What Bhagavad Gita says about soul (atma / atman)

Namaste friends, how are your doing today? Bhagavan Sri Vishnu blessings to you and your family!

Sanatana Dharma teachings are built on the premise that there is a fundamental difference between Atman (individual soul, self) and the Paramatman (Brahman / ultimate reality / Bhagavan Sri Vishnu).

How can an ordinary atman (living being) be equal to Paramatman. This is completely illogical!

These are two different unchanging realities, with individual atma (Atman) dependent on Paramatman (Brahman / ultimate reality / Bhagavan Sri Vishnu) are never identical.

Atma (Atman) is different and Paramatman is different. Paramatman is the knower of anything and everything. Atman is mere jeevatma (living being) who is completely dependent on Paramatman.

As per all the Shastras of the Hinduism, only Bhagavan Sri Vishnu is the Paramatman / Brahman, while all the other individual atmans are completely different and dependent on Bhagavan Sri Vishnu and off course there exists a huge pluralities.

In Hinduism an ‘atma’ (Divine soul) has auspicious meaning. ‘Atma’ is something which never dies. In Hinduism only body dies and ‘atma’ lives until the ‘ananta kalam’ (Grand infinite period / eternity).

As said in Hinduism, the ‘atma’ enters into another body. This is called as reincarnation.

Let us consider a shloka from the Bhagavad Gita:

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि |
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही || 2-22||

ವಾಸಾಂಸಿ ಜೀರ್ಣಾನಿ ಯಥಾ ವಿಹಾಯ ನವಾನಿ ಗೃಹ್ಣಾತಿ ನರೋ‌உಪರಾಣಿ |
ತಥಾ ಶರೀರಾಣಿ ವಿಹಾಯ ಜೀರ್ಣಾನ್ಯನ್ಯಾನಿ ಸಂಯಾತಿ ನವಾನಿ ದೇಹೀ || 2-22 ||

vāsānsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya navāni gṛihṇāti naro ’parāṇi |
tathā śharīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇānya nyāni sanyāti navāni dehī || 2-22 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

vāsānsi = garments; jīrṇāni = old and worn out; yathā = as it is; vihāya = giving up; navāni = new garments; gṛihṇāti = does accept; naro = a man; ’parāṇi = other; tathā = in the same way; śharīrāṇi = bodies;

vihāya = giving up; jīrṇānya = old and useless; anyāni = different; sanyāti = verily accepts; navāni = new sets; dehī = the embodied.

Translation: As a person gives-up the worn-out garments and wears new garments, similarly, at the time of death, the ‘atma’ (Divine soul) leaves the worn-out body and enters a new one body.

This very clearly shows that, there is no end to an ‘atma’ (Divine soul) and only body dies and not the ‘atma’ (Divine soul) as per the great Bhagavad Gita (Hinduism).

Let us consider another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

शरीरं यदवाप्नोति यच्चाप्युत्क्रामतीश्वर: |
गृहीत्वैतानि संयाति वायुर्गन्धानिवाशयात् || 15-8 ||

ಶರೀರಂ ಯದವಾಪ್ನೋತಿ ಯಚ್ಚಾಪ್ಯುತ್ಕ್ರಾಮತೀಶ್ವರಃ |
ಗೃಹೀತ್ವೈತಾನಿ ಸಂಯಾತಿ ವಾಯುರ್ಗಂಧಾನಿವಾಶಯಾತ್ || 15-8 ||

śharīraṁ yad avāpnoti yach chāpi utkrāmatīśhvaraḥ |
gṛihītvaitāni sanyāti vāyur gandhān ivāśhayāt || 15-8 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

śharīraṁ = body; yad = as much as; avāpnoti = gets; yach = that which; cha = also; api = virtually; utkrāmatī = gives up; isvarah = the lord of the body;

gṛihītva = taking; etāni = all these; sanyāti = goes away; vāyur = air; gandhān = smell; iva = like; aśhayāt—from the flower.

Translation: As the air carries gandha / divine aroma from one place to another place, similarly when ‘atma’ (Divine soul) leaves an old body and enters a new one the embodied ‘atma’ (Divine soul) carry the mind and senses with it.

This again very clearly shows that only body dies and atma further does it’s job, that is, carries the mind and senses.

