I am looking for a precise scriptural definition of Adhyatma (अध्यात्म) which is also known as spiritual in English.
So, Let me ask relevant questions:
- What is the definition (meaning) of Adhyatma?
- Is there any scriptural definition of Adhyatma?
Adhyatma means relating to Atman or belonging to self. In other words, transcendental.
The Sanskrit word अध्यात्म is combination of two words : अधि + आत्म = अध्यात्म.
Adhi(अधि) means over/upon/concerning and Aatm(आत्म) means the self/soul;
Adhyatma can be defined as : आत्मनि अधि इति अध्यात्म ।
....the Sanskrit scriptures have a very precise definition of the word spirituality (adhyatma): "aatmani adhi iti adhyatma", meaning all that which is performed in accordance with the wishes of the soul (aatma)is spirituality.
From Bhagavad Gita, 8.3 : अक्षरं ब्रह्म परमं स्वभावोऽध्यात्ममुच्यते । means:
The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called adhyātma, the self.
The word "Spiritual" means about "concerning the spirit".
AdhyAtma is indwelling in the self or our own nature which is also called as svabhAv. From Bhagvat Geeta Chapter 8.3.
The Brahman is the highest indestructible, AdhyAtman is explained to be the continuous flow of consciousness (svabhAva). Action is the name given to the creative force (visarga) that brings the variety of beings into existence.
Now, AchArya Abhinavgupta comments on this verse in this way-
...The word svabhAva is the state of being (bhAva) which never ceases (sva) and is expressed by the word consciousness. Therefore the word svabhAva means
continuous flow of consciousness.
The translation which I have, which I find appealing, merge svabhAv & adhyAtma to denote non duality in our own being & the Brahman. Because in 7.29 AdhyAtma is said to be Brahman as well & this translation & commentary adjoining these two words - svabhAva & adhyAma as the continuous outflow of consciousness. Continuous outflow of consciousness is nothing but indwelling in our own real nature, considering ourselves distinct from the body & mind.
Those who strive for release from old age and death, taking refuge in Me, they fully know the Brahman, the highest self (AdhyAtma) and all about action. 7.29
Note that - the verse numbers might be different because the BG I have, has more verses & some different sanskrit verses.
aksharam paramam brahma, svabhava adhyatmam uchyate . . . param /para is very interesting word. people say para means supreme/highest and in some places people make it beyond, even transcendental....but para is same as in english para-trooper, para-medic, para-chute where it is used as parallel. adhyatma difficult to translate but can be approximated as 'core-atma', so here goes,
indestructible parallel brahma, own-nature is adhyatma (core-atma)is said
brahma is indestructible, parallel (same yet appearing different) and thus it is also svabhava, our own nature/existence. if one looks at all the places in bhagavad gita where para or accusative param is and uses parallel, it shows a totally different picture ... of parallel dimensions . . . ॐ shanti shanti