Vedic scriptures contain a metaphorical story about jiva and atman becoming separated from each other. Using the image of two birds in a tree, the texts describe jiva's separation from atman and it's subsequent fall to the earthly world of birth, death, disease and old age.
The ultimate goal of the jiva-atman varies among the Hindu traditions, but is one of the following:
- Moksha - liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth
- Bhakti - obtaining pure, divine love
- Jivanmukta - Self-knowledge that provides liberation while living
Regardless of tradition, the practice of yoga can help a dedicated individual come closer to one of these three states by expanding their consciousness and creating a sense of harmony with the universe.