Supersoul & Paramatma

The Supersoul, or Paramatma, is a partial representation of the Supreme Person who oversees and sanctions all that goes on within the material world. Paramatma is within each atom and each living entity, accompanying the individual atma (soul) throughout each of our lifetimes in material bodies, and helping us fulfill our individual destinies and desires.

In the Thirteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna explains how He, as the Supersoul, simultaneously exists in the hearts of all beings as the well-wishing friend of everyone, the witness to all activities, the maintainer of all things, and the supreme controller within the universe.

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The Upanishads give an allegory explaining our relationship to the Supersoul. Two birds are sitting in a tree. One bird is anxiously eating the tree’s fruits, while other bird is calmly watching him. We’re the anxious bird, and the witness bird is the Supersoul, or Superself.

We can perceive the presence of the Supersoul as the action of intelligence. When we can identify objects when they come into view, make plans and follow through with them, and understand the difference between matter and spirit – we’re receiving guidance from the Supersoul. As Srila Prabhupada says in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam, 2.2.35:

“Every living being has his intelligence, and this intelligence, being the direction of some higher authority, is just like a father giving direction to his son. The higher authority, who is present and residing within every individual living being, is the Superself.”

The top painting shows how Krishna is present in every living entity. The middle painting (“Read More” view) illustrates the Upanishads’ allegory of Supersoul and the individual soul as two birds.