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The Connection Between Atta and Dukkha
Buddhist Analysis of Human Experience and the Ways to Transcend Unsatisfactoriness

Bhikkhuni Dhammanandā
(Ven. Pham. T. Minh Hoa)

Colombo, Sri Lanka 2007

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Chapter II. ‘Soul’ Theories

We can not understand properly what is really meant by Buddhist Anatta if we isolate the concept from the Indian philosophical milieu, especially at the time of the emergence of Buddhism and its early development as a sect among many other systems of beliefs. In this chapter we will have a glimpse of the concept of the self, ‘soul’ (ātman or atta), personality and ego in different systems of belief, philosophy and psychology. To be more objective on the subject being discussed, the sources or materials quoted in this chapter will mostly taken from the corresponding texts and commentaries of each school of thoughts. However, when a parallel idea is recognized, a shift to Buddhist texts will be juxtaposed to see the matter in a historical comparative idea.

According to the philosophy of the Upaniṣads, Ātman or the Self is held in three dimensions as follows:

1. The corporal self – sārisātman;
2. The knower of the object, an entity that distinguished from object (individuality); and
3. The supreme soul, the objectless knowing subject.

In a general sense, the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being, that which confers individuality and humanity, is often considered as synonymous with the mind or the self in religion and philosophy. In theology, the soul is further defined as that part of the individual which partakes of divinity and often is considered to survive the death of the body.

Many cultures have recognized some immaterial principle of human life or existence corresponding to the soul, and many have attributed souls to all living things. There is evidence even among prehistoric peoples of a belief in an aspect distinct from the body and residing in it (panpsychism or animism)[2]. Despite widespread and longstanding belief in the existence of a soul, however, different religions and philosophers have developed a variety of theories as to its nature, its properties, its relationship to the body, its origin and its mortality.[3]

Among ancient peoples, both the Egyptians and the Chinese conceived of a dual soul. The Egyptian called it “ka”, meaning breath. It was said to have survived death but remained near the body, while the spiritual ‘ba’ proceeded to the region of the dead. The Indians also call living beings ‘prāṇa’ which means having breath. The Chinese distinguished between a lower, sensitive soul called ‘via’ which disappears with death, and a rational principle, ‘hun’, which survives death and is the object of ancestor worship. This belief exists even today in rural parts of China and Vietnam, and is the origin of ancestor worship in these countries.

We know that the Buddha was born in Northern India around the sixth century Before Common Era (BCE). At that time Indian civilization was highly developed, especially with reference to religion and philosophy. Two main traits of religious practice prevailing at that time were Brahmanism or Vedic tradition which is also considered orthodox, and Samaṇa tradition, the contemplative or ascetic practice which required their practitioners to renounce all worldly affairs. The Brahmanic tradition had started more than a thousand years before the emergence of Buddhism. It was degraded to mere rites and rituals and especially its scriptures (Vedas) were interpreted to serve the social division of the caste system which reinforced the privileges of Brahmins (priest class). The postulation of Ātman theory in the Upaniṣads, perhaps, only made matters worse. When people firmly believed that each sentient being has a soul or a permanent self, it was a natural tendency to struggle for the advantage of that individual soul; and its corollary is the selfishness and cruelty in man. Realizing this shortcoming of blind faith and the evil tendency in religious degeneration as well as the futility of speculation, the Buddha, the Enlightened One, advocated the Middle Way. His discovery was not an invention, but, as he claimed, an ancient path. His opposition to the Upanisadic concept of soul or self (ātman) is obviously a rebellion against authority and common beliefs not only of his time but even to the present day. What was the reason for his opposition, and what were his main new philosophy of life and his concept of religion for the masses?

In opposition to the sacrificial Vedic cult which legalized cruelty and stabilized caste, Buddha minimized the importance of the Vedic gods in spiritual matters and discountenanced all speculations about the future state of the soul; and to reinforce his teachings, he preached that the soul was only a transient aggregation of five factors- form, sensation, perception, predisposition and consciousness- which was dissolved at death. But he preached at the same time the inviolability of moral justice and the necessary of spiritual progress towards perfection in its intellectual and moral aspects.[4]

It seems, in intellectual speculations, the theme of the eternity and annihilability of the soul and the world prevailed (see Brahmajalasutta, D.I). In common religious practice, people performed sacrifices to please gods and to safeguard the self. There were dogmas that nobody contemporary with the Buddha had broken through. Moreover, contemporary with the emergence of Buddhism in this philosophical and social context, there were Jainism, a contemplative tradition which shared some similar beliefs and practices with Buddhism, and the Materialists whose philosophy advocated nihilism and hedonism. Whether it is an extreme asceticism (atta-kilamathanuyogo in Buddhist terms) as in the case of Jainas, or indulgence in sensual pleasures (kāmasukhallikanuyogo) as the materialists do, they are believers in the soul theory (āstika or ātmanvāda). The Middle Way emerges as a prudent device in this intellectual and social context.

I. Ātman, parātman or Brahma in Indian philosophy and religions

I. 1 Metaphysical Speculation

In this regard, we will start with the first speculation that springs from self-consciousness as recorded in the Upaniṣads:

In the beginning, the ātman alone in the form of a man was this universe. He gazed around; he saw nothing there but himself. Thereupon, he cried out at the beginning:-“It is I.’ Thence originated the name ‘I’. Thereupon, today if anyone is summoned, he answers first ‘It is I’; and then he names the other name which he bears. [Bṛih. 1.4.1]

The soul as postulated in the animistic theories held in North India in the 6th and 7th century B.C., is described in the Upaniṣads as a small creature, in shape like a man, dwelling ordinarily in the heart. It escapes from the body in sleep, when it returns to the body and life and motion reappear. It escapes from the body at death, and then continues to carry on an everlasting life of its own.[5]

The cessation of the distinction of subject and object as this is attained in deep sleep is rather an entrance into the fullest light, a personal identification with the supreme Spirit, which is the knowing subject in us is unaffected by any hange of organs or objects.[6]

Interpreted theologically, the soul (here ātman) is said to be the presence in the living being of a supreme deity, known generally as I's, Ì'sa or Ì'svara, and more particularly as Siva, Visnu or some other supreme deity according to the specific sectarian group.[7]

Living beings are called prāṇa or bhūta in Indian. Prāṇa literally means ‘having breath’. Sentient beings have breath as ‘life’ or ‘spirit’; bhūta comes from the root -bhū – which means ‘to be’[8], but in the Upaniṣads it is meant in a metaphysical sense termed ‘substance’ that is distinguished from the gross body, and is capable of leaving the body as a guest does his lodging:

As a man discards worn out clothes
And puts on others that are new,
The embodied being cast off bodies old,
Receiving others anew. (Gītā, ii, 22.)

The belief in rebirth, common in Indian culture, reinforced the belief in a substance that is imperishable at the disintegration of the body. In this concept, the soul was interpreted as having the same meaning as ‘manas’-mind[9], ‘prāṇa’-breath, ‘ātman’- self, and ‘asu’- vital force, ‘jīva’- life principle, saññā- perception or consciousness.[10]

The idea that there is a separate entity, immaterial but vital, with power over its body is expressed as:

The inner being of all things,
The one, controller
Who renders his own form many
The wise who perceives him in their self
They, and no others, have internal happiness
(Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad. 1, 2, 3).