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम् ।
विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्चित्कर्तुमर्हति ॥ 2-17 ॥

ಅವಿನಾಶಿ ತು ತದ್ವಿದ್ಧಿ ಯೇನ ಸರ್ವಮಿದಂ ತತಮ್ |
ವಿನಾಶಮವ್ಯಯಸ್ಯಾಸ್ಯ ನ ಕಶ್ಚಿತ್ಕರ್ತುಮರ್ಹತಿ || 2-17 ||

avināśi tu tadvid’dhi yēna sarvamidaṁ tatam |
vināśam avyayasyāsya na kaścitkartumar’hati || 2-17 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

avināśi = can’t be destroyed; tu = but; tad = that; vid’dhi = know it; yēna = by whom; sarvam = all of the body; idaṁ = this; tatam = widespread; vināśam = destruction;

avyayasya = of the imperishable; asya = of it; na kaścit = no one; kartum = to do; ar’hati = able.

Translation: O Arjuna (Not given in this shloka, but said to Arjuna), you should know that which pervades the entire body can’t be destroyed. No one is able to destroy the everlasting ‘atma’ (Divine soul).

Again, it is very clear that, ‘atma’ (Divine soul) is everlasting and can’t be destroyed by anyone.

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

देहिनो‌உस्मिन्यथा देहे कौमारं यौवनं जरा ।
तथा देहान्तरप्राप्तिर्धीरस्तत्र न मुह्यति ॥ 2-13 ॥

ದೇಹಿನೋ‌உಸ್ಮಿನ್ಯಥಾ ದೇಹೇ ಕೌಮಾರಂ ಯೌವನಂ ಜರಾ |
ತಥಾ ದೇಹಾಂತರಪ್ರಾಪ್ತಿರ್ಧೀರಸ್ತತ್ರ ನ ಮುಹ್ಯತಿ || 2-13 ||

dēhinō‌usmin’yathā dēhē kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā |
tathā dēhāntara prāptirdhīrastatra na muhyati || 2-13 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

dēhinō‌u = of the embodied; asmin = in this; yathā = as; dēhē = in the body; kaumāraṁ = adolescence; yauvanaṁ = youth; jarā = old age; tathā = similarly;

dēhāntara = transference of the body; prāpti = achievement; dhīrah = the sober; tatra = thereupon; na = never; muhyati = deluded.

Translation: As the embodied ‘atma’ (Divine soul) continually passes in this body, from adolescence to youth to old age, the ‘atma’ (Divine soul) similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized ‘atma’ is not baffled by such a change.

 

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

अन्तवन्त इमे देहा नित्यस्योक्ताः शरीरिणः ।
अनाशिनो‌உप्रमेयस्य तस्माद्युध्यस्व भारत ॥ 2-18 ॥

ಅಂತವಂತ ಇಮೇ ದೇಹಾ ನಿತ್ಯಸ್ಯೋಕ್ತಾಃ ಶರೀರಿಣಃ |
ಅನಾಶಿನೋ‌உಪ್ರಮೇಯಸ್ಯ ತಸ್ಮಾದ್ಯುಧ್ಯಸ್ವ ಭಾರತ || 2-18 ||

antavanta imē dēhā nityasyōktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ |
anāśinō‌upramēyasya tasmād yudhyasva bhārata || 2-18 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

antavanta = perishable; imē = all these; dēhā = material bodies; nityasya = eternal in existence; uktah = it is so said; śarīriṇaḥ = the embodied souls;

anāśinah = never to be destroyed; apramēyasya = immeasurable; tasmād = therefore; yudhyasva = fight; bhārata = O descendant of great Bharata.

Translation: Only the material body of the indestructible, incalculable and eternal living entity is subject to destruction; therefore, O descendant of great Bharata, fight now.

This again very clearly shows that, only body is destroyed and not the ‘atma’.

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचिन्नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः ।
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतो‌உयं पुराणो न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ॥ 2-20 ॥

ನ ಜಾಯತೇ ಮ್ರಿಯತೇ ವಾ ಕದಾಚಿನ್ನಾಯಂ ಭೂತ್ವಾ ಭವಿತಾ ವಾ ನ ಭೂಯಃ |
ಅಜೋ ನಿತ್ಯಃ ಶಾಶ್ವತೋ‌உಯಂ ಪುರಾಣೋ ನ ಹನ್ಯತೇ ಹನ್ಯಮಾನೇ ಶರೀರೇ || 2-20 ||

na jāyatē mriyatē vā kadācinnāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ |
ajō nityaḥ śāśvatō‌uyaṁ purāṇō na han’yatē han’yamānē śarīrē || 2-20 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

na = never; jāyatē = takes birth; mriyatē = never dies; vā = either; kadācit = at any time (past, present or future); na = never; ayam = this; bhūtvā = came into being; bhavitā = will come to be; vā = or; na = not;

bhūyaḥ = or has come to be; ajō = unborn; nityah = eternal; śāśvatah—permanent; ayaṁ = this; purāṇō = the oldest; na = never; han’yatē = is killed; han’yamānē = being killed; śarīrē = by the body.

