Its a fact that philosophical schools such as Advaita (non-dualism) see the “spirit, soul, self” within each living entity as being identical with Brahman – the Universal Soul.. Advaita school states that there is One Soul that connects and exists in all living beings, regardless of their shapes or forms, there is no distinction, no superior, no inferior, no separate devotee soul consciousness (Atman), no separate God consciousness (Brahman). The Oneness unifies all beings, there is divine in every being, and that all existence is a single Reality, state the Advaita Vedanta Hindus. (In contrast, devotional sub-schools of Vedanta such as Dvaita (dualism) differentiate between the individual Atma in living beings, and the Supreme Atma (Paramatma) as being separate.)
Advaita Vedanta philosophy considers úAtman as self-existent awareness, limitless and non-dual. To Advaitins, the Atman is the Brahman, the Brahman is the Atman, each Self is non-different from the infinite. Atman is the Universal Principle, omniscience, omnipresence and omnipower. Human beings, in a state of unawareness and ignorance of this Universal Self, see their “I-ness” as different than the being in others, then act out of impulse, fears, cravings, malice, division, confusion, anxiety, passions, and a sense of distinctiveness. Atman-knowledge, to Advaitins, is that state of full awareness, liberation and freedom which overcomes dualities at all levels.
Dvaita Vedanta, a subschool of Vedanta
Dvaita Vedanta calls the Atman of a Supreme Being as “Paramatman”, and holds it to be different from individual Atman. Dvaita scholars assert that God is the ultimate, complete, perfect but distinct Soul, one that is separate from incomplete, imperfect Jivas (individual souls). Advaita sub-school believes that Self-knowledge leads to liberation in this life, while Dvaita sub-school believes that liberation is only possible in after-life as communion with God, and only through the grace of God (if not, then one’s Atman is reborn). God created individual souls, state Dvaita Vedantins, but the individual soul never was and never will become one with God; the best it can do is to experience bliss by getting infinitely close to God.
Unity compared with Advaita Vedanta about Atman.
Unity Worlwide Ministries considers that the human being IS Spirit and has Soul and Body. By the fact that Advaita Vedanta considers Atman in human being and in the whole universe as divine, I feel that in Advaita Vedanta Atman is synonym with what Unity considers as Spirit.
Unity compared with Dvaita Vedanta about Atman
By the fact that Dvaita Vedanta considers Atman in human being and in the whole universe as less then divine, I feel that in Dvaita Vedanta Atman is synonym with what Unity considers as Soul. In Unity soul is considered as the expression of Spirit. Soul is the total of subconscious and subconscous minds.