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There are two philosophical books in Hinduism under the titles of “The Upanishads” and “The Bhagavad Gita”. These tractates are widely discussed by philosophers all over the world as they contain various controversial perceptions and descriptions of the nature of both human lives and their spiritual needs. The following paper will discuss the relationship between Atman and Brahman in “The Upanishads”, observe the tractate’s perspective regarding pantheism or panentheism, and explain differences between both higher and lower selves to prove that the teaching of the book is authentic and presents an original explanation of people’s nature.
Complex Relationship Between Atman And Brahman
How is the relationship between Atman and Brahman complex? To answer the given question, it would be proper to mention that the writing called “The Upanishads” identifies Brahman as a “Supreme Personality of Godhead”.1 In turn, Atman is described as an “Individual spirit soul”.2 The relation between the two terms is friendly as they complement each other. There can be no other physical or spiritual form of a being without a soul. The two elements can be perceived as two birds sitting together on a branch because one of them is enjoying its fruit (that is interpreted as an atomic individual soul). In turn, its companion is not eating the fruit because it must watch another bird control and guide its actions. “Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree, Intimate friends, the ego and the Self Dwell in the same body”.3 Indeed, the human soul is something that is responsible for all the deeds of the body. These two objects cannot exist without each other – just like plants cannot survive without water. Hence, the relationship between Atman and Brahman is complex because it is not always possible for a body to adhere to its soul’s principles.
The Upanishadic Worldview
In my estimates, the Upanishadic worldview results neither in pantheism nor panentheism because the teaching’s philosophy is not related to God. Moreover, it somewhat contradicts the meaning of God that is inherent in the terms of both pantheism and panentheism.4 Although the doctrine describes all the living creations on Earth as something supernatural and almighty, these terms are more related to Christianity where people do not focus on worshiping themselves. Instead, they make sacrifices of everything they have to the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
It appears that the Upanishadic teaching is focused on the explanation of this world’s nature and phenomena that influence people’s souls and their lifestyles. In turn, both pantheism and panentheism describe everything on Earth as God’s creations and miracles. Although there is a group of people that believe that these doctrines are interrelated, their initial ideas contradict each other’s worldviews.
The Difference Between The Lower And Higher Selves
According to the text of “The Upanishads”, it is obvious that the so-called higher and lower selves represent people’s genders. For instance, a higher self is an individual of the opposite gender that makes a first-person (lower self) happy and full of life energy5 Instead, when one prefers to stay with companions of the lower self (the same gender), they are likely to develop their knowledge and be joyful6 Hence, men are higher selves for women and vice versa. It is essential to spend more time with higher selves because only they can bring comfort and support to one’s life on Earth “The Self takes on a body with desires, Attachments, and delusions, and is Born again and again in new bodies To work out the karma of former lives”.7 This point makes it limpid that the doctrine of Hinduism emphasizes that all souls have genders. This is a unique approach because the majority of other religions contradict such a statement. Therefore, “The Upanishads” make people in Hinduism choose between both higher and lower selves that will influence particular emotions of the ones who choose. This philosophy also explains the vision of many people on certain sexual orientations.
Atman Is Brahman
Is the equation that Atman equals Brahman appropriate? To answer the question, it is necessary to recall that Atman is a person’s souls, whereas Brahman is known as a cosmic soul.8 Therefore, the statement means that the human soul represents the world soul (direct interpretation). Although this might sound somewhat confusing, it can be considered convincing because the actual meaning of the statement implies the belief that human beings are interrelated with supernatural powers9 Indeed, there are several religions that promote this worldview. However, no one is capable of proving or refuting it. It is important to understand that anything that is not palpable in this reality is connected to the spiritual world. Hence, I find the equation that Atman equals Brahman convincing.
Although I do not support a number of the Upanishadic views and explanations of different phenomena, the teaching contains some sound theories about the human soul and its intentions. It appears that the doctrine focuses on the explanation of an alternate reality and how it influences people’s lives on Earth. Nevertheless, these views do not support pantheism that is common in other religions and is focused on worshiping God. Instead, “The Upanishads” describe how individuals must develop their inner beings and souls.
Easwaran, Eknath. The Bhagavad Gita. 2nd ed. Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007.
Easwaran, Eknath. The Upanishads. 2nd ed. Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007.
- Eknath Easwaran, The Upanishads, 2nd ed. (Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007), 21.
- Eknath Easwaran, The Upanishads, 2nd ed. (Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007), 45.
- Eknath Easwaran, The Upanishads, 2nd ed. (Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007), 192.
- Eknath Easwaran, The Bhagavad Gita, 2nd ed. (Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007), 83.
- Eknath Easwaran, The Upanishads, 2nd ed. (Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007), 108.
- Eknath Easwaran, The Upanishads, 2nd ed. (Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007), 109.
- Eknath Easwaran, The Upanishads, 2nd ed. (Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007), 174.
- Eknath Easwaran, The Upanishads, 2nd ed. (Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007), 55.
- Eknath Easwaran, The Upanishads, 2nd ed. (Toronto, ON: Nilgiri Press, 2007), 56.