the real ego refers to the understanding of Self as a spiritual being, the false ego refers to thinking of oneself as a material body, which is temporary.

When aham is used with kara, which means "created thing," as in ahamkara, it refers to the human ego. Such ego is called the false ego.

When aham is used in the saying, Aham Brahmasmi, it refers to the real ego as it is an expression of Self-realization.

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