Translation: For the ‘atma’, there is neither birth nor death. Similarly, nor having once been, does he ever cease to be. He (His atma) is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

वेदाविनाशिनं नित्यं य एनमजमव्ययम् ।
अथं स पुरुषः पार्थ कं घातयति हन्ति कम् ॥ 2-21॥

ವೇದಾವಿನಾಶಿನಂ ನಿತ್ಯಂ ಯ ಏನಮಜಮವ್ಯಯಮ್ |
ಅಥಂ ಸ ಪುರುಷಃ ಪಾರ್ಥ ಕಂ ಘಾತಯತಿ ಹಂತಿ ಕಮ್ || 2-21||

vēdāvināśinaṁ nityaṁ ya ēnam ajam avyayam |
athaṁ sa puruṣaḥ pārtha kaṁ ghātayati hanti kam || 2-21||

Meaning of the above shloka:

vēda = in knowledge; vināśinaṁ = indestructible; nityaṁ = always; ya = one who; ēnam = this (soul); ajam = unborn; avyayam = immutable; athaṁ = how; sa = he; puruṣaḥ = person;

pārtha = O Partha (Son of Pritha / Kunti, that is, Arjuna); kaṁ = whom; ghātayati = hurts; hanti = kills; kam = whom.

Translation: O Partha (Son of Pritha / Kunti, that is, Arjuna), how can a person who knows that the atma is indestructible, unborn, eternal and immutable, kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः ।
न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुतः ॥ 2-23 ॥

ನೈನಂ ಛಿಂದಂತಿ ಶಸ್ತ್ರಾಣಿ ನೈನಂ ದಹತಿ ಪಾವಕಃ |
ನ ಚೈನಂ ಕ್ಲೇದಯಂತ್ಯಾಪೋ ನ ಶೋಷಯತಿ ಮಾರುತಃ || 2-23 ||

nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ |
na cainaṁ klēdayantyāpō na śōṣayati mārutaḥ || 2-23 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

nainaṁ = never unto this atma; chindanti = can cut into pieces; śastrāṇi = all weapons; nainaṁ = never unto this atma; dahati= burns; pāvakaḥ = fire; na = never;

cainaṁ = also unto this atma; klēdayanti = moistens; āpō = water; na = never; śōṣayati = dries; mārutaḥ = wind.

Translation: An atma can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

अच्छेद्यो‌உयमदाह्यो‌உयमक्लेद्यो‌உशोष्य एव च ।
नित्यः सर्वगतः स्थाणुरचलो‌உयं सनातनः ॥ 2-24 ॥

ಅಚ್ಛೇದ್ಯೋ‌உಯಮದಾಹ್ಯೋ‌உಯಮಕ್ಲೇದ್ಯೋ‌உಶೋಷ್ಯ ಏವ ಚ |
ನಿತ್ಯಃ ಸರ್ವಗತಃ ಸ್ಥಾಣುರಚಲೋ‌உಯಂ ಸನಾತನಃ || 2-24 ||

acchēdyō‌uyamadāhyō‌uyamaklēdyō‌uśōṣya ēva ca |
nityaḥ sarvagataḥ sthāṇuracalō‌uyaṁ sanātanaḥ || 2-24 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

acchēdyah = unbreakable; ayam= this atma; adāhyah = cannot be burned; ayam = this atma; aklēdyah = insoluble; aśōṣyah = cannot be dried; ēva = certainly; ca = and; nityah = everlasting;

sarvagataḥ = all-pervading; sthānuh = unchangeable; acalah = immovable; ayam = this soul; sanātanah = eternally the same.

Translation: This individual atma is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither be burned nor be dried. He (One’s atma) is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable and at the the same time eternal.