The question what is that ‘inner being’ is a matter of many controversies among Indian thinkers. Is it Ātman, is it Manas, is it prāṇa, is it sat, is it Jīva, etc.? The question of inner being, the Atman, and its relation to universal consciousness, paramātman or Brahman, have bothered many seekers of the truth in India.

As we have seen above, Indian thinkers employed many terms to denote a principle that is inherent in man and how it relates to wholeness, the universe or the absolute, ultimate reality. Vedanta, the concluding part of Vedas, held that ātman exists not only in human beings, but in all animate bodies:

The Self is the Lord of all beings. As the spokes are held together in the hub and in the felly of a wheel, just so all beings, all creatures, all gods, all worlds, all lives, are held together in the Self.[11]

That which is subtle essence- in that has all beings their existence. That is the truth. That is the Self. And that, O Svetaketu, That art Thou.[12]

Formless is he, though inhabiting form. In the midst of the fleeting he abides forever. All pervading and supreme is the Self. The wise man, know him in his true nature, transcend all grieves.[13]

Words cannot reveal him. Mind is unable to reach him. The eyes do not see him. How then can he be comprehended save when taught by those seers who indeed have known him?[14]

The original meaning of Ātman is ‘breath’, a synonym for the word ‘prāṇa’. In the later development of Indian philosophy, it comes to mean a universal life-principle. In the Upaniṣads, Ātman comes to mean the imperishable and unchanging reality underlying every sector and factor of the world of change. “In the heart of all things, of whatever there is in the universe, delves the Lord.”[15] [Isa i]. “This is the truth of Brahma in relation to nature: whether in the splash of lightning or in the wink of the eyes, the power that is shown is the power of Brahma” [Kena iv.4], thus making the term Ātman a synonym of Brahma.

Etymologically, the word Brahma comes from ‘braḥ’, meaning to grow, to blush forth. But in a metaphysical sense, Brahma is defined as “The imperishable is the Real. As sparks innumerable fly upward from a blazing fire, so from the depths of the imperishable they again descend.” [Muṇḍaka II,i.1]. “Self-luminous is that Being, and formless. He dwells within all and without all. He is unborn, pure, greater than the greatest, without breath, without mind.” [Muṇḍaka.II, i, 2]. Apparently, we can not understand what is greater than the greatest! This kind of statement appears very illogical.

King Asavapatti asked five householders: “Whom do you meditate on as the self? The first answer is “The heaven (symbolized as ‘head’); the second answer is “The sun” (symbolized by ‘eye’; the third answer is “The air’ (symbolized by ‘breath’); the fourth answer is “ether’ (symbolized by ‘trunk’); and the fifth answer is “The water” (symbolized by ‘bladder’)”.The earth is the ground of central reality that also implies the universal soul: “The finite is the infinite. This Atman is the entire universe”- [Chāndogya ii. 4.26]. These passages reveal a confused concept of ātman. Sometimes it is taken as twofold: nāma and rūpa, name and form. When ātman is identified with the body or the material shape, it is said to have a gross (olarikaṃ... āttānaṃ) appearance that consists of the four great elements (catummahābhūmikaṃ) and sustained by food (kabalinkārāhāra-bhakkhanti). This kind of self apparently can not be taken as eternal, immortal, infinite, etc., as it is proposed in the Upaniṣads. When the self is identified with the nāma or mano (manomayaṃ me āttānaṃ), it is endowed with complete senses or faculties (sabbaṅga-paccaṅgiṃ ahīnindriyaṃ)[16]. Mano is the will or reasoning power of man, but when it works with senses (indriyā), it includes perception, feeling, emotion, and consciousness. Anybody with a proper attention would see that the material shape as well as these mental faculties are not compatible with the proposed attributions to ātman in the Upaniṣadic passages quoted above.

Further, they alleged that ātman can be identified with different faculties, from visible and conceivable that are breath (prāṇa) and speech, to something more subtle, invisible but still conceivable, that is mind (manas), then, fancifully it includes everything in the universe. This reveals the omnipresence of Ātman or Brahma, as the following verse proposes:

It is prāṇa. It is speech (vāca). It is mentality (manas). It is everything in the universe. God (Brahma) is present in the vile dust and the small mote. [Muṇḍaka ii, 2:II; katha ii, 5:2; Tait. ii.1..]

In Bṛh. 3.7:12, it is stated:

He who dwelling in the ākāsa, is distinct from ākāsa, whom the ākāsa knows not, whose body the ākāsa is, who rules the ākāsa from within, he is thy soul, the inner guide, the immortal.[17]

Herein ākāsa is the space or the material shape in which the soul or the Self dwells. In the Upaniṣads, the soul supported the immortal part of being, the controller. In many discourses, the Buddha strictly denounced this idea: if there is a controller who has the will over the five aggregates, then who wants to get old, sick, and finally, die? We will return to this theme in chapter four.

The Upaniṣads record a discussion among the god Indra, the demon Virocaṇa, and Prajāpati about the self in which Prājapati, in order to satisfy both of them, first introduced a corporal self similar to that recorded in the above Buddhist text, second, a spirit soul like in a dream, and lastly, “the cessation of the distinction of subject and object as this is attained in deep sleep, is rather an entrance into fullest light, a personal identification with the supreme Spirit”[18]

It is interesting to see that the first answer, which identifies the self with the body sarisātman, for the demon Virocaṇa, fits the materialist view and is also considered the demonic view of the world by the nihilists. The second answer that fits the god Indra reflects the view of theologians who incline to the concept of a realistic, individual soul. The third represents Prājapati who was looked up to as the embodiment of knowledge of nature, corresponds to an idealistic, non-dualistic concept.

I.2 Psychological Approach

Praśna Upa. (iv.2) gives an account of ten Indriyas and five organs of action, and the five senses of knowledge. According to this account, indriyas work under the control of manas, the ‘director’ or the ‘manager’ of these faculties. Without mind, the senses cannot work. Manas is material in nature, and this manas can conduct only a single task at a given moment. Buddhi, intelligence, is higher than manas. Aitareyya Up. cites the functions of buddhi as “sensation, perception, ideation, conception, understanding, insight, resolution, opinion, imagination, feeling, memory, volition, conation, the will to live, desire and self-control, all these are different natures of buddhi.” [Kausīlaki, ii. 2]. The highest of all is the soul (ātman) which is the eye of the eye, the ear of the ear. Ātman controls buddhi, manas, indriyas, the prāṇa, etc [Bṛh. iv. 4:5; i. 4:17; v.6...]. The soul also has physical properties and is said to dwell in the cavity of the heart. [Bṛh iv. 3:17; Chān. viii.3:3; Katha ii.20]

Beyond the senses are the rudiments of its objects, beyond these rudiments is the mind; beyond the mind is ātman known as mahat (great), beyond the mahat is avyakta, the unmanifested; beyond the avyakta is the purasa; beyond the purusa these is nothing. [Katha iii. 10:11; vi. 7:8]

The Tattiriya-upaniṣad (II, 2-5) assumes five ātmans (Purusā) lay the division of the intermediate, individual atman into five principles:

1. The food-sustained self (annarasamayaḥ ātman);
2. The vital breath-sustained- self (ātman prāṇamayaḥ);
3. The mind-make self (ātman manomayaḥ);
4. The knowledge-based self (ātman vijñānamayaḥ);
5. The bliss-sustained-self (ātman ānandamayaḥ).

