From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Ātmānātma-viveka literally means ‘discrimination between the Self and the non-Self’.

The Vedānta system of Indian philosophy considers the Brahman/Ātman Principle as the only or the Supreme Reality. All other things, perceived or unperceived, are its manifestations, or even subservient to it. The primary purpose of life is to realize this Reality as our true Self.

But all efforts of doing so are being negated by inordinate attachment to our body-mind complex. Hence this attachment is to be attenuated and ultimately got rid of by sādhana-catuṣṭaya or the fourfold discipline. Ātmānātma-viveka heads this list. It consists of separation (viveka) of the ātman (Self) from all that is anātman (not-Self). The body, the sense-organs, the vital airs, the mind, the intellect, the egoism - none of these is the ātman and hence are fit to be brushed aside. Such discrimination and logical thinking gradually leads to the next higher modes of sādhanā and ultimately to the direct experience of the ātman.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore