Atman & Paramatman

Does the spider have an atman? There is some energy that is animating the spider. It is not as sophisticated as the energy which is animating the human body. But, in both cases, it is some kind of energy, which we may call atman. So, atman is not the same thing as some human identity, or any other identity.

The concept of atman is not the same as the idea of “soul” in Christianity or in other Semitic religions. All those ideas are based on the human identity one has been attached to while living. So he wants the same identity to continue after death as “soul”.

Two ideas are psychologically deep-rooted in man: self-protection and self-preservation. For self-protection man has created God, on whom he depends for his own protection, safety and security, just as a child depends on its parent. For self-preservation man has conceived the idea of an immortal Soul, which will live eternally. In his ignorance, weakness, fear, and desire, man needs these two things to console himself. Hence he clings to them deeply and fanatically.

The objective view of PARAMATMAN and ATMAN is very different from the subjective view of God and Soul as described above because the psychological factors of self-protection and self-preservation are not there.

Bhakti Yoga starts out with the subjective view of God and Soul. On the other hand, Jnana Yoga seeks to obtain the objective view of PARAMATMAN and ATMAN directly.

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