The last is the true self which manifests itself through meditation.[19]

The order of the five-fold self reveals that the perception of self is from gross, visible to more subtle but still perceptible. It seems to the ordinary man, and for that matter, to all living beings, that food is the first essential thing that all living beings have to depend on and therefore it is natural to conclude that self or the individual existence has food as its essence. But soon, it is evident that energy produced by the food one needs is manifest in breath and hence the assumption that prāṇa – breath - is actually one’s self. What if man is without a desire to live? It must be his will to survive that is the most essential and thus arises the third self-assumption, manomaya- mind - making the self. To an educated man, food, energy and desire are not all there is to life. There must be something more like discriminative knowledge? Is it not man’s ability to discriminate between good and evil which makes him a distinctive species on earth? Therefore, the subtle and more essential aspect of man is vijñāṇamayaḥ, the knowledge-based self. But to those seekers of God (Brahma), there is still something missing. Thus they meditate and find out that samādhi (absorption) is the best thing that a truth-seeker should have. Therefore, they came to a final conclusion that the nature of man’s soul is the bliss born of mental absorption (samādhi) which is also called ānanda.

A similar expression is confirmed by Sai Ba Ba as follows:

Human has five koshas (sheaths) covering individuality: the annamaya (material), prāṇamaya (vital), manomaya (mental), vijñanamaya (intellectual) and the ānandamaya (blissful). When human turns from the objective world to the subjective world within, he/she can unsheath own-individuality and reach own Bliss Nature. But most people revel in the material sheath and remain engrossed and entangled in material pursuits and pleasures and cannot penetrate it into the inner realms of delight.[20]

This fivefold construction of ‘self’ is discussed in an argument between Saccaka, a wandering debater at the Buddha’s time (M. 35, Cuḷasaccakasutta) in which the first one is said to be of (gross) body, the second is mentioned as perception, the third is sensation, the forth, mental formation, and the fifth, consciousness. The order of components is somewhat different from here. It is noteworthy that in this context the Buddha denounced Saccaka’s view by pointing out that none of these is permanent, all of them existing and perishing not according to one’s own will, or in other words, there is absence of a ‘controller’. We will return to this theme in detail in chapters three and four.

It is interesting to note that the concept of Ānanda for some scholars like Deussen[21] is said to resemble the concept of bhavaṅga citta in Buddhist Abhidhamma works. Some other scholars consider the vijñāṇa- consciousness in rebirth-linking consciousness (Paṭisandhi citta) as a substance that takes rebirth.

Although Buddhism denies the existence of an unchanging, substantial soul, it holds to a belief in the transmigration of the karma of souls. A complex of psycho-physical elements and states changing from moment to moment, the soul, with its five skandhas (groups of elements)—i.e., body, sensations, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness—ceases to exist; but the karma of the deceased survives and becomes a vijñana (germ of consciousness) in the womb of a mother. This vijñana is that aspect of the soul reincarnated in a new individual.[22]

I will deal with this kind of interpretation in chapter four.

I.3 Why know thy Self

Why are men encouraged to contemplate the self? If they do not know what is the self or the real Self, how can they progress in the spiritual realm? It is said that to know the self is to transcend from the finite to infinity thereby going beyond all sorrow. “Tarati Śokaṃ Ātmavid”- The knower of the Self crosses all sorrows.” And: “Brahmavid Brahmaiva bhavati- The knower of Brahma becomes, indeed, brahma.” [Ārtabhāga].

Commenting on these passages Deussen wrote: “The passages which declare that with the knowledge of Ātman all is known deny the universe of plurality”. But Radhakrishna does not agree with this statement. He argues:

If the Ātman is the universal Self embracing within it all thinking things and the object of all thought, if there is nothing outside it, then it follows that if it is known all else is known. The true knowledge which leads us to liberation helps us to realize the one indwelling spirit. There is no suggestion that the Ātman and the world exclude each other.[23]

The Muṇḍaka Upa. states:

He who has attained the highest wisdom unites with the universal spirit delivered from nāma-rūpa as the following streams enter in and rest in the sea, leaving nāma-rūpa behind.”

Rūpa is the object and Nāma, our conception of the object; since nāma-rūpa is the duality of our conception, we form a world of duality of the subject-object relation. ‘This name and form world the immortal essence” [Bṛh i. 6.3: amṛtam satyena channam]. According to Radhakrishna, ‘Sat’ in one sense, means that all that is exists.

The world of change and growth is ‘Sat’. Sat also means the reality that persists in the midst of all changes, the immortal, amṛtaṃ. The Taitariya calls the former ‘Sat’, and the latter ‘tyat’; therefore a distinction is made that tyat is opposed to the existent Sat, and there is something call ‘asat’ or ‘amṛtaṃ [Tait. ii. 6].

Usually, Brahman or the ultimate reality is equated to ‘Sat’, and the world of change is ‘asat’ [Chaṇḍ. Vi. 2.1; iii. 19.1][24] The highest principle or God (Adhidaivaṃ) is the eternal spirit, which transcends and includes the objective world (Adhibhūtaṃ) and the subjective man (Adhyātman). [Tait. i.7].

He is the Lord of the past and of the future. He is the same today and (will be) the same tomorrow. This (soul), truly, is That.[25]

To be reunited with the Brahma or Ātman, one needs to undergo certain rituals or practices as described in Vedic scriptures. But Ātma or Brahma, the absolute Self, also can be interpreted as the universal, objective principle while ātman or atta are individuals, subjective and personal experiences. Atta as selfhood or individual personality or ego (in a Freudian sense) will be treated in more detail in the next chapter.

Someone asked Yājñavalkya: “Does the soul survive bodily death? If after the death of a man, his spirit goes into fire, his breath into wind, his eyes into the sun, his mind into the moon, his ears into the directions of space, his body into the earth, his self into the ether, the hairs of his body into plants, the hairs of his head into the trees, the blood and semen into water – what then becomes of the man?” The answer from this Guru is rather ambiguous. It reads: “Verily, one becomes good through good deeds, evil through evil deeds.” [Bṛh. iii.2:13]. This statement confirms a uniform belief in the philosophy of karma in Indian thought, but what has survived is still ambiguous.

There is a famous saying of Yājñavalkya, a philosopher of the later Upaniṣadic period: “Verily, a husband is dear, not for love of the husband, but for the love of the Self a husband is dear. Verily, a wife is dear, not for love of the wife, but for love of the Self a wife is dear.” The same statement is for sons, wealth, cattle, the Brahmin, khattiya, etc.[26] And “all things are dear not because I love all things, but because I love ātman” (na vā sarvasya kāmāya sarvaṃ priyaṃ bhavati ātmanastu kāmāya sarvaṃ priyaṃ bhavati)[27]. The Self here is an absolute, universal spirit (Ātman-Brahma) shared by every individual. When a question was put to Yājñavalkya thus: “How many gods are there in reality? His answer was; “One” [Bṛh iii. 9:1]. But why there are so many objects of worship among the people, such as Agni (fire), Vāya (air), Āditya (sun), kāla (time), that is Prāṇa (breath), the anna (food), Brahmā, Rudna, Vius? Thus do some meditate on him, some on another. Say which of these is the best for us? The answer from Yājñavalkya was: “There are but the chief manifestation of the highest, the immortal, the incorporeal Brahma...Brahman, indeed, is all things, and a man might meditate on.”- [Maitrāyani Upaṇisad iv. 5; Bṛh. i. 4. 6]. This episode reflects the attempt to unify the plurality of worship (gods among the common folks) to but one unique reality (God or Brahma).

