I've read that a small portion of the infinite spirit Brahman, becomes embodied. This embodied portion is called Atman. So does Atman reincarnate or goes from one body to another?

Again, if Brahman or Atman is all pervasive and present everywhere, then why would it even change bodies?

Here's v2.22 of Gita. Says it's the individual naraha which changes bodies. Not sure if naraha and atman are the same thing. Need some serious answers. Thank you.

vaasaamsi jeernaani yathaa vihaaya navaani grihnaati naroparaani | tathaa shareeraani vihaaya jeernaanyanyaanisamyaati navaani dehee || 22 ||

Just as an individual will discard old clothes and wears new one, so does the body-dweller discard old bodies and obtain other new bodies.

vaasaamsi : clothes

jeernaani : old

yathaa : just like

vihaaya: discard

navaani : new

grihnaati : wears

naraha : individual

aparaani: other

tathaa : so does

shareeraani : bodies

vihaaya : discard

jeernaani : old

ayanyaani : other

samyaati : obtains

navaani : new

dehee : body-dweller

  • First are we aware of presence of God/Brahman everywhere? To our induviuality we have just theortical knowledge about Brahman. Once theory is converted to practical realization, you become infinite and thus, you need not take another body. Thus, until practical realization comes about Brahman, you will be finite. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 2:27
  • Did i alter the meaning of ur question with my edit? If yes, kindly edit it once again. @Dest
    – Rickross
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 6:12
  • No it's fine@Rickross. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 6:22
  • @AkshayKumar, The advaita people claim that it's the reflection or jiva which changes bodies. So in what way the space inside the pot, the Atman is different from the reflection jiva. Can someonw explain? Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 6:38
  • @DestinationParavyom "So in what way the space inside the pot, " - excellent question. Soon we'll find one of answers with scriptures soon! Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 10:12

3 Answers 3


Nothing happens after death to the atman which is merely a witness. It is the physical body of the Jiva, the embodied Atman,that is affected by death. Check Gita 2.17-2.22 for the answer to your question. For example, Gita 2.22 says,

'Just as a man gives up old garments and puts on new ones, so the embodied self abandons decrepit bodies and assumes new ones.'

Gita 2.22

What happens immediately after death? The answer is given in Gita 15.8 which says,

When he gets a new body or abandons an old one, the Jiva, the lord of the body, moves, carrying them (the mind and the senses) with him, as the wind carries smells from their seats (in flowers and the like).

Gita 15.8

What this means is that the physical body dies but the mind and the senses. constituent of the subtle body, leave the physical body. It is the Jiva that moves and not the Atman.

  • so upon Moksha - the Jiva merges to atman? And Atman to Paramatma? Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 15:30
  • @PradipGangopadhyay, It is normally believed in India that Atman resides inside a creature and Atman changes bodies like clothes. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 17:17
  • I've never been so confused before. Terms like jiva, jivatman, atman is making me dizzy. Crimson says it changes but Pradip says it doesn't. I looked up on google and quora and it gets even tough since one says this n the other says that. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 18:13
  • Pradip, If the subtle jiva is the embodied atman as you say, then how on earth does jiva move on and not the atman. The atman too surely goes along with the subtle jiva. Please be clear about it. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 19:10
  • don't get dizzy :-) . Atman is never bonded at paramarthik satta level, neither does any duality exists at that satta. On vyavhaarik satta level, jiva is bonded; but atman is just under maya that it is bonded as jiva, though it is not bonded as illusion does not exists at paramaarthik satta.
    – zaxebo1
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 3:52

In non-duality there is nothing but atman. Duality is illusion. We have created the sense of body, sense of surroundings and so on. Unless this sense of perception is destroyed and taken to higher levels, we shall continue to be governed by the law of karma. When we are no longer bound by karma, we realise that we are atman, and that all this while we deluded ourselves with the small idea of I and mine. When this sense is there, migration and reincarnation must follow. Only when such limits are surpassed is non duality achieved.