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

अव्यक्तो‌உयमचिन्त्यो‌உयमविकार्यो‌உयमुच्यते ।
तस्मादेवं विदित्वैनं नानुशोचितुमर्हसि ॥ 2-25 ॥

ಅವ್ಯಕ್ತೋ‌உಯಮಚಿಂತ್ಯೋ‌உಯಮವಿಕಾರ್ಯೋ‌உಯಮುಚ್ಯತೇ |
ತಸ್ಮಾದೇವಂ ವಿದಿತ್ವೈನಂ ನಾನುಶೋಚಿತುಮರ್ಹಸಿ || 2-25 ||

avyaktō‌uyamacintyō‌uyam avikāryō‌uyam ucyatē |
tasmād ēvaṁ viditvainaṁ nānuśōcitum ar’hasi || 2-25 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

avyaktah = invisible; ayam = this atma; acintyah = inconceivable; ayam = this atma; avikāryah = unchangeable; ayam = this atma; ucyatē = is said; tasmād = therefore;

evam = like this; viditvainaṁ = knowing it well + this atma; na = do not; anuśōcitum—may lament over; ar’hasi = you deserve.

Translation: It is said that the atma is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you (Arjuna) should not grieve for the body.

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

अथ चैनं नित्यजातं नित्यं वा मन्यसे मृतम् ।
तथापि त्वं महाबाहो नैवं शोचितुमर्हसि ॥ 2-26 ॥

ಅಥ ಚೈನಂ ನಿತ್ಯಜಾತಂ ನಿತ್ಯಂ ವಾ ಮನ್ಯಸೇ ಮೃತಮ್ |
ತಥಾಪಿ ತ್ವಂ ಮಹಾಬಾಹೋ ನೈವಂ ಶೋಚಿತುಮರ್ಹಸಿ || 2-26 ||

atha cainaṁ nityajātaṁ nityaṁ vā man’yasē mr̥tam |
tathāpi tvaṁ mahābāhō naivaṁ śōcitum ar’hasi || 2-26 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

atha = if, however; cainaṁ = also this soul; nityajātaṁ = always born; nityaṁ = forever; vā = either; man’yasē = so think; mr̥tam = dead;

tathāpi = still; tvaṁ = you; mahābāhō = O mighty-armed one (Arjuna); naivaṁ = never about the atma; śōcitum = to lament; ar’hasi = deserve.

Translation: If and however, you think that the atma is perpetually born and always dies, still you have no reason to lament, O mighty armed (Arjuna).

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च ।
तस्मादपरिहार्ये‌உर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ॥ 2-27 ॥

ಜಾತಸ್ಯ ಹಿ ಧ್ರುವೋ ಮೃತ್ಯುರ್ಧ್ರುವಂ ಜನ್ಮ ಮೃತಸ್ಯ ಚ |
ತಸ್ಮಾದಪರಿಹಾರ್ಯೇ‌உರ್ಥೇ ನ ತ್ವಂ ಶೋಚಿತುಮರ್ಹಸಿ || 2-27 ||

jātasya hi dhruvō mr̥tyurdhruvaṁ janma mr̥tasya ca |
tasmād aparihāryē‌urthē na tvaṁ śōcitum ar’hasi || 2-27 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

jātasya = one who has taken his birth; hi—certainly; dhruvō = a fact; mrtyuh = death; dhruvaṁ = it is also a fact; janma—birth; mr̥tasya = of the dead; ca = also;

tasmād = therefore; aparihārye = for that which is unavoidable; arthe = in the matter of; na = do not; tvaṁ = you; śōcitum = to lament; ar’hasi = deserve.

Translation: For the one who has taken his birth, death is definite; and for one who is dead, birth is also definite. Thus, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you (Arjuna) should not lament.

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

आश्चर्यवत्पश्यति कश्चिदेनमाश्चर्यवद्वदति तथैव चान्यः ।
आश्चर्यवच्चैनमन्यः शृणोति श्रुत्वाप्येनं वेद न चैव कश्चित् ॥ 2-29 ॥

ಆಶ್ಚರ್ಯವತ್ಪಶ್ಯತಿ ಕಶ್ಚಿದೇನಮಾಶ್ಚರ್ಯವದ್ವದತಿ ತಥೈವ ಚಾನ್ಯಃ |
ಆಶ್ಚರ್ಯವಚ್ಚೈನಮನ್ಯಃ ಶೃಣೋತಿ ಶ್ರುತ್ವಾಪ್ಯೇನಂ ವೇದ ನ ಚೈವ ಕಶ್ಚಿತ್ || 2-29 ||

āścaryavat paśyati kaścid ēnamāścaryavad vadati tathaiva cān’yaḥ |
āścaryavaccainam an’yaḥ śr̥ṇōti śrutvāpyēnaṁ vēda na caiva kaścit || 2-29 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

āścaryavat = amazing; paśyati = see; kaścid = some; enam = this atma; aścaryavat = amazing; vadati = speak; tatha = there; eva = certainly; ca = also; anyah = others;

āścaryavat = similarly amazing; ca = also; enam = this atma; an’yaḥ = others; śr̥ṇōti = hear; śrutva = having heard; api = even; enam = this atma; vēda = do know; na = never; ca = and; eva = certainly; kaścit = anyone.

