The word Paramatma is formed from two words, param, meaning `supreme` and atman meaning individual spirit or soul or self.
In the Hindu Puranas, Paramatma or Paramatman is the Supreme Soul or Spirit. Paramatma is one of the aspects of Brahman or Bhagavan. This is the divine self or the one object and is located in the heart of every individual or jiva in the macrocosm.
, Atman and Paramatma are compared to two birds sitting like friends on a tree. Atman eats its fruits, that is karma and Paramatma only observes his friend as a witness that is sakshi of his actions.
Paramatma is beyond knowledge and ignorance, devoid of all material attributes. In the Vaishnava texts for instance, in the Bhagavata Gita
, Paramatma it is described as four-armed Lord Vishnu
dwelling in the hearts of all beings and in every atom of matter. He is the administrator and the controller of their actions. He reminds the being how to act according to his advancement. Paramatma is different from five elements or mahabhutas, senses, mind, pradhana and jiva.
In the modern times the word Paramatma is universally used to refer to the Almighty, the God, interchangeably with Iswara or the Supreme Lord and Bhagavan. The word `Paramatma` perpetually summons the concept of the infinite, non-corporeal God in a monotheistic sense to today`s Hindus, even though Bhagavan etc. may be applied as epithets to many Devas or the demi-gods of Hinduism. Some, like the sect of Brahma Kumaris
, like to visualize Paramatma as a point of light.
In Advaita philosophy, there is a different concept of Paramatma. Here individual souls are called Jivatman, and the Highest Brahman is called Paramatma. The Jivatman and the Paramatma become one and the same when the Jivatman achieves the true knowledge of the Brahman.
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