The Russian Doll of Hinduism in Ten Sanskrit Terms
Atman is the individual soul, the life-force within you. Your personality, your intellect, your emotions, are but the crust of who you are: the Atman is beyond all these, the life of your life. It is pure spirit that remains unchanged throughout all the changes that you will experience all through your life. It stays the same in your sleep and your waking state; it is the “me” that stays constant even as you move from babyhood to childhood to adolescence, through adulthood to old age, and then departs at your body’s death. Atman is the immutable witness to all these life stages, yet not defined by or confined to any one of them. It is the essence of who you are as a human being, pure, free, and unaffected by anything that occurs, a silent witness that watches through the body's senses, yet is not moved, either to happiness or sadness, based on what it sees.