Paramatman

In Hindu theology, Paramatman or Paramātmā is the Absolute Atman or Supreme Soul or Spirit (also known as "Supersoul" or "Oversoul") in the Vedanta and Yoga philosophies of India. Paramatman is one of the aspects of Brahman. Paramatman is situated in the heart of every individual jiva in the macrocosm. Rigveda and Upanishads compare Atman and Paramatman to two birds sitting like friends on a tree (body). Atman eats its fruits (karma), and Paramatman only observes as a witness (sākṣin) of the friend's actions.

Etymology

The word stem "paramātman" (परमात्मन्, pronounced IPA| [pərəmaːtmən] , its nominative singular being "paramātmā" — परमात्मा, pronounced IPA| [pərəmaːtmaː] ) is formed from two words, "param", meaning "supreme" or "highest", and "ātman", which means individual spirit or soul or self.

Description in Vedas and Upanishads

The relationship between Paramātmā and Atman is likened to the indwelling God and the soul within one's heart like two birds on a tree.

Two birds with fair wings, knit with bonds of friendship, in the same sheltering tree have found a refuge.One of the twain eats the sweet fig tree's fruitage; the other eating not regardeth only. (Rig Veda 1.164.20) [ [http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv01164.htm Rig Veda 1.164.20-22] ]

Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the individual self and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the selfsame tree. The former tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree; the latter, tasting of neither, calmly observes. (Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.1) [ [http://www.atmajyoti.org/up_katha_upanishad_16.asp Commentaries on Upanishads] ]

They are two birds, close companions, clasping the same tree. Of the two, one eats sweet fruit; the other looks on without eating. On this same tree a person, sunk and grieving in slavery, is deluded, but upon observing the Lord happy and great, becomes free of sorrow. ((Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.7)) [ [http://krishnascience.com/Vaisnava%20Library/Devotion%20-%20shastras/Upanisadas/Upanisadas/Shvetashvatara%20upanishad.htm Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.7] ]

The Supreme Being that dwells in our heart is dearer to us than even our children, wealth and everything else. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.8)

Madhuvidyā of Brihad-Âranyaka further declares - "Paramātmā Sri Bhagavān is the sweetness in everything".

Advaita

In Advaita philosophy, individual souls are called Jīvātman, and the Highest Brahman is called Paramātman. The Jivatman and the Paramatman are known to be one and the same when the Jivatman attains the true knowledge of the Brahman (Skt. "Brahmajñāna") . In the context of Advaita, the word Paramatman is invariably used to refer to Nirguna Brahman, with Ishvara and Bhagavan being terms used to refer to Brahman with qualities, or Saguna Brahman.

Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma, or Bhagavan. [ [http://vedabase.net/sb/1/2/11/en Bhagavata Purana 1.2.11] ]

The word invariably conjures the concept of an infinite, non-corporeal God in a monotheistic sense, even though Bhagavan or Ishvara may be applied as epithets to many divine forms of God worshiped by Hindus.

Vaishnavism

Paramatman is beyond knowledge and ignorance, devoid of all material attributes (upadhi). In Chapter 13 of the Bhagavad Gita, Paramatman is described as Vishnu residing in the hearts of all beings and in every atom of matter. He is the overseer and the permitter of their actions. [ [http://vedabase.net/bg/13/23/en Bhagavad Gita 13.23] ] [ [http://vedabase.net/sb/7/14/38/en Bhagavata Purana 7.14.38] ] Paramatman is different from five elements (pancha mahabhutas), the senses, mind, pradhana and jiva. [ [http://vedabase.net/sb/3/28/41/en Bhagavata Purana 3.28.41] ]

Vaishnava sects hold that attaining knowledge or Brahman and identification of Atman with Brahman as an intermediate stage of self-realization, and only Bhakti Yoga can lead to the next step of Paramatman realization as the indwelling God, ultimately leading up to liberation (Mukti) by God-realization.

Other Connotations

Some, like the sect of Brahma Kumaris, like to visualize Paramatman as a point of light Fact|date=February 2007. Paramatman is also referrred to as "the divine self" in modern literature. Compare with the Inuit deity Silla and Ralph Waldo Emerson's idea of the "Over-soul".

ee also

*Names of God
*Tree of Jiva and Atman
*Over-soul

References

External links

* [http://www.vedabase.net/p/paramatma Usage of the term Paramatma in Puranic and Gaudiya Vaishnava literature]


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