We generally regard the term "Chaitanya" (चैतन्य) for liveliness or the force responsible to carry out lively activities. And the soul as part of Parabramha or Supreme soul (परब्रह्म).

My questions are -

1) Are "Chaitanya" (चैतन्य) and "Soul" (आत्मा) same or different?

2) If different , what are the differences?

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    Chaitanya means consciousness, while soul is an english word which could mean anything depending on the context. Sometimes soul is used to refer to subtle body. Sometimes soul denotes the jiva. Sometimes Soul refers to the Highest Brahman. Chaitanya means consciousness, whereas Soul can be translated into Sukshma Sharira (Subtle body), Jiva (Individuality), Atman, Brahman or Paramatman. I dont believe soul is usually used in same context as Chaitanya (or consciousness). All the best.
    – Sai
    Jul 7 '16 at 15:05
  • @Sai the question is - whether Chaitanya and Atman are same or different?
    – user9392
    Sep 10 '17 at 4:53
  • @SwiftPushkar You must edit your question by replacing soul with Atman, to remove confusion.
    – user9392
    Sep 10 '17 at 4:55

Atman is defined as:

सच्चिदानन्द स्वरुप
Sacchidananda Swarupa
Form of Sat, Chid and Aananda

Sat swarupa means pure existence.

Chid swarupa means pure consciousness.

Aananda swarupa means infinite blissfull state.

Chid Swarupa ie. Consciousness ie., Chaitanya Swarupa.

So, Chaitanya and Soul aren't exactly same. Chaitanya is one of the state of Atman, the other states being pure existence and infinite bliss.

  • The word chaitanya possibly have two meanings 1) living force 2) state of atman (as you have said). But being a state of atman means both are same , is it not? . And in opposite Why chaitany is not a seprate term , as one is related to action or living which we can experience , and another (atman) which we cant experience, and mostely used in spiritual tetms. Jul 7 '16 at 9:09
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    @SwiftPushkar Living force is due to manifestation of Chid swarupa of Atman... Anatman things can't have Chaitanya/ Living force...so Atman is necessary for having living force... one which has chaitanya must necessarily have Atman in it...
    – Tezz
    Jul 7 '16 at 9:35

There are infinite energies of the Absolute (ananta), but they can all be divided into spiritual and material. Spiritual have at least some freedom, material are totally predictable, with zero freedom. Hari-nāma-cintāmani uses the terms "cit" and "acit" respectively to refer to them.

"cit" means "consciousness" and "chaitanya" means "one endowed with consciousness".

"ātmā" means "self" and also has the connotation of atomicity, as the basic unit of something. The usual meaning of "ātmā" is "soul" or the smallest indivisible fragment of spiritual energy, but in various contexts "ātmā" can refer to the body, the mind, the soul or the supreme soul (which are 4 different concepts).

For most practical purposes both terms are synonymous (and also synonymous with "jīva"), but they are stressing a different aspect of the soul.


Chaitanya is the collection of the chita. Much like the waves of the ocean. Each wave represents a thought,which the self consciousness is experiencing. The persona is a sum collection and displays these attributes in the world. A deeper understanding of the manas as compared to the character of the self will enhance the true realization. Chitta is a sub set in to which our desires flow and chaitanya is developed. With passage of time,the currents change and so do the chaithanya, I believe.

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    Welcome to Hinduism SE! Please add sources. See guidelines for new users.
    – The Destroyer
    Sep 10 '17 at 5:19

As for the soul, it's timeless,is a passive spectator,assumes the role as such,devoid of right or wrong. To even connect it to chaitanya,much less chita,I feel may not be appropriate.chaithanya is confined to one's lifetime. Comparison therefore is not correct. A total of karmas arising out of the waves of chita,are dealt with as prescribed in scriptures,say like Garuda Puranam.Hindus pray for salvation. Some are not reborn.Do such souls have chaithanya is again a question which is not easy to answer.

  • 2
    You shouldn't post multiple answers if they are similar. Please combine your answers.
    – The Destroyer
    Sep 10 '17 at 5:20

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