I.4 The Problem of Samsāra and Suffering

Again, Yājñavalkya said to his wife, “the self is imperishable and of an indestructible nature”. But why is there saṃsāric separateness, and imperfection? From the eternal, uncreated and universal Self, selfhood (atta) was born as a separation from the Wholeness, Oneness; and since it is fragmentary, it is imperfect and unsatisfactory. To be reunited with the Brahma or Ātman, one needs to undergo certain rituals or practices as described in Vedic scriptures. But Ātma or Brahma, the absolute Self can also be interpreted as the universal, objective principle, while the ātman or atta corresponds to individual, subjective and personal experiences. Atta as selfhood or individual personality or ego (in a Freudian sense) will be treated in more detail in the following chapters from a Buddhist perspective.

In Saṅkhyā philosophy, beings are consisted of two principal: prakṛti (matter) and puruśa (soul or self). Prakṛti is the ultimate cause of all physical existence, the three guṇas (sattva, rajas and tamas) which constitute prakṛti also constitute every objects of physical world. Hence every object enhances in us pleasure, pain or indifference.[28] Puruśa are plurality. “The distinction and uniqueness of men from each other certificate that thereare many selves, each is unique in mental and moral identity. But Advaita Vedānta teaches that only empirical egos are different, but there are one and only one Self, the Ātman.”[29] According to Saṅkhyā, ātman is the innermost self of man. It is pure, undifferentiated consciousness (VS. I, 3:19). Like Brahman, ātman is nameless and formless and hence it is not confined to any space or time. It is the silent witness of the world of change and appearance (VS.I,1)[30].

Ātman is an immanent dominator, is immortal and controls all the existing things from their inside.[31]

The existence of ātman is beyond question in Saṅkhyā’s thought:

No one can doubt the fact of his own existence. Were one to do so, who could the doubter be? Only a deluded man could entertain the idea that he does not exist.[32]

Saṅkhyā protests against some schools of Buddhism which strongly deny the existence of ‘the self’. To Saṅkhyā, “the Ātman is in the heart of all living creatures, from the Brahma to a reed.” This concept is very similar to the concept of Bodhicitta or Buddha nature in all living beings as advocated by Mahāyana Buddhism. We also find in the Abhidhamma the word ‘hadayavatthu’- base of consciousness, and in Buddhism, consciousness is the surviving factor after death. Do they talk about the same reality under a different name?

To the Nyāya school,[33] ātman or self as a permanent and immaterial substance is controversial. If we attribute many mental phenomena to self such as desire, aversion, pleasure, pain, etc, it is apparent that these qualities are impermanent. How can these impermanent things be reconciled with a permanent self?

“Desire, aversion, volition, pleasure, pain, and cognition are the signs of the self” (Nyāya Sūtra. 1, 1:10). And man’s soul or the individual self (ātman) that struggle in discordance should yearn to attain freedom of spirit, the delight of harmony and the joy of the absolute (the Ātman or Brahma). “All beings are only a fourth of the puruśa, while the three other fourths remain immortal in the shining region.” [Chāndrogya. Upa. Ii. 12:6]. And: “A return from the plurality into the One is the ideal goal, the most ultimate value. It gives satisfaction to the whole being of man.” [Taitiriya, Upa.].[34] Kanada, the founder of the Vaiśesika school also offered the same reason [VS. III, 1:18; III,2:4) as S.K.M put it:

And while Brahma was contemplated as the supreme principle on one hand, ātman was considered as the principle of the coordinately-ranked on the other, and the identity of the two was accepted philosophically.

It is considered as eternal, absolute reality, a metaphysical core of existence as in:

The wise one is not born, nor does he die. He has not come from any where, unborn, unchanging, eternal, original, he is not slain in the slaying of the body. (Kaṭha, Upaniṣad ii, 18).

Here we can see the inconsistency of the theory of a persisting identity (ātman) from life to life. If one’s character is one’s identity, even within one life one’s character changes from time to time, what to say life to life? What survives death is one’s karma (volitional action) as Buddhists say, but karma is not something with a fixed nature, so how can we ascribe a permanent substance or identity to karma? Again, if man and universe are governed by the law of karma, is there a need of Brahma or God? To this question, Radhakrishna answers:

This existence in samsāra is not the true existence of the soul. We have to bear the servitude of samsāra so long as the finite elements cling to us. With the finite we can never reach the absolute, however near we come to it. Progress is a ceaseless growth or perpetual approximation. When the finite element is completely given up, then oneness with God is realized, and there is no return to samsāra. [Chān. IV. 14:1]

Actually, it is the human soul or psyche that clings to worldly and finite elements, not these neutral objects clinging to us as Radhakrishna puts it. Because the soul or ātman is a valid premise in his argument, therefore it needs to move on until it is one with the God, his creator, and is absorbed in infinity (Ātman or Brahma, the universal consciousness). If we view it from a different angle, i.e., from a psychological point of view, we will see that it is human psyche that confines himself or herself to a preconceived identity, and then consciously or unconsciously makes his / her personality limited within the dimension of his/ her conceptions. To be infinite or free, the conditioned personality has to break through that conditioned notion of a solid and unchanging soul or identity, not to move about in search of or yearning for an objective infinite called God. “His prāṇas do not go anywhere. Being Brahma he is merged in Brahma” [Bṛh. iv. 4:6].

A similar idea is shared by Plotinus (205-70), the founder of neo-Platonism. He alleged that all modes of being are an out-flowing from ‘the One’, an ultimate immaterial reality which Plato called ‘the Good’ (to Aristotle, it becomes ‘God’). These modes of being in descending order of unity and value are: mind (nous), soul (psyche) and nature (physis)[35]. Plotinus describes the soul as a grade lower than the mind, that which gives rise to space and time. This is in reverse order in comparison to that of Upaniṣadic psychology, but the idea that the human soul is a separate and somewhat degraded version of ‘the One’ is interestingly identical with that of the Upaniṣads.

Plotinus affirms that in the soul are included the principle of unity, of pure intellect, of vital power, and of matter itself. It touches every grade of value and existence. The human souls that are sunk in the material are ensnared by the sensuous and have allowed themselves to be ruled by desire. In attempting to detach themselves entirely from the true being and strive after independence. They fall into an unreal existence.[36]

We also find an interesting similarity of the above two traditions with the concept of Tao in “Lao Tzu Tao Duc King”. The order of creation in Taoism is: Tao > Mentality > energy (qi) > body or shape.