  • What do you mean by the word Atman. The space inside the jar or outside the jar? What is the space inside the jar called? Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 17:24
  • There is no jar. It is your sense of viewing phenomena as many, which creates the jar of separation. It is atman throughout. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 17:33
  • You're speaking of the paramarthika satya of advaita philosophy. It says, ALL IS BRAHMAN. But I want to know about the specific terms like JIVA, JIVATMAN and ATMAN that are used in the vyavaharika condition. The condition we're experiencing right now with nama and rupa. One needs to know the meaning of these 3 terms. If one says all is Brahman. Then it's incomplete knowledge. I want to know what those three terms mean, how they are different from each other and what is the spirit inside the body called? Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 18:28
  • Jiva is one point in the universal soul/ Brahman/Atman. Jivataman, the soul acting through the body thinks he is the body on account of ignorance created by himself. When his sense of action and reaction transcends the physical body, he accesses the causal and mental bodies. When he breaks past the 5 koshas (sheaths), he realises and experiences oneness with the Brahman. Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 1:24
  • Welcome to Hinduism StackExchange! You should cite some sources.
    – Pandya
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 1:49

Atman can not be killed It cannot be cut. It cannot be burned. Atman is eternal.

It goes from one body to another, take different forms. From Bhagwad Geeta.

atman, is indestructible and eternal (2.18). It neither slays, nor can it be slain (2.19). It is never, born and it never dies. After coming into existence, it never ceases to be. It is nitya (always), sasvatah (permanent) and purana (very ancient) (2.20). It does not suffer, nor can it be tainted. At the time of death it does not die, but leaves the body and enters a new one (2.22). Weapons cannot pierce it, fire cannot burn it, water cannot moisten it and wind cannot dry it (2.23). It is impenetrable, incombustible, all pervading, stable and immobile (2.24). It is invisible, imperceptible and immutable (2.25).

The most important thing is never confuse atman with the soul.

Soul is something which is only in humans, it is debated weather it is women or black people.

Whereas atman is in every living being, its in every animal, its in every living organism. There are more differences between two but this is just basics.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad[edit] The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad describes Atman as that in which everything exists, which is of the highest value, which permeates everything, which is the essence of all, bliss and beyond description.[27] In hymn 4.4.5, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad describes Atman as Brahman (universal absolute; supreme soul), and associates it with everything one is, everything one can be, one's free will, one's desire, what one does, what one doesn't do, the good in oneself, the bad in oneself.

That Atman (self, soul) is indeed Brahman. It [Ātman] is also identified with the intellect, the Manas (mind), and the vital breath, with the eyes and ears, with earth, water, air, and ākāśa (sky), with fire and with what is other than fire, with desire and the absence of desire, with anger and the absence of anger, with righteousness and unrighteousness, with everything — it is identified, as is well known, with this (what is perceived) and with that (what is inferred). As it [Ātman, self, soul] does and acts, so it becomes: by doing good it becomes good, and by doing evil it becomes evil. It becomes virtuous through good acts, and vicious through evil acts. Others, however, say, "The self is identified with desire alone. What it desires, so it resolves; what it resolves, so is its deed; and what deed it does, so it reaps.

— Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5, 9th century BCE[28]

  • 1
    Not at all helpful. Read your own post what you've written and you'll know why. Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 18:21
  • Well the question is related to non-dualism. BG reference not gonna help here.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 20:01
  • 1
    @TheLittleNaruto, BG is not the issue here. He says that Atman doesn't reincarnates and right after that, in the next sentence says it goes from one body to other. I think he has no clue what reincarnation is. What i wanted to know was, if Brahman inside and outside the pot is the same spirit, infinite and present everywhere, what need is there for that endless infinite spirit to change body? Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 6:15
  • I might not be able to explain what I understand, but if you want to understand ( @DestinationParavyom ) . I can point you in the right direction, You have look for tridosha and how and why universe was created. It has many more complications. Dosha means impurity, some disturbance due to which universe was created. So they are called tridosha, the three impurities, due to which whole universe is created. Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 13:30

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