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It may be that Hinduism should more properly referred to as Vedanta, and that Indian philosophy should be more properly referred to as Vedic philosophy because of these roots in the Vedas.
In the Vaiseshika School, there are four eternal substances: time, space, mind, and atman.
Atman is described, in this philosophy, as a collection of many eternal, spiritual substances.
The final stage of moksha (liberation) is the understanding that one's atman is, in fact, Brahman.
The concept of the atman is central to all six major schools of Hinduism, and it is one of the major differences between Hinduism and Buddhism.
According to the Upanishads, atman and Brahman are part of the same substance; atman returns to Brahman when the atman is finally liberated and is no longer reincarnated. All six accept the reality of the atman, and each stresses the importance of "knowing atman" (self-knowledge), but each interprets the concepts slightly differently.
This return, or reabsorption into Brahman, is called moksha. In general, atman is understood to be: The Nyaya School includes many scholars whose ideas have had an impact on other schools of Hinduism.
Non-dual Hindus, by contrast, believe that individual atmans are Brahman; as a result, all atmans are essentially identical and equal.
The Western concept of the soul envisions a spirit which is specifically linked to an individual human being, with all of his or her particularity (gender, race, personality).
Atman is also a major topic of discussion in the Upanishads.
The Upanishads, written between the eighth and sixth centuries BC, are dialogues between teachers and students focusing on metaphysical questions about the nature of the universe. Many address the atman, explaining that atman is the essence of all things; it cannot be understood intellectually but can be perceived through meditation. There are six major schools of Hinduism: Nyaya, Vaisesika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta.