What does Hindu scriptures say about soul (atman) and it's innate characteristics?

  1. Can a jivatma have ambitions/emotions/fear/love ?
  2. How will these characteristics be reflected in his incarnations?
  3. In what way does a atman overcome such ambitions and prepare for moksha?
  • the difference between jivatma (us) and paramatma (God) is that while we are entagled in fear/ambitions/emotions, etc. Paramatma is blemishless and absolute. The distinction between jivatma and paramatma is because of the presence of the Mind or the Ego. the mind says 'i want this, I want that' while the ego says 'i am this, i am that'. This desire and the attachment is the cause of all sorrow. Thus one who has realized that this person (body) that we call 'I' is not the real me and the real me is blemish-less, immortal and absolute. That is moksha. Reference drbass.com/vivekananda.html
    – Sai
    Oct 10, 2014 at 21:49
  • I'm not asking about difference between Jivatma and Paramatma. Please read my question again. I'm asking about reincarnation and the changes which happen in an atman in various janma. Oct 10, 2014 at 22:12
  • hehe u asked can a jivatma have ambitions, etc. didnt you? I said yes jivatma has, while paramatma hasn't. Its not irrelevant! As for reincarnation, I'm sure there is another question for that on here, I will provide a link for the same. Also you asked in what way does atman overcome such ambitions and prepare for moksha, didnt you. Im saying that by reaching the state of paramatma, which is desireless, and unattached, the atman realizes its true identity, which is moksha :). I did read your question right, no worries. Probably I should have worded comment differently! Hope its clear now
    – Sai
    Oct 10, 2014 at 22:15
  • Please add the above comment as an answer, so people can upvote. Oct 11, 2014 at 6:37
  • As mentioned I haven't included the exact references in the Geetha. I'll be adding them soon. But if you need reference for anything specific, do let me know. I'll be able to quickly give you the right shloka. There are only 700 shlokas anyway. So, not a big deal to search. Hope your questions were answered to some extent :)
    – Srinivas K
    Mar 24, 2015 at 2:10

1 Answer 1


I will keep borrowing heavily from Sri Ramana Maharishi for answering this question because otherwise the simplicity is lost with verbiage. I will also use some examples that helped me in my Self-Inquiry. And for the rest of the answer where I use the word "you" / "your" it points to any "individual" and nothing makes it more effective that using these two words.

Atman is verily what you call your Self. It is pure Consciousness / Awareness. It is the source within you. It has no other attributes.

You are identified with the body and the mind (ego) and hence you think you are limited. When you transcend this body / mind complex, you'll see you are pure awareness.

  1. Ambitions, love, fear etc. are all extensions of desire. Desire comes from ignorance - of the fact that by nature (as your true Self) you are complete. The incompleteness stems from identifying with the body, mind, ego and are not attributes of the Self (Atman).

  2. These vikaras (deformities) keep coming with the individual unless the individual tries to overcome these with Sadhana. Time and space are no bar. Every night is followed by day but you are the same as you were yesterday.

  3. The need to overcome these deformities is not of the Self. It is of the ego. This is because at some point you get bored with the things happening to you day in and out. You see it is going in cycles (Samsaara). Even things that bring happiness (Sukha) to you cannot give you permanent happiness but can only give you sadness in their absence. For instance if I like an ice cream, I can only have a limited amount. If I attempted to eat Kilograms of it, it'd cause me immense trouble (Dukha).

And when you are aghast that it happens so frequently, you naturally progress to question how you can somehow attain more permanent happiness. This innate seeking is what leads you to find out the true cause of your sadness and find means of liberating yourself (Moksha).

So the point remains that until you find your real Self, bliss keeps evading because bliss is only found in Silence (of the mind).

References: https://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/resource_centre/publications/ - Talks with Ramana Maharshi.


  1. I read a physical copy of this book back in 2013 and gifted it to someone. So I cannot produce references right now because whatever I know as of today came from intense Self-Inquiry from those insightful words.
  2. If this answer is downvoted, kindly leave a comment indicating reasons for the same.

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