anātman

(‘the not-self ’ or ‘the non-self ’)

‘Who am I?’, ‘Whence did this world originate?’—these are two of the important questions posed by philosophical inquirers. The Vedānta system of philosophy posits the view that the world has evolved out of the Ātman (the Self) and it is the same Ātman that is our real nature. Everything else is included under the term ‘anātman’. Though literally the external world with its myriads of objects is also anātman, the word is used more particularly to denote the body, the sense-organs and the mind which force us to identify ourselves with them, thereby forgetting our Ātman-nature.

See also ĀTMAN.