BBC - Religions - Hinduism: Hindu concepts
Atman is defined in various ways, but with the same concept running throughout This term is variously derived from an, to breathe; at, to move; and va, .. the relationship between Atman and Brahman at the time of moksha is found again in . This article explains the Hindu concepts of Atman, Dharma, Varna, Karma, What is correct for a woman might not be for a man or what is correct for In Hindu history the highest class, the Brahmins, adhered to this doctrine. Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means inner self or soul. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the This is a major point of difference with the Buddhist doctrine of Anatta which holds that there is no unchanging soul or self. .. The Nyaya scholars defined Ātman as an imperceptible substance that is the substrate of human.
Within Mimamsa school, there was divergence of beliefs. The Upanishadic discussion of Atman, to them, was of secondary importance. Time and space are indivisible reality, but human mind prefers to divide them to comprehend past, present, future, relative place of other substances and beings, direction and its own coordinates in the universe.
John Plott  states that the Nyaya scholars developed a theory of negation that far exceeds Hegel 's theory of negationwhile their epistemological theories refined to "know the knower" at least equals Aristotle's sophistication. Nyaya methodology influenced all major schools of Hinduism.
One, they went beyond holding it as "self evident" and offered rational proofs, consistent with their epistemology, in their debates with Buddhists, that "Atman exists". It also states that soul is a real substance that can be inferred from certain signs, objectively perceivable attributes. Further, they both consider self-knowledge as the means of liberation, freedom and bliss. Yet none of this affects our real nature, the Atman. Maya can be compared to clouds which cover the sun: When the clouds disperse, we become aware that the sun has been there all the time.
Our clouds—maya appearing as egotism, selfishness, hatred, greed, lust, anger, ambition—are pushed away when we meditate upon our real nature, when we engage in unselfish action, and when we consistently act and think in ways that manifest our true nature: This mental purification drives away the clouds of maya and allows our divine nature to shine forth. Shankara, the great philosopher-sage of seventh-century India, used the example of the rope and the snake to illustrate the concept of maya.
Walking down a darkened road, a man sees a snake; his heart pounds, his pulse quickens. Once the delusion breaks, the snake vanishes forever. The purusharthas express an understanding of human nature, that people have different desires and purposes which are all legitimate in their context. Over the centuries there has been discussion about which goal was most important. Towards the end of the Mahabharata Shantiparvan Vidura claims that dharma is most important because through it the sages enter the absolute reality, on dharma the universe rests, and through dharma wealth is acquired.
One of the brothers, Arjuna, disagrees, claiming that dharma and pleasure rest on profit. Another brother, Bhima, argues for pleasure or desire being the most important goal, as only through desire have the sages attained liberation.
Ātman (Hinduism) - Wikipedia
This discussion recognises the complexity and varied nature of human purposes and meanings in life. Brahman and God Brahman Brahman is a Sanskrit word which refers to a transcendent power beyond the universe.
As such, it is sometimes translated as 'God' although the two concepts are not identical. Brahman is the power which upholds and supports everything. According to some Hindus this power is identified with the self atman while others regard it as distinct from the self. Most Hindus agree that Brahman pervades everything although they do not worship Brahman.
Some Hindus regard a particular deity or deities as manifestations of Brahman. God Most Hindus believe in God but what this means varies in different traditions. The Sanskrit words Bhagavan and Ishvara mean 'Lord' or 'God' and indicate an absolute reality who creates, sustains and destroys the universe over and over again.
It is too simplistic to define Hinduism as belief in many gods or 'polytheism'. Most Hindus believe in a Supreme God, whose qualities and forms are represented by the multitude of deities which emanate from him. God, being unlimited, can have unlimited forms and expressions. God can be approached in a number of ways and a devoted person can relate to God as a majestic king, as a parent figure, as a friend, as a child, as a beautiful woman, or even as a ferocious Goddess.
Each person can relate to God in a particular form, the ishta devata or desired form of God. Thus, one person might be drawn towards Shiva, another towards Krishna, and another towards Kali.
Many Hindus believe that all the different deities are aspects of a single, transcendent power. In the history of Hinduism, God is conceptualised in different ways, as an all knowing and all pervading spirit, as the creator and force within all beings, their 'inner controller' antaryamin and as wholly transcendent. There are two main ideas about Bhagavan or Ishvara: Bhagavan is an impersonal energy.
Ultimately God is beyond language and anything that can be said about God cannot capture the reality. Followers of the Advaita Vedanta tradition based on the teachings of Adi Shankara maintain that the soul and God are ultimately identical and liberation is achieved once this has been realised.
Brahman, The Highest God Of Hinduism
This teaching is called non-dualism or advaita because it claims there is no distinction between the soul and the ultimate reality. Bhagavan is a person. God can be understood as a supreme person with qualities of love and compassion towards creatures.
On this theistic view the soul remains distinct from the Lord even in liberation. The supreme Lord expresses himself through the many gods and goddesses. The theologian Ramanuja also in the wider Vedanta tradition as Shankara makes a distinction between the essence of God and his energies.
We can know the energies of God but not his essence.