“Atman: (Sans, ‘vital breath; self; soul’) In Hinduism, the internal essence of the single individual. From the Upanishads onward, it is implicitly identified with Brahman, the all-pervasive world spirit. Recognition of the union of atman and brahman through a variety of behaviors is the central element in achieving moksha, the release from the cycle of birth and rebirth.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.