To recognise the problem of an unperceived soul, the real self should not be confused with mental states or the mind, as Sai Ba Ba, an eminent Master of Indian thought elucidates:

The mind requires persistent effort to sanctify the mind. It is named manah since it is ever busy with manana (recapitulation) of the past, confronting the present and planning for the future. It alternates between likes and dislikes, yes and no. It is carried away by fits of passion or panic. So, it has to be curbed and cured by patient persuasion. Above all, one must prevent it from catering to the greedy senses and thereby losing both health and happiness. The mind is described as the 'husband' (pathi) of the senses (indriya). The senses supply material to the mind. The mind is a by product of the ego. The ego is a reflection of the Atma. The Atma is wave of the Paramatma, the Universal Consciousness. Everyone must trace the ego to its spiritual origins and direct life on the lines of that heritage. So the mind must be saved from being enslaved by the senses. The mind has been provided with a master, whom it is neglecting and ignoring, through its degrading subservience to the senses. That master is buddhi (intelligence), the faculty of discrimination. When controlled and directed by this faculty, the mind becomes a sacred tool.[37]

II. Samaṇa Tradition

II.1 Materialist

Among many sects that are considered unorthodox (against the Vedas), we will single out two sects, i.e., the Cārvākan and the Jainas. Both of them are considered to be extreme[38] in Buddhist thought. The first advocates materialism in which the soul is identified with the body:

The ātman is the body itself, which is characterized by such attributes as are implied in the expressions ‘I am tout, I am young, I am old, I am an adult,[39] etc.

Further they argue: “Who has seen the soul existing in a state separate from the body? Does not life result from the ultimate configuration of matter?” [Prabodha candrodaya. ii]

There are varied beliefs in this school of thought. One school maintains that the soul is identical with the gross body, another that it is identical with the senses, the third postulates its identity with breath, and the fourth with the organ of thought.[40] From this tenet, it is a corollary that after dying or disintegrating of the body, there is no more being (annihilism); and the soul is believed to be a natural phenomena and therefore God does not necessarily exist.

Materialism leads to hedonism explicitly in its attitude to life: “While life is yours, live joyously; none can escape Death’s searching eye. When once this frame of our they burn; how shall it ever again return?”[41] This attitude to life opens the way for indulgence without any restraint. Materialists sneer at the moralists and say: ‘While life remains, let one live happily, let him feed on ghee even though he runs into debt.”[42]The hedonists are despised by Buddhists as low, vulgar and base. The materialists’ reply to Buddhists is: “If you argue that pleasures are mixed with pain, (and out to throw away) but what prudent a man throws away the unpeeled rice, which encloses excellent grain because it is covered with the husk?” [Prabodha candrodaya.I,1]. They denounce the moral standards of the Vedas in the strongest terms:

There is no heaven, no final liberation, nor any soul in another world, nor does the actions of four castes, orders, etc., produce any real effect... if a beast slain in the Jyotistona rite will itself go to heaven, why then does not the sacrificer offers his own father? If being in the heaven are pleased by our offering the śyāddha here, then why do not give the food down below to those who are standing on the house-stop? The three authors of Vedas were buffoons, knaves, and demons [S.D.S. i].

Obviously, we can see some reasonable ideas in that they are rebels against the dogmatic rites and rituals of Brahmanism and moralists, especially the hypocrisy of sacrificers, and the selfishness of the priestcraft and their caste system. Commenting on the rise of Materialism, Radhakrishna writes:

Materialism signifies the declaration of the spiritual independence of the individual and the rejection of the principle of authority. Nothing needs to be accepted by the individual which do not find its evidence in the movement of reason. It is a return of man’s spirit to itself and a rejection of all that is merely external and foreign. The Cārvāka philosophy is a fanatical effort made to rid the age of the weight of the past that was oppressing it.[43]

It is noteworthy to cite here some accounts of Buddhist scriptures on the ‘heretics’. One of them is Pakudha Kaccāyana, who is said to have advocated such a doctrine as:

There are seven categories, which are neither made, nor commanded to be made, neither created, nor caused to be created, barren (i.e. nothing is produced from them) firm as mountain... one has no effect on the happiness or the sorrow, or both of others. What are they? Earth, water, fire, air, happiness, suffering, and the life (jīva) as the seventh... Thus no man kills or caused to kill, hears or causes to hear, knows or causes to know. When one cuts a head apart with a sharp sword, no one deprives anyone of life, there is simply a sword-cut passing between the seven categories.[44]

The Jīva that is discussed as the seventh element in this view is not the immaterial and immortal soul. This element serves to animate the other four material elements, but it is obvious that the element of happiness and suffering is incorporeality, and these seven elements each exist independently of the other. There is another teacher of the time that was listed among the six heretics. His name in Buddhist scriptures is Ajita Kesakambalī. He also denies the efficacy of actions. He stated:

There is no result or ripening of good or bad deeds. A man is made of the four elements. When he dies, the earth return to the earth-category, water to water, fire to fire, air to air, and the senses pass into space... at the break up of the body, fools and wise men alike cut off, perish, they do not exist after death.[45]

This view not only denies the efficacy of karma, which needs an abiding identity to carry out the actions and bears its result (s), but it also negates the existence of any immaterial substance called ‘soul’, and survives death. In Buddhism, the law of karma is efficacy as cause and effect, and being causality, it exempts this tenet from believing in an unchanging and abiding identity. But to Makkhali Gosala, another heretic of the time who denies causality as following reported:

There is no cause, no condition for the (moral) defilement of beings; they become defiled without cause and condition. There is no cause, no condition for the purification of beings; they are purified without cause and condition. No action of one’s own, of another or of any person has any effect... All beings are changed by fate... through 84.000 great cosmic eons fools and wise (alike), wander through the round of rebirth before making an end to suffering.... Just as when a ball of string is throwing, it unwinds to its full length, so fools and wises (alike) wander through the round of rebirth (to full appointed term) before making an end to suffering.[46]

This principle as advocated by Makkhali Gasala is called Niyati’, fate, and there is no room for human volition to exercise their free will. One has to go through one’s allotted term in samsāra until its end; there is no choice whatsoever. This Niyativāda apparently believes in the round of rebirth and samsāra, but there is not sufficient document for us to ascertain what kind of human essence travels in samsāra.

II.2 Moralists

The Jain’s concept of soul (Jīva-life principle) is an eternal substance dwelling in the body and conditioned by the body. Jīva is one of six realities (dravyas or tattvas) held by Jains, to wit: jīva- soul, ajīva-non soul, dharma- principle of motion, adharmma- principle of rest, ākāsa-space, and kāla-time. The soul is immaterial, uncreated and beginningless. It feels, perceives, reacts, and accumulates experiences (upayoga karma); it is the bearer of karma (saṃsāri) but is capable of freedom from old karmas by self-mortification to attain a state called mukta, the emancipated soul. Samsāri is a state of transmigrating souls of two kinds, trasa-movable (such as animals, insects, human beings) and sthāvara-static or immobile which consist of five subdivisions: earth, water, fire, air, and plants. For Jains, even plants have the faculty of life (jīva) not in the sense of organism, but which has sensation.

Jīva is twofold: mukkha- the librated soul, and bandha- the bondage soul. The second category is further subdivided into moving (trasa) and non-moving (sthāvana). The moving Jīvas are grouped in different kinds such as jīvas with five senses (such as animals of quadrupeds or bipeds), jīvas with four senses (such as some kinds of insects), three senses (ants, motes), two senses (worms), one sense (plants). The five senses jīvas (pañcindriya jīva) are capable of hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. The four senses jīva (catu-indriya) are in the sense of hearing; the three senses jīva (trindriya) minus one more sense that is of seeing. The two senses jīva (dvindriya) are capable of tasting and touching only, and the most rudimentary jīva is endowed with one sense of touch.

