The Universal Soul in The Parable of the Chariot, Katha Upanishad 3.3-3.12

The Universal Soul in The Parable of the Chariot, Katha Upanishad 3.3-3.12

Length: 1170 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Universal Soul in The Parable of the Chariot, Katha Upanishad 3.3-3.12

The word “Atman” is translated into English as “soul” or “self.” Yet Atman in Hinduism has a much richer meaning than our standard western concept of soul. For example, Atman is understood as divine and equivalent to Brahman, the ultimate reality. Each person’s Atman is the same, and each is identical with Brahman. Therefore Atman could also be translated, “Universal Soul,” “Eternal Soul,” or “All-Soul.” The Katha Upanishad speaks at length about the nature of Atman, how one might attain to it and thereby attain to Brahman. Attainment to Atman is dependent on the control of those aspects of the person that are transitory and not eternal like Atman; these include the body, the mind, the intellect and the senses. The parable of the chariot in the Katha Upanishad illustrates the nature of Atman by means of an allegory. According to this parable, the way to Brahman is through Atman; the way to Atman is through control of the body, the senses, the mind, and the intellect. Each of these aspects of the person, including Atman itself, is likened to some part of the chariot. It is thus shown that Atman or the soul is what gives the body purpose and life, and that control of the mind and the senses results in a knowledge of the universal soul and, likewise, ultimate reality.

The parable of the chariot begins simply with a basic comparison between two opposite aspects of a person, body and soul (Katha Upanishad, 3.3):

Know thou the soul (atman, self) as riding in a chariot,
The body as the chariot.

In this passage the soul is not only shown in control of the body but also protected by it and dependent on it for its interaction with the world...

... middle of paper ...

That Soul (Atman, Self) shines not forth,
But He is seen by subtle seers
With superior, subtle intellect.

The parable of the chariot shows that Atman is the supreme entity among the many parts that make up the person, yet it also shows that the various parts have relationships with and dependencies on one another. Through the subordination of the many parts to Atman, we may come to know Atman, the royal passenger in the chariot. All the aspects of the person which are not Atman (body, mind, etc.) give us the impression that we are unique individuals. Only by subordinating these things to Atman do we see otherwise. We all suffer from the illusion that we are distinct, yet when we begin to see that we all are in fact the same, then we begin to know Atman and therefore Brahman as well.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The And Of The Soul Essay

- In this passage, when referring to pathe/affections of the soul, Aristotle is talking about emotions, such as pain, fear, desire, and pleasure, and arguably, perception. Whenever we get angry, happy, upset, etc., there is also a simultaneous change in our bodies. Moreover, a pathe of soul is common to that which has soul. This means that attributes of soul are with body. Understanding what this means can be best done in juxtaposition with human activity. For example, when I say that some activity is done that my sister and I do in common, this does not exclude both of us participating in this activity independently....   [tags: Mind, Soul, Psychology, Human body]

Strong Essays
1390 words (4 pages)

The Body And The Soul Essay examples

- The Soul The topic of this paper is the soul. In this paper I will be discussing how the soul exists, what the purpose is and the difference between the body and the soul. Most people define the soul as the spiritual part of a human being or animal considered to be immortal. I do believe it differs from the actual body and that it continues to live on after the body is gone. I believe that there is a soul, because that is what I was taught in church. The Bible has taught me there is a body and the soul is the life and personality that fills the body....   [tags: Soul, Spirit, Mind, Psychology]

Strong Essays
1041 words (3 pages)

Defending Planned Parenthood : An Ambitious Writer By The Name Of `` Katha Pollitt

- Defending Planned Parenthood I read this article about defending Planned Parenthood, from an ambitious writer by the name of “Katha Pollitt.” It addressed certain newsworthy issues that have raised questions as to which is right and which is wrong, yet we have not come to a nationwide consensus of abortions. Reason being, is that there are too many issues that are easily misunderstood or misconstrued that it makes it difficult for any one side to win. We could dwell deep into the rooted issues at hands, yet however with time constraints we look into the issues presented in the essay mentioned above, to deconstruct, analyze and to explore alternative ways to defend Planned Parenthood....   [tags: Abortion, Pregnancy, Katha Pollitt, Pro-choice]

