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Indian Vedic-Hindu Philosophy
The Atman which is Brahman

Indian Vedic-Hindu Philosophy & Doctrine
The Atman which is Brahman relationships

The original Vedas are the oldest sacred writings of the Hindus and are composed of spiritually focused poetry written in Sanskit between 2000-1000 B.C. The spirtually inspired poets who wrote these early Vedas often imply a one-ness with the Divine.

More recent Vedas are known as the Upanishads - a name implying sitting at the feet of a teacher - and are the Hindu sacred texts next in antiquity dating from circa 600 B.C. The Upanishads uphold views that maintain that people are capable of a profound interior spirituality.

It may be that Hinduism should more properly referred to as Vedanta, and that Indian philosophy should be more properly referred to as Vedic philosophy because of these roots in the Vedas.

A certain difficulty for people brought up in monotheistic faith based cultures, in relation to Hinduism and Vedic-Hindu doctrine, lies in the view that Vedic philosophy speaks of Mystical Union as being with "The Atman which is Brahman".

The relationships between Atman ~ being the "Self" ~ and Brahman ~ being the "World Soul" ~ are central to the religiously inspired world view of most Hindus:-
The Self which is free from sin, free from old age, from death and from grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires nothing but what it ought to desire, and imagines nothing but what it ought to imagine, that it is which we must search out, that it is which we must try to understand. He who has searched out that Self and understands it, obtains all worlds and all desires.

Khândogya-Upanishad 8.7.1



All this is Brahman. Let a man meditate on that (visible world) as beginning, ending, and breathing in it (the Brahman)...
...He is my self within the heart, smaller than a corn of rice, smaller than a corn of barley, smaller than a mustard seed, smaller than a canary seed or the kernel of a canary seed. He is also myself within the heart, greater than the earth, greater than the sky, greater than heaven, greater than all these worlds.

Khândogya-Upanishad 3.14 1, 3

A Shankara quotation relating to metaphysics
and The Atman which is Brahman

"The entire universe is truly the Self. There exists nothing at all other than the Self. The enlightened person sees everything in the world as his own Self, just as one views earthenware jars and pots as nothing but clay".



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Whilst Indian metaphysics ( aka Vedic metaphysics / Hindu metaphysics ), doctrine and philosophy hold that Brahman "is" the "World-Soul" such relationships are placed within broader perspectives by Vedic Philosophy further holding that this World Soul should itself be regarded as being the Three-in-One God known as the Trimurti.
Brahma-the Creator, Vishnu-the Preserver, and Shiva-the Destroyer, are all perceived as being aspects or manifestations of the One-ness which is Brahman.

Notwithstanding the view that Mystical Union is with the Atman which is Brahman several very remarkable spiritual teachers and guides who have appeared from time to time across the ages are considered, by the Vedic-Hindu tradition, to have been incarnations of the Lord Vishnu!!!

This may effectively provide something of a bridge towards traditionally monotheistic cultures which view Mystical Union as being purely spiritual rather than with existence in ALL its manifestations.

Please consider the following visualisation which may convey insight into ~ General Human Nature ~ as inherited, in-born, Human Potential:-

General Human Nature?

Diagram suggesting that Human Nature demonstrates a Spiritual, Materialistic and Tribal or Group-related 'Tripartism'

 

Explore Human Nature on our insightful
Human Nature - Tripartite Soul page


A celebrated American Man of Letters named Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that:-
"...man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
whose flower and fruitage is the world..."


If the graphic just presented can realistically be said to go some way towards helping to discern what might be called ~ Typically Humanly Natural ~ "Bundles of Relations and Knots of Roots" the following graphic may equally intimate similar three-directional truths about the "Human World" to which such "Bundles of Relations and Knots of Roots" could well tend to give rise by prompting people to feel, and to act, in ~ Typically Human ~ ways ("according to circumstances?"):-


Diagram suggesting that Human Societies often demonstrate capacities for Spiritual, Materialistic and Tribal / Ethnic 'Tripartism'

This view suggests that Societies themselves!!! have a Tripartite character.

"Whatever concept one may hold, from a metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its appearances, which are human actions, like every other natural event, are determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history, which is concerned with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment."
Immanuel Kant
Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View (1784)

Or to quote Emerson, from his famous Essay ~ History more fully:-
In old Rome the public roads beginning at the Forum proceeded north, south, east, west, to the centre of every province of the empire, making each market-town of Persia, Spain, and Britain pervious to the soldiers of the capital: so out of the human heart go, as it were, highways to the heart of every object in nature, to reduce it under the dominion of man. A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him, and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg presuppose air. He cannot live without a world.

In an essay entitled "The Over-Soul" Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that:-
"...The soul looketh steadily forwards, creating a world before her, leaving worlds behind her. She has no dates, nor rites, nor persons, nor specialties, nor men. The soul knows only the soul; the web of events is the flowing robe in which she is clothed. ..."



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That which is nearest is least observed. The Atman is the nearest of the near, therefore a careless and unsteady mind gets no clue to the Atman. But one who is alert, calm, self-restrained, and discriminating, ignores the external world and, diving more and more into the inner world, realizes the glory of the Atman and becomes great.

Vivekananda

Stand upon the Atman, then only can we truly love the world. Take a very, very high stand; knowing our universal nature, we must look with perfect calmness upon all the panorama of the world.

Vivekananda

This is the secret of spiritual life: to think that I am the Atman and not the body, and that the whole of this universe with all its relations, with all its good and all its evil, is but as a series of paintings - scenes on a canvas - of which I am the witness.

Vivekananda