Etymologically, the word jīva stands for ‘what lives or is animate.’ According to the classification of jīvas as we can see above, the concept rather bears a clear mark of formulation from observing the characteristics of life and then a metaphysical principle underlying individual existence. “Thus the word in the original sense stands for vital principle rather than for the soul.”[47]

The concept of Jīva has developed to a considerable extent. First the classification of jiva is based on biological and material considerations as we have seen above (one sense, two senses, three senses, etc), while later it developed into different degrees or levels of consciousness. These range from the most unperfected souls to the highest development of perfect souls (moska jīva) in that the soul has overcome all karmas and attained omniscience. The unperfected souls are those that inhabit the bodies of earth, water, fire, air or vegetable. [TTDS. ii. 22-23]. In the developed concept of jīva, it was looked upon as permanent and eternal:

Jainism, reflecting a belief in an absolute soul, holds that karma is affected in its density by the deeds that a person does. Thus, the burden of the old karma is added to the new karma that is acquired during the next existence until the soul frees itself by religious disciplines, especially by ahimsa (“nonviolence”), and rises to the place of liberated souls at the top of the universe[48].

Jīva as experiment (bhoktā) and jīva as agent (kartā), thus jīva is the knower, the doer, the enjoyer of pleasure and the sufferer of pain according to the karmas which it has accumulated during the course of its existence. It is postulated that the relationship of jīva and the body during the period it occupies the body, is obscured. Jīva is capable of expansion and contraction to fit the dimension of the physical body, though without form it acquires the shape of the living body that it occupied. Through the association with matter, jīva is limited, bound by matter. To liberate the jīva, the body has to endure severe mortification; this is traditional Jain practice. Ātmanusāranā by Sri Gunabhadra ācharya wrote:

This unshakeable Lord (soul) is uncreated, eternal, non-material, doer and enjoyer of one’s own self, blissful, knower, free from impurities and is of the size of the body it occupies”(Ajātonasvaro murtah kartā bhokta sukhi budhah; dehamātro malairmukto gatvordhva machalah prabhuh)[49].

A Jain master named Kunda Kunda Achariya stated:

In the soul, there is no color, no smell, no taste, not even touch, not any material form, nor body, neither material figure nor any kind of born.[50]

Further: “In the soul there is no attachment, no hatred no delusion, neither cause of āsavās, nor karmas and not the no-karma (material forming outer body)[51].”

In Niyamasāra by the same author, it is stated:

My soul is ever one, eternal, having knowledge and perception as its differentia. All the other thought activities are foreign to me, due to connection with (non-soul). (eko me sāsado appa nāna damsana lakkhano, sesa me bahira bhava save sanjoga lakkhana.)


A pure soul is devoid of birth, old age and death, is supreme and free from the eight karmas, pure, having the four kinds of qualities of knowledge, perception, power and bliss, is indestructible, eternal and unbreakable (Jai jaramaranarahiyam paramam kammattha vajjiyam suddham. Nande chau sahavam akkhayamavināsa maccheyam).[52]

In Yogasāra by Sri Yogindra Acharya, we can find this definition:

The soul is pure, conscious, enlightened (Buddha), conqueror (Jina), having the attribute of independent knowledge; if you desire the acquisition of nirvana, then meditate upon it day and night (suddha sacheyaṇa Buddha jiṇu kevala ñāṇa saha-u. So appā aṇudiṇa muṇahu jai chahau siva lahu.).[53]

As was stated earlier, the classification of Jīva is obviously based on empirical observation, not on metaphysical speculation, but later in its development, the concept of soul or self is in consonance with the Upaniṣads.

III. The Occidental Concept of Personality, Ego and Soul

According to the Webster English Dictionary, personality is ‘That which constitutes distinction of person; the externally evident aspects of the character or behavior of a person; individuality[54]. Thus personality is not only a characteristic way of thinking, feeling, and behaving, but the corporal aspect of a person as well. Personality embraces moods, attitudes, and opinions and is most clearly expressed in interactions with other people. It includes behavioral characteristics, both inherent and acquired, that distinguish one person from another and that can be observed in people's relations to the environment and to the social group.

The study of personality can be said to have its origins in the fundamental idea that people are distinguished by their characteristic individual patterns of behaviour—the distinctive ways in which they walk, talk, furnish their living quarters, or express their urges. Whatever the behaviour, personologists—as those who systematically study personality—examine how people differ in the ways they express themselves and attempt to determine the causes of these differences. Although other fields of psychology examine many of the same functions and processes, such as attention, thinking, or motivation, the personologist places emphasis on how these different processes fit together and become integrated so as to give each person a distinctive identity or personality. The systematic psychological study of personality has emerged from a number of different sources, including psychiatric case studies that focused on lives in distress, from philosophy, which explores the nature of man, and from physiology, anthropology, and social psychology.[55]


In Indian philosophy, the ego is called ahaṃkāra, but it is not particularly mentioned in the Upaniṣads. In Buddhist philosophy, ahaṃkāra also stands for ego. The soul is the jīva. This also is not discussed in the Upaniṣads but is discussed in the commentaries. The jīva consists of a vital principle (prāṇa), of mind (manas), of reason (buddhi), of the subtle elements and of the bliss body (Ānanda). This is also according to Saṅkhya; but according to Rāmānuja, the bliss body is the same as the ātman. The jīva is thus the ethical personality that enjoys and suffers the consequences of its actions (karma), and that which transmigrates from life to life. There is another name for it, sūksmaśarīsa. Ātman is the self in metaphysical implications. Saṅkhya attributes good (dharma) and evil (adharma) to the buddhi but Nyāya- vaiśesika and Mīmāṃsa attribute them to ātman.

In psychoanalytic theory, that portion of the human personality which is experienced as the “self” or “I” is in contact with the external world through perception. It is the part which remembers, evaluates, plans, and in other ways is responsive to and acts in the surrounding physical and social world. The ego coexists, in psychoanalytic theory, with the id and superego (qq.v.), as one of three agencies proposed by Sigmund Freud in attempting to describe the dynamics of the human mind. Ego (Latin for “I”) comprises, in Freud's term, the executive functions of personality; it is the integrator between the outer and inner worlds, as well as between the id and the superego. The ego gives continuity and consistency to behaviour by providing a personal point of reference, which relates the events of the past (retained in memory) and actions of the present and of the future (represented in anticipation and imagination). The ego is not coextensive with either the personality or the body, although body concepts form the core of early, it remains unchanged until the next world’s conflagration.[56] The ego, once developed, is capable of change throughout life, particularly under conditions of threat, illness, and changes in life circumstances.[57]

As the individual continues to develop, the ego is further differentiated and the superego develops. The superego represents the inhibitions of instinct and the control of impulses through the incorporation of parental and societal standards. Thus, moral standards as perceived by the ego become part of the personality. Conflict, a necessary ingredient for the growth and maturity of the personality, is introduced. The ego comes to mediate between the superego and the id (agency of primitive drives) by building up what have been called defense mechanisms.