Translation: Some look on the atma as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.

Another shloka from Bhagavad Gita:

इन्द्रियाणि पराण्याहुरिन्द्रियेभ्यः परं मनः ।
मनसस्तु परा बुद्धिर्यो बुद्धेः परतस्तु सः ॥ 3-42 ॥

ಇಂದ್ರಿಯಾಣಿ ಪರಾಣ್ಯಾಹುರಿಂದ್ರಿಯೇಭ್ಯಃ ಪರಂ ಮನಃ |
ಮನಸಸ್ತು ಪರಾ ಬುದ್ಧಿರ್ಯೋ ಬುದ್ಧೇಃ ಪರತಸ್ತು ಸಃ || 3-42 ||

indriyāṇi parāṇyāhurindriyēbhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ |
manasastu parā bud’dhiryō bud’dhēḥ paratastu saḥ || 3-42 ||

Meaning of the above shloka:

indriyani—senses; parani—superior; ahuh—is said; indriyebhyah—more than the senses; param—superior; manah—the mind;

manasah—more than the mind; tu—also; para—superior; buddhih—intelligence; yah—one which; buddheh—more than the intelligence; paratah—superior; tu—but; sah—he.

Translation: The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he (the atma) is even higher than the intelligence.

With the above explanations, it is very clear that in Hinduism we give very high importance to atma.

As per Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is concerned, we don’t not have any such kind of theory like the dead will rise again.

We the Sanatana Dharmis believe in reincarnation (A new life after the death).

In Hinduism it is said that the cycle of birth and death are governed as per ones Karmas.

The deceased individual may or may not take another birth based upon the Karma of his / her life.

(Here ‘may or may not’ is used as if someone has done the required good Karmas, he / she may get the Moksha / Mukti. If someone gets the Moksha / Mukti, then he / she will not take material birth, instead he / she will live in the Vaikuntha with Bhagavan Sri Vishnu.)

We Hindus always believe in Moksha (Divine liberation) as per the Hindu Shastras (As given in Hindu divine grantas / books).

Moksha / Mukti (Divine liberation) from the endless cycles of birth and death can happen if someone has done the required good Karmas.

For this reason, using RIP in Hinduism is not at all acceptable and we should always say, “Om Shanti” or simply “Let the atma get the required Sadgati”.

Here, Sadgati means required fate.

We as Hindus, should and always pray to Bhagavan Sri Vishnu, that may the soul get liberated from the cycle of life and death after the death. Thus we should use the word ‘sagdati’ here.

In Hinduism, if we tell RIP, actually we are praying for the soul to remain locked into a standstill position on Earth as it becomes ‘prētātma’ (प्रेतात्म / ಪ್ರೇತಾತ್ಮ ) / ‘Ghost’ / ‘Spirit’ etc. for eternity.

(Same theory is existing with the Islam also. They use the word ‘Rooh’ (الروح) instead of soul. Both meaning remain the same.)

Dear friends, for this reason in Hinduism there is no such kind of theory of RIP, but instead we have the rituals upto 13 days after death, so that the atma gets the required sadgati.

Thus, for 13 days the death’s family members persuade the atma every day with various invocations and offerings requesting it to leave this earth and move on to it’s next destination. This could be either reincarnation or liberation (Moksha).

By saying ‘Om Shanti’ and / or ‘Om Sadgati’, we evoke the atma to move on and not remain on earth.

More information will be added to this, please visit after some time.

To know more about Bhagavan Sri Narasimha, please visit the below link:

Bhagavan Sri Narasimha posts on Bhagavan Bhakthi website

To know more about Bhagavan Sri Vishnu, plase visit the below link:

Bhagavan Sri Vishnu posts on Bhagavan Bhakthi website

To know more about Bhagavan Sri Krishna, please visit the below link:

Bhagavan Sri Krishna posts on Bhagavan Bhakthi website

To know more about Bhagavan Sri Rama, please visit the below link:

Bhagavan Sri Rama posts on Bhagavan Bhakthi website

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NAMASTE!

Sri Gurubhyo Namaha

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Sri Krishnaarpanamastu

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