When Lord Krishna was advising Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, Sri Krishna told that no one dies if we kill them.Those who are killed, start their journey as jiva and these jiva cannot be destroyed or created

The jiva who lost their body finds another body and start to live in it. If this cycle is repeated throughout the whole yugas, Isn't the number souls constant? If so what is that number?

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    Strongly related: Number of Jivatmas according to Vishishtadvaita ... Your Qn is good, but you should specify that by "soul" you mean Jiva / Purusha. That will avoid any confusion with the concept of Atma.
    – iammilind
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 4:41
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    duplicate. there are an infinite amount of souls.... Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 6:37
  • @SwamiVishwananda, nothing can be infinite. If "soul" is 'something', then it cannot be infinite. If the "soul" is 'nothing', then it can be infinite. The creation of "infinite something" will take "infinite time" (forever), which is not possible. But a cycle of Brahma has a finite time. It has to end and start again and run like that forever.
    – iammilind
    Commented Apr 15, 2018 at 10:12
  • @iammilind each individual cycle is limited in time, but those jivas that are liberated in the prior cycle are not reborn. Infinite - 1 billion = infinite. Infinite is infinite. you cannot take away or add to the infinite. And your logic is faulty. Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 12:33
  • @SwamiVishwananda, there is no difference between this cycle & prior cycles or next cycles. If there was a difference, then they won't be considered as 'cycle'. I have already clarified that 'jiva' cannot be 'something', because 'thing's cannot be infinite. Btw, what you refer as logic, I call it just a common sense. :-) This theory is well explained in the wiki article of "Eternal Return".
    – iammilind
    Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 1:28

1 Answer 1


There is NO reference of "soul" in the actual Bhagavad Gita translations!

"... and these jiva cannot be destroyed or created"

Probably due to ISKCON & few other translations, the famous notion of "soul is neither created nor destroyed" came into the popular culture.

However, during the discourse, Shri Krishna has not used the word jiva/soul except verse BG 15.7; And that context is also different. See the accepted answer of the below post:
Is every Jeeva "eternal" like the ultimate God (nirguna Brahman) or "temporary" within cycle?

Here are the actual translations:

BG 2.17 - But know, 'That' to be indestructible by which all this is pervaded. None can bring about the destruction of this Immutable.
BG 2.20 - Never is 'That' born, and never does 'That' die; nor is it that having come to exist, that will again cease to be. 'That' is birth-less, eternal, undecaying, ancient; 'That' is not killed when the body is killed.
BG 2.21 - O Partha, those who know, 'That' as indestructible, eternal, birthless and undecaying, how and whom does that person kill, or whom does he cause to be killed!
BG 2.22 - As