The Epicureans considered the soul to be made up of atoms like the rest of the body. For the Platonists, the soul was an immaterial and incorporeal substance, akin to the gods yet part of the world of change and becoming. Aristotle's conception of the soul was obscure, though he did state that it was a form inseparable from the body: “The world is something more than the confused transition which is revealed by the senses, it has a changeless structure which makes each thing what it is (ti esti) irrespective of whether it is known or not”[58] . This observation is very similar to the concept of dharma in post-Buddhist scriptures (Abhidharmakośa, Sarvāstivādā) which define dharma as bearing its own nature. In other words “dhamma is that which carries its distinctive characteristic” [sva sāmānya laksaṇadhāraṇāt dharmaḥ].[59] In Socrates’ view, natures are independent of human consciousness, but human knowledge is a matter of interaction with natures. Natures are independent of human sensation and desire, but they are not independent of each other. Natures are not an accidental chaos, but an interdependent and interacted order in which one supports another. “ Thus Socrates in the Phaedo speaks of the deep impression made upon him by Anayagoros’ doctrine that the cosmos is governed by mind and of his conviction that even though our knowledge may not often grasp it, everything really is ordered for the best.” [Plato, Phaedo, 97. c]. Socrates also believed that man alone possesses the faculty of reasoning, and this very reasoning ability is man’s soul:

Man is not a cosmic accident but a culminating phase of the whole natural order with a peculiar and important function to perform. He alone can bring nature into the light of understanding and consciously direct his life and activities into voluntary harmony with this order. Thus Xenophon tell us that Socrates held that just as our bodies are composed of the same matter which is found throughout the universe, so must our human reason be part of a universal cosmic reason.[60] [Memorabilia I, 4,8].

It is interesting to see that the concept of soul as an immaterial substance that reincarnates was believed by the ancient Greeks (at least Socrates and his prominent disciple, Plato).

Orphism held that a pre-existent soul survives bodily death and is later reincarnated in a human or other mammalian body, eventually receiving release from the cycle of birth and death and regaining its former pure state. This theory of soul and body, the relationship of the two, and the idea of rebirth is very similar to Indian philosophy. Plato, in the 5th–4th century BC, believed in an immortal soul that participates in frequent incarnations. According to Plato’s Republic, a human life is divided into four phases: under twenty years old, he is considered as a child that should be given a simple form of education. From twenty to thirty, he is capable of absorption of scientific disciplines like mathematics, physics, cosmology, etc (Rep. VII. 522-531). This means that in this phase of life, man is able to comprehend abstract concepts and things. The ideal student of dialectics and philosophical training began at the age of thirty (rep. VII, 531-537). At the age of 35 he is capable of administration in a community and should give his services until the age of 50. After that he can retire from public life in order to engage in meditation and prayer; this is the religious phase in one’s life (Rep. VII, 540 ff). But a single human life is not sufficient for the evolution of the human soul. When the invisible spirit leaves the body and all that is connected with earthly life, it takes the training (paideia) with it. [Phaedo 107]. In Plato’s theory of soul or spirit humans must undergo learning and training from life to life. It is a strikingly similar concept to karma and rebirth in Indian thought, especially in the Buddhist aspiration of paramitā practice to attain Buddhahood.

The early Hebrews apparently had a concept of the soul but did not separate it from the body, although later Jewish writers developed the idea of the soul further. Old Testament references to the soul are related to the concept of breath and establish no distinction between the ethereal soul and the corporeal body. Christian concepts of a body-soul dichotomy originated with the ancient Greeks and were introduced into Christian theology at an early date by St. Gregory of Nyssa and by St. Augustine.[61]

In Christian theology, St. Augustine spoke of the soul as a “rider” on the body, making clear the split between the material and the immaterial, with the soul representing the “true” person. However, although body and soul were separate, it was not possible to conceive of a soul without its body. In the European Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas returned to the Greek philosophers' concept of the soul as a motivating principle of the body, independent but requiring the substance of the body to make an individual.

From the Middle Ages onward, the existence and nature of the soul and its relationship to the body continued to be disputed in Western philosophy. To René Descartes, man was a union of the body and the soul, each a distinct substance acting on the other; the soul was equivalent to the mind. The most famous statement of Descartes is termed Cogito: “I think, therefore I exist.” [je pense, donc je suis] (First Meditation). This is the first principle of philosophy that Descartes discovered. “It is then argued that the self of which I am aware of is ‘in the strict sense only a thing that thinks’ (res cogitans), that is, a thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, is willing, is unwilling, imagines and senses” (Second Meditation). But his perception of the self did not stop there. In a later observance, he observes “the soul is not merely present in the body, but closely conjoined and intermingled with it.” He developed this idea further in his last book Passions of the Soul (1649) in which he spoke of a ‘substantial union’ between mind and body: purely intellectual and volitional activities belonged to the mind alone, physiological events to the body alone, but emotions and sensations could not be understood without reference to the union of the two[62].

To Benedict de Spinoza, body and soul formed two aspects of a single reality. Immanuel Kant concluded that the soul was not demonstrable through reason, although the mind inevitably must reach the conclusion that the soul exists because such a conclusion was necessary for the development of ethics and religion. To William James at the beginning of the 20th century, the soul as such did not exist at all but was merely a collection of psychic phenomena:

This me is an empirical aggregate of thing objectively known. The I which knows them can not itself be an aggregate, neither for psychological purposes need it be considered to be an unchanging and metaphysical entity like the Soul, or a principle like the pure ego, viewed as ‘out of time’. It is a Thought, at each moment different from that of the last moment, but appropriative of the later together with all that of the latter called its own. All the experiential facts find their place in this description, unencumbered with any hypothesis save that of the existence of passing thoughts or states of mind. [William James (1950) p.400-1].

Perhaps of all the Western philosophers, William James came nearest to the Buddhist Epistemology as follows:

In spite of the momentary and fragmentary nature of our impressions, we ascribe a distinct and continued existence to them, and thus generate the belief in an external world of continuing objects. The belief is a product of our indolent preference for smooth sequences of relative impressions, whose separateness we elect to ignore.” And “we similarly allow ourselves to ascribe identity to the successive changing perceptions that make up the mind, treating a related series of perceptions as though its members were one and the same; we thus create the ‘fiction’ of personal identity.[63]

Just as there have been different concepts of the relation of the soul to the body, there have been numerous ideas about when the soul comes into existence and when and if it dies. Ancient Greek beliefs were varied and evolved over time. Pythagoras held that the soul was of divine origin and existed before and after death. Plato and Socrates also accepted the immortality of the soul, while Aristotle considered only part of the soul, the noûs, or intellect, to have that quality. Epicurus believed that both body and soul ended at death. The early Christian philosophers adopted the Greek concept of the soul's immortality and thought of the soul as being created by God and infused into the body at conception. Interestingly, this idea is shared by Indian religious thinkers as reported in Poṭṭhappāda sutta (DN.9) in Buddhist scriptures.[64].

Thus as we have seen above, most religions and their sacred scriptures share the same concept of "soul": soul often refers to human life or the entire human person. But "soul" also refers to the innermost aspect of man, signifying the spiritual principle in man. The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God – it is not "produced" by the parents – and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.


[1] Ref. The Philosophy of the Upaniṣads, a translation of rev. A.S. Geden, New Delhi 1979.

[2] The term was coined by the anthropologist E.B. Tylor (1832-1917) to designate what he took to be the earliest stage of the evolution of religion, common among primitive peoples. The Penguin Dictionaries of Philosophy. Ed by Thomas Mautner, England 2000, P. 25

[3] Ref. Britannia Encyclopedia.E-edition 2002.