Strong Essays
990 words (2.8 pages)

Emily Dickinson 's The Soul Essay

- Born in Massachusetts during the early 19th century, Emily Dickinson came from a well-educated upper-middleclass family. Although her family was well known for being sociable and engaging in community activity, Dickinson is portrayed as an introvert. Although shy, Dickinson greatly expressed her feelings on paper and her writing style is extremely unique. After reading multiple pieces by Dickinson I began to notice a similar pattern. She never titled any of her poems so the first line of each poem is now thought to be a title, she liked to use dashes to break up major thoughts for a dramatic pause, she uses slant rhyme, personification, and alliteration throughout all of her poetry, and last...   [tags: Soul, Life, Poetry, Immortality]

Strong Essays
1436 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Plato’s Theories on the Immortal Soul

- Plato was a famous Greek philosopher, dating back almost two and a half millennia. He was one of the first philosophers to question a systematic approach to creating the perfect society, requiring knowledge of human nature and the flaws it contains. He also was the first to experiment in democracy. Plato was a firm believer in the immortal soul. He theorized that the soul was divided into three parts: appetite, spirit, and reason. Reason, being the most important, should rule over the other two....   [tags: Greek Philosopher, Soul, Tripartite Theory]

Strong Essays
1482 words (4.2 pages)

Essay on The Soul And The Body

- It seems that there is one thing that most ancient Greeks can agree on, and that is the existence of the human soul. The obviousness of the soul’s existence could be related to the Latin word for soul, anima, which also means spirit, breath, and life. We also get the word animate from anima, something that is animated has the ability to move of its own accord. It follows from this that humans, being living things with the ability to move of their own accord, have souls. Though there is no disagreement about the existence of souls, the views of human souls vary....   [tags: Soul, Metaphysics, Life, Spirit]

Strong Essays
1603 words (4.6 pages)

The Belief Of The Soul Essay

- The Belief of the Soul in Judaism and Christianity For centuries great philosophers and Church Fathers have influenced our view on the human soul; Plato in the Phaedo, Aristotle in the De Anima. Fast forward to modern society, soul is often referred to as deep human emotion or nature such as in soul music or soul food. However despite this coined definition somewhat relating to the true essence of the soul, there is a much more deeper and richer understanding from the viewpoint of religions. Despite Christianity being a religion stemming from Judaism, and establishing their own views and doctrines, there are evident similarities regarding the human soul....   [tags: Soul, Life, Immortality, Death]

Strong Essays
1245 words (3.6 pages)

The Immorality of the Soul Essay

- Immorality of the Soul Is the human soul mortal or immortal. With death does one fall into nothingness or does one survive death, passing into another way of existing. This is a question that has agitated thought for ages. There is something within all human beings that lives on forever. Even when death is upon us, the soul of a human being never dies. Thus, we arrive at the statement that the human soul is immortal. The purpose of this paper is to explain how the human soul is immortal through analyzing various philosophies....   [tags: human, soul, life, society]

Strong Essays
729 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on The Immortality Of The Soul

- Human beings are comprised of two separate entities, a body and a soul. The soul is immortal and cycles in nature and lives an infinite number of bodies. This paper will explore the immortality of the soul as discussed by Socrates in The Apology, Crito and Phaedo and significance of being a philosopher. The Apology is regarding Socrates defense of himself at the time of his trial. Socrates, a wise philosopher is brought in the courtroom and the Athenian jury convicts him on corrupting the youth of Athens and not believing in God....   [tags: Plato, Socrates, Soul, Life]

Strong Essays
2032 words (5.8 pages)

Essay about The Katha Upanashads of the Vedas

- The Katha Upanashads of the Vedas Understanding the Katha was at first a bit of a challenge for me, after I got through the first few paragraphs, I began to understand the deeper meaning that they try to convey. After I finished them I was filled with feelings of joy, understanding, complacency, and most importantly an overwhelming sense of unity. I know that to truly understand them in their entirety, it would require not only reading them countless times but also living every word of them. The first paragraph was interesting to me in the fact that Vajasrabasa believed he could get away with only sacrificing the most useless of his possessions....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
901 words (2.6 pages)