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Philosopy & Human Nature Essay

936 words - 4 pages

Hinduism’s view on human nature is complex and involves the concept of the self or soul. According to the Hindu concept of self, it is recorded that “the atman is beyond sound and form…it is eternal, unchangeable, and without beginning or end: indeed above reasoning” (Wall, 30). What this refers to, is that Hindus believe there to be a deeper self that lies within us. This self hides behind our experienced self and is referred to as atman. Atman is what survives our deaths and continues to be reborn again. This type of self is continually reborn into different bodies until it escapes the wheel of rebirth. Through prayer, meditation, and ascetic practices, this self can become known, especially because it is essentially the same in all human beings. The idea behind atman tends to be more complex because of its dealings with the levels of consciousness, samsara, etc.
The concept, previously referred to as atman, is understood not as a familiar, day-to-day self, but rather something less physical. This self does not deal with our social selves or psychological selves and is not viewed as a collection of thoughts and feelings that we experience. However, this self is deeper within ourselves that can be thought of as spiritual, permanent and infinite. To fully know this self one must experience a process of deep meditation and withdrawal from society. This process is recognized as a process of ascetic discipline; and through this process one can discover atmans similarity to brahman. According to Hindu thought, Brahman is a hindu concept of absolute reality and is referred to as a transcendent being that all concrete things are dependent upon for existence. According to the Hindu concept of self, Brahman is “spirit of light..who in truth is called Immortal…All the world rest on that Spirit and beyond him no one can go” (Wall, 31). Atman is identical to brahman and can be known in two ways. By studying the wisdom found in holy books and through a process of discovering our deeper selves. This process involving knowing our deeper selves can be explained by identifying atman as consciousness itself. How can we correlate the two and understand their relationship with one another? When brahman is understood to be the consciousness of the world, we can then understand atmans role as a portion of the mind of consciousness. Because our human nature is divine, we realize that by understanding atman we then begin to know brahman. We begin to realize and experience atman and brahman through a meditative process.
The levels of consciousness help us experience atman and brahman together. The levels that one experiences is waking consciousness, dream consciousness, sleep consciousness, and lastly, meditative consciousness....

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