Sunday, November 04, 2012

Jiva (जीव, jeev, jiwa, jeeva)

When you consider yourself as an individual self, living within your body then you are an individual “Jiva”. There are billions of people on earth & billions of different creatures living on earth in their individual bodies. All these individual souls living in different bodies are called different “Jivas”. So each person is an individual “Jiva” as per Hindu philosophy.
In Hinduism Jiva or (जीव, jeev, jiwa, jeeva) is the immortal essence (individual soul) of a living organism (human, animal, fish or plant etc.) which survives physical death. It is somewhat similar to atma, but whereas atma refers to "the cosmic self", “Jiva” is used to denote an individual 'living entity' or 'living being' specifically. The terms Paramatma and jivatma are used to avoid this confusion. Jivás, originates from the Sanskrit word with the root jīv- which means “to breathe”. So a soul in a body which breathes is called a “Jiva”.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the “Jiva” is described as everlasting, unchangeable, eternal, numberless, indestructible and eternally the same. “Jiva” is not a product of the material world (Prakrti), but of a higher 'spiritual' nature. When physical body dies, the Jiva takes a new physical body depending on the karmas done by that Jiva in previous births.

"apareyam itas tv anyam
prakritim viddhi me param
Jiva-bhutam maha-baho
yayedam dharyate jagat" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Seven verse 5)

Sri Krishna said : Besides these, O Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities. (All living entities belong to the superior nature (or energy) of the Supreme Lord. The inferior energy is matter manifested in different elements, namely earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego.)

As per Sri Brahma-Samhita :
"sa nityo nitya-sambandhah,
prakritis ca paraiva sa"

The same Jiva is eternal and is for eternity and without a beginning joined to the Supreme Lord by the tie of an eternal kinship. He is transcendental spiritual potency.

Lord Sri Krishna is the Supreme Lord & just like the sun is eternally associated with his rays so the transcendental God Sri Krishna is eternally joined with the “Jivas”. The jivas are the infinitesimally small particles of His spiritual effulgence and are, therefore, not perishable like mundane things. “Jivas”, being part of Divine Lord’s effulgent rays, exhibit on a minute scale the divine qualities of God. So“Jivas” are identical with the qualities of Lord. Though Lord Krishna is the all powerful, all-pervading, all-extending Supreme Lord; but Jivas are confined to bodies only. When a Jiva meditates through devotion & merges with the Lord then only he attains to the Lord’s all powerful, all pervasive sublime nature.

Jai Sri Krishna


  1. thank you, your blogs are very inspiring and helpful.

  2. Is jivatwa the same as ego?