[4] Bhatta Chayya, Haridas. The Foundation of Living Faiths. India 1978. P. 106

[5] Pali-English Dictionary, Delhi, Moltilah Banasidass Publishers Private Limited, 1997, p. 22.

[6] Paul Deussen, The Philosophy of the Upaniṣads, p. 95.

[7] William K. Mahony, an article named: SOUL in Indian Concepts of Ātman in Sanskrit or Atta in Pāli

[8] It is interesting to note that the word for spirit and breath are the same in Greek (pneuma) and in Hebrew (ruach), in German, the word Atmen also means ‘breath’. Similar to that of Egyptian and Indian, the Tibetans also call it “bdag” which in Tibet language is originally meant ‘to breathe’.

[9] In Buddhist scriptures, The Dhammapāda also uses the word ‘manas’ (Dhp 1, 2) and ‘citta’ (Dhp 37) for ‘mind’, but not in the sense of absolute reality, or a substance without changing & modifying.

[10] Poṭṭhappādasutta (D. 9).

[11] Bṛhadāraṇyaka II. V.15; The Upaniṣad, Trs. By Svami Prapavananda and Frederick. Manchester 1947.

[12] Ibid., Chāndogya VI.x.3.; Ramakrishna Puligandla 1997, Fundamental of Indian Philosophy.P.223

The Vedas contain four Mahavākyās: Prajñanaṃ Brahma (knowledge is Brahman), Ayamatma Brahma (This Atma is Brahman), Tath Twam Asi (That Thou Art) and Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman). The human qualities (guṇas) are three in number: Satva- humane, Rajas- active force and Thamas- negative tendency. The three guṇas have to be harmonized like the blades of the fan.

[13] Ibid., Ktha I. ii. 22.

[14] Ibid. Katha II. VI. 12.

[15] Upaniṣad, Tr. By Svami Prabhavananda & Frederick. Manchester, USA- Vedanta Press 1947.

[16] See Poṭṭhappādasutta (DN.9). PTS. 186, 187.

[17] Also at Bṛh. 3.8.11; 4.4.17/20

[18] Paul Dussen. The Philosophy of the Upaṇisads. Translated by Rev. A.S. Geden. India 1979. p. 95

[19] K.N.Jayatilleke, Buddhist Theory of Knowledge. P 220; Hajime Nakamura, A Comparative History of Ideas. P 114

[20] Extract from Sai Ba Ba webside; Reet's compilation from, Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 11. "The two poles," Chapter 23; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 13. "Yoga maarga," Chapter 33; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 17. "Spread the message of Love," Chapter 11; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 19. "The Rama story is ours," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 29. "Message of the Avathaars and the Epics," Chapter 14).

[21] Deussen, “Brahman is not ānandin, possessing bliss, but ānanda, bliss itself. This identification of Brahman and ānanda is effected through the medium of the view that, on the one hand, the deep, dreamless sleep, by destroying the existing contrast of subject and object, is a temporary union with Brahman; while on the other hand, since all suffering is then abolished, the same state is described as a bliss admitting of no enhancement.”[ The Philoshphy of the Upaniṣads P.141]

[22] Britannica, Encyclopaedia, Electrcal edition 2002.

[23] S. Radhakrishna. Indian Philosophy. Vol. I, (Indian Edition) 1941; P. 190

[24] Ibid. p. 192.

[25] The Encyclopaedia of Religion ,vol.13, Collier Macmillan Publisher ;London, 1987, p. 440

[26] Hajime Nakamura, A Comparative History of Ideas. P. 116.

[27] Bṛhadāranyaka Upaniṣad, ii, 4, 5; Encyclopeadia of Buddhism, Vol, ii, P.317.

[28] Ref. Fundamental of Indian Philosophy, p. 122.

[29] Advaita Vedānta- IX.

[30] Varśesika Sūtra of Kanada

[31] yah sarvāṇi bhānyantaro yamayatyeṣa ta ātmāntaryāmyamṛtah. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad iii, 15, 17.

[32] VS . II, 37:2

[33] Nyāya was founded by Gautama (or Gotama- 3rd BC, not the Buddha) which advocates the liberation through knowledge of ultimate reality. Nyāya is unique from the other systems of philosophy in India for its explicit and elaborate formulation of the principles of inquiry.

[34] Prāṇārātmam mana-ānandam, santisamṛddham amṛtaṃ.- The delight of life and mind, the fullness of peace and eternality. – Radhakrishna. Indian Philosophy. P. 208

[35] Ref. The Penguin Dictionaries of Philosophy. Edited by Thomas Mautner. London 2000. p. 431

[36] Radhakrishnan, Eastern Religions, P.211

[37] Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 11. "The two poles," Chapter 23; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 13. "Yoga maarga," Chapter 33; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 17. "Spread the message of Love," Chapter 11; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 19. "The Rama story is ours," Chapter 8; Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 29. "Message of the Avathaars and the Epics," Chapter 14). 

[38] Dhammacakkapavattanasutta (Vin. I; S. IV):Dve me... antā pabbajitena na sevitabba..

[39] Sarvasiddhāntasāra saṅgraha (SSSS) II.6.

[40] Radhakrishna. Indian Philosophy. P. 280

[41] Sarvadarśana saṅgraha. S.D.S. p. 2

[42] Ibid. i.

[43] Radhakrishna, Indian Philosophy. P. 283

[44] D. I, 57, Sāmaññāphalasutta. Ref. Maurice Walshe’s translation, P. 96.

[45] Ibid. 57; P. 96

[46] Ibid, 53; P. 94, 95.

[47] N.N. Bhattacharyya: Jain philosophy in historical outline. New Delhi 1976

[48] Britannica Encyclopeadea.

[49] B.S.Prashad. Jain and Buddhism. P.77.

[50] Ibid. Jivassa natthi vanno navi gandho navi raso naviya phaso. Navi rūvam na saīsam navi santhanam na sanghadanam, p. 81.

[51] Bṛhadāranyaka aniṣad, ii, 4, 5: Jivassa natthi rāgo navi doso neva vijjade moho. Na paccaya na karma no karma chāvise natthi; Encyclopeadia of Buddhism, Vol, ii, P.317.

[52] [52] Malalasekera, Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Vol ii. P.316

[52] Bṛhadāranyaka Upaniṣad, ii, 4, 5; Encyclopeadia of Buddhism, Vol, ii, P.317.

[53] Bṛhadāranyaka Upaniṣad, ii, 4, 5; Encyclopeadia of Buddhism, Vol, ii, P.87.

[54] 1913 Webster

[55] Ref. Britannica Encyclopedias , Electrical Ed. 2002.

[56] Ref. B.Russell, History of Western Philosophy, p.258.

[57] Encyclopædia Britannica- 1994-2002.

[58] Ibid. p. 69.

[59] AbhidharmaKośavyākhyā. Edited by U.Wogihara, Tokyo 1936. P. 12

[60] Radhakrishna & P.T.Raju. (Delhi 1992) The concept of man in Greek thought. P. 69.

[61] Ref. Britannica Encyclopedias, electrical ed. 2002.

[62] The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy. Edited by Thomas Mautner. pp. 135, 136.

[63] Humes: A Treatise of Human Nature, p....; The Peguin Dictionary of Philosophy. pp. 258.

[64] D. 180 : Santi hi bho devatā mahiddhik mahānubhāvā. Tā imassa purisssa saññaṃ upakaddhanti pi apakaddhanti pi...


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