Last Updated: April 17, 2016

Definition - What does Jiva mean?

Jiva is a Sanskrit term which translates as "an immortal living substance" or "an individual soul." In Hinduism, it is believed that jiva can survive physical death and find a new body afterward. The ancient Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita, describes jiva as unchanging, eternal, infinite and indestructible. Jiva is not an element of prakriti, or the material world, but is of a high spiritual nature.

Yogapedia explains Jiva

The term, jiva, has a similar meaning and is sometimes confused with the term, atma. The difference is that while atma is used in reference to the universal Self, jiva refers to the individual living substance of living beings.

According to the ancient Hindu texts, the goal of jiva is to become free from the material, achieving pure love of God, or the liberation of both happiness and suffering of the world.

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