Kim: As far as I can gather, the self/no-self thing, Buddhism was denying that you're the ātman, I think. Could you perhaps say something about that?
Amogha: He's asking about the conception of denial of the self.
Kim: Of the ātman, yes.
Amogha: Ātman. The finishing of ātman.
Prabhupāda: Hmm. So how can you deny ātman?
Kim: In Hindu philosophy, what is the nature of the ātman?
Prabhupāda: Nature of ātman is eternal. Eternity, knowledge and blissfulness. Ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt: (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12) ātmā is joy, ānanda, blissful.
Kim: I've read some of the Upaniṣads where they say that ātman is Brahman?
Prabhupāda: Why have I placed this flower here? Why do I like this flower? What is the reason?
Kim: Because it's beautiful, perhaps?
Prabhupāda: Yes, therefore you want to enjoy. This is the nature of ātmā. I want to enjoy. This is blissfulness. Then, why are you trying to become a philosopher?
Kim: For understanding.
Prabhupāda: Yes, therefore knowledge. Why do you not like to die? Because you are eternal. Therefore ātmā's nature is eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. This is knowledge. Sat cit ānanda. Do you know Sanskrit?
Kim: No, but some words.
Prabhupāda: That is ātmā's nature. Sat cit ānanda. Eternal, full of knowledge, and blissful.
Kim: A question. Is there, is it the ātman...
Prabhupāda: Just hear.
Kim: Ātman is attached to each person?
Prabhupāda: Just hear.
Amogha: He says hear for a moment.
Kim: I'm listening, of course.
Prabhupāda: Ātmā's nature. One question should be understood, thoroughly. You have asked what is the nature of ātmā. The ātmā's nature is that he is eternal. He never dies. Never takes birth. He is already existing. Just like, you were a child, you were a baby. The body is no longer existing. Your childhood body is no longer existing, but you know that you were a child. You remember your childhood days. Therefore, you are different from the body. The body is passed away, but you remember that you had a body like that. Therefore you exist. You know that you'll become an old man. So this body will not exist. Another body you will get, old age body. Therefore you will exist; the body will change. Now try to understand this fact first of all, and if you cannot understand, ask questions.
Kim: The ātman, there is one to a person, or there is only one ātman?
Prabhupāda: You are ātmā, I am ātmā, we are not one. You are individual, I am individual. I don't agree with you, you don't agree with me. So how one?
Kim: I beg your pardon?
Prabhupāda: How it is one?
Amogha: He says that you are individual and he is individual, so how can they be one?
Kim: How can they be one? I see. Yes. I was wondering how the ātman is associated with each individual. Is it the... Isn't it right to say the person is the ātman?
Kim: The person is the ātman. And to each person there is one ātman associated.
Prabhupāda: You are a person and I am a person. You are changing bodies and I am changing bodies.
Kim: And through all the changes there is the ātman that continues.
Prabhupāda: Who is here first of all? You are a person. I am a person. You are hearing, I am speaking. We are two persons. So why you say one?
Kim: Two bodies.
Prabhupāda: Yes, two bodies, just like two dresses. You are differently dressed, I am differently dressed, but that does not mean that we are one. We are one as ātmā. Just like you are Australian, I am Indian, but as human being we are one. But as Australian, as Indian, we are different. Therefore we are one and different at the same time.
Kim: Is the ātman...
Prabhupāda: Ātmā as spirit soul is one.
Kim: Is one.
Prabhupāda: But as individual soul they are different.
Kim: And the ātman is just with respect to consciousness, or can we talk about...
Kim: ...an ātman without consciousness.
Prabhupāda: Consciousness is the symptom of ātmā. Because the ātmā is within your body, therefore your consciousness is there. Now, because the ātmā is within the body, if I pinch or if you pinch my body, I feel pains and pleasures. As soon as the ātmā is not there, it will be cut with a chopper, there is no protest. So, that ātmā is present within this body, that is understood by the presence of consciousness. Just like we are here in this room, but this light is the reflection of the sunshine. We understand there is sun in the sky. The light and heat we are feeling, that means the sun is in the sky. Similarly, our consciousness and knowledge, etc., are there, that means that the ātmā is there. The same ātmā, when it will go out of this body, there will be no more consciousness, no more knowledge, no more feelings of pains and pleasures.