or atma is important in all branches of Hinduism

The soul, or atma is essential in most branches of Hinduism. The soul is referred to as being eternal, blissful within the Bhagavad-gita by Lord Krishna.

The atma refers to an individual soul that’s sometimes called "the self" and Hindus believe that all living entities possess a soul. Based on the Bhagavad-gita each atma is eternal: "it was never created and can never perish," the soul is distinct from both mind and the body. Consciousness is really a characteristic of the soul, as the body with no soul is lifeless. Concepts of karma and reincarnation are integral to understanding the soul.

The Soul's Connection with Karma

The soul is referred to as eternal truth, consciousness and bliss. In Hinduism the law of karma is important in which the soul leaves your body like casting off old clothes. A brand new is given according to ones karma – a persons thoughts, deeds and actions. A soul reincarnates until it realizes God and attains liberation or moksha. Hindu scriptures describe that the God-realized guru is needed to attain God.

As the soul migrates in one body to another, he suffers the actions and reactions of his past activities. These activities could be changed when one is in the mode of goodness, and dedicates their actions to God. The physical is likened to a vehicle for that soul. A car cannot move without a driver; your body won’t work without the soul. If the soul identifies with the body he then becomes distressed, as looking after the body alone cannot fulfill the soul.

The Bhagavad-gita's Description from the Soul

The Bhagavad-gita is among the most important scriptures for Hindus. Inside it Lord Krishna explained that each living entity is definitely an individual soul, and though the body changes continuously every moment the soul stays the same. For example the body manifests as a baby, child, youth, and an old man. Yet the same person is there, and doesn’t undergo any change: "For that soul there is neither birth nor death anytime. He’s not enter into being, does not come into being, and will not enter into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He isn’t slain when the is slain" Bhagavad-gita 2.20.

The illustration of the sun’s rays and also the sunshine is given to describe the soul's position. As the sun can be found in one place illuminates the whole universe; a spirit soul, although within the heart is illuminating the entire body with consciousness. The consciousness of the individual soul, although same in quality as God, isn’t supreme, because the consciousness of the soul is restricted to one's own body. But the paramatma or super-soul can be found in most bodies because the friend of the baby soul, and is alert to all entities. This super-soul is a witness of all of the soul's activities and a partial expansion of God's supreme consciousness.

Many are confused through the position of the soul, super-soul and God in Hinduism. Some think that everyone is God, however the Bhagavad-gita explains that souls are individual parts of the Supreme. They are same in quality but smaller in quantity, and therefore liable to being taught in illusion of fabric energy.

More about this topic

    Krishna- The Supreme Personality of GodheadThe Bhagavad GitaQuotes In the Bhagavad Gita

    Sources:

    BBC.co.uk. Hinduism instantly (Accessed August 2, 2011).

    Hinduism.iskcon.org. Atman: The Soul, The actual Self (Accessed February 29, 2012).

    Vedabase.com. Bg 2.17 (Accessed February 29, 2012).

    Vedabase.com. Bg 2.20 (Accessed February 29, 2012).

    Vedabase.com. Bg 13.34 (Accessed February 29, 2012).

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