ātmaguṇa

(virtues [that help in manifesting] the Self’)

Hindu social legislators considered the life of man as an integral unit and prescribed several saṁskāras or sacraments to purify him in all aspects. However, these saṁskāras should not be performed mechanically but with due faith so that the eight general virtues called ‘ātmaguṇas’ can be induced in him. They are: sarvabhūtadayā (compassion towards all creatures), kṣānti (forbearance), anasūyatā (absence of jealousy), śauca (purity), anāyāsa (avoiding exertion), maṅgala (auspiciousness), akārpaṇya (large-heartedness) and aspṛhatā (absence of covetousness).

This list of eight ātmaguṇas differs from author to author. Other virtues included in such lists are: satya (truth), ārjava (straightforwardness), dāna (giving gifts), ahiṁsā (non-injury), śama (peace of mind), dama (self-control) and dhṛti (courage).

The Chāndogya Upaniṣad (8.7) has listed eight guṇas or qualities natural to the Ātman as follows: He is apahata-pāpmā (free from sins), vijara (free from decrepitude), vimṛtyu (deathless), viśoka (without sorrow), vijighatsa (free from hunger), apipāsa (free from thirst), satyakāma (of unfailing desires), and satyasaṅkalpa (of unfailing will).