The word ātmā

English: Birch-bark manuscript. 62 folios. Dat...

It’s such an interesting Sanskrit word, ātmā, used in so many fascinating ways  and worked into so many amazing compound phrases. Here’s one in particular that inspired this post as a part of the process of unraveling it.

ātmātmany ātmanātmānam

– SB 2.6.39

This compound phrase uses the word ātmā four times, with four different endings.

(1) ātmā (2) ātmani (3) ātmanā (4) ātmānam

The basic word, ātmā (or ātman), means “the individually distinct entity,” aka, the self.

Ātmani means, to/into the self.

Ātmanā means by the self.

Ātmānam is possessive, it means one’s own.

Therefore, this phrase, “ātmātmany ātmanātmānam” – spoken by Brahmā when describing the transcendental position of the Incarnations of the Supreme Being – means:

“His self is within himself, created by and composed of only himself”

This statement is raised in reference to the doubt that an incarnation of the Supreme might be a conditioned projection of the true identity of the supreme being. This establishes that the Supreme is never conditioned – wherever and whenever he manifests himself, he does so fully, purely, and without finitude or dichotomy to his original nature.


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