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21-Aatmaa in Ved

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21-Aatmaa in Ved

"Aatma (soul) is the real guide in life of a person. Aatmaa - the inner self of the man knows the truth and the untruth. Because of one's selfishness, stubbornness, ignorance, malevolence, man rejects truth and inclines towards Untruth" (Swami Dayanand in Satyaarth Prakaash)

Omkaar Ved Nirmayee - God revealed Ved (Guru Nanak Dev Jee)
Ved are the most precious Gift for which West had ever been indebted to East - Francois M Voltaire.

Aatmaa (Soul), Jeevaatmaa (manifested Soul) and Jeev (Spirit) as Described in Ved
Atharv Ved tells us when Soul (Aatmaa) was provided to human being Vaidik knowledge (Brahm Gyaan) was revealed. Thus human soul contains all the knowledge of Ved.

Rig Ved says that Purpose of Human Birth, as already known to human soul, is to assist the Grand Designer (Vishwa Karmaa) in the maintenance of his grand wondrous Design. Rig Ved further enlightens us when soul administers the gross body, a person moves toward self-realization and he starts following cosmic laws of necessity (Vaidik Rit) relating to "iddm nan mam" (nothing for self, all for society), path of moderation, humility, love for the entire animate and inanimate life and things and many other such cosmic laws. Conditioned by our sensate values and material knowledge of inert matter, we only see the superficial side of our identity i.e. the "Ego self" encased in a sheath (Kosh).
[Brihadaranyak Upanishad]

However, Ved categorically say Aatmaa cannot be cognized by any of the senses and say sense organs. However, if you do not separate ecology, science of good governance, science of Axiology with three kinds of values (Tri-varg) and enlightenment and also do not resist the flow of life with our inner wakening, one can communicate with the soul being Vaachaspatih.

(Atharv Ved, 10-8-8) - It is the Soul which makes a person separate and distinct individual. The Spirit is the cause of his social being and along with Mahaa Bhoot - five main elements and three Gun of purity, activity and stupor, is the cause of good or bad actions of the individuals. The right and virtuous path is only known to the manifested soul (Jeevaatmaa), which is nearest on self-realization and farthest when phenomenal and the material worlds become the closest.

The individuals who know and understand the Spirit as the powerhouse of creativity in them create subtle waves of nobility, love, and harmony even if they sit silently in any gathering or assembly. Chhaandogya Upanishad describes Spirit as the Creative force, which hides behind all animate and inmate life and things, moves us, moves the planets and moves the universe.

Yajur Ved 34-43, refers to human beings as Tri-ani Pad ie having three bodies in one - divine (causal body where soul resides near the heart), spiritual body (subtle body energized by spirit residing in Shoonya (cosmic void) and gross body (where senses and sense organs reside).

The soul makes a person divine animal, spirit makes a person social animal and senses and sense organs make a person material and economic man. Hence in the Ved a man is divine, social and material animal. Many hymns in Rig Ved 1-65-1, 1-70-2, and others mention that God lives in our souls as a true preceptor (Guru). The term Guru in Ved is from Gu means darkness and Ru means to dispel. Thus Guru is dispeller of both inner and outer darkness.

(Yajur Ved, 39-7) - "The souls of human beings remain immortal. Based on accumulation of past and present Karm - thoughts, deeds and actions, it becomes fierce, calm, terrible, fearless, ignorant and enlightened, trembling and steadfast, forbearing and nonbearing, passionate and ascetic and a prey to bewilderment." Thus the quality of manifested soul is different for each individual. The purity of the manifested soul and keeping it free from the effect of bad, corrupt and evil deeds, thoughts and desires make it as our philosopher, guide and friend.

The soul has been addressed by various names and epithets in the Ved. Samraat (the ruler of the body), Vaishwa Dev, Tej, Vaak, Aagneye, Prajaapati in Yajur Ved, 39. Each name or epithet indicates its attributes, like the controlling Lord, the nourisher of human beings, the just ruler etc., It is also called Twashtaa - subtle soul. In Bhagvad Geetaa apart from Aatmaa, Jeevaatmaa, words like "sah" (self), "Dehin, "Deha, Shareerin, Shareeree are used (Geetaa 3-42, 14-11 and 12, 2-18). All these later epithets generally mean Lord of the body.

The Spirit which is the life force has also its intermediaries, mind, will, intellect and ego, which are much higher and powerful than the body self ie gross body consisting of senses, sense organs etc. However, the Spirit becomes more or less effective in the gross body, not so much with age but kind of activities towards perfection or otherwise. With evil activities, thoughts and desires the gross body can start degenerating even at young age and the spirit gets weaker. Many of the physical sicknesses are related to your activities and thoughts and get further aggravated with idleness that Bhagavad Geetaa describes them as sin. Since God is perfect, the spirit always aims at perfection and in this movement towards perfection; it helps the gross body to remain healthy.

Rig Ved 6-47-9 mentions soul as "Twashtaa - the subtle soul shines when senses are under control and Saatwik  Gun of purity and truthfulness is predominant. According to Atharv Ved 11-8-30, the manifested soul (Jeev Aatmaa) in the body administers it. The gross body of human beings is the soul holding body. Those individuals, who do not allow the soul to administer the body, normally are devoted to the letters of the scriptures and not the spirit behind their teachings. They camouflage their materialistic outlook in the form of fake spiritualism. According to Bhagvad Geetaa, such persons cannot attain Vivek (determinate intellect Geetaa 2/42-44). However, where the body is administered by the manifested soul, even the human beings become Brahm and can say Aham Brahm Asi - I am Brahm. This stage of perfect control of the body by manifested soul is described as "Chhavo" or "Shava". According to Atharv Ved, 11-8-34, at this stage the soul in the human body becomes the highest force and vigor. As Vaachaspatih you can even communicate with it.

According to Ved, the manifested soul dwells in the fifth Kosh (sheath) near the heart.

For more details on the subject along with the relevant Vaidik hymn/Mantra/Rik about soul (Aatmaa), manifested soul (Jeevaatmaa) and spirit (Jeev) kindly see chapter 7 of "Glimpses of Vedic Metaphysics" on Website The book is also available through search engines of Google or Yahoo at


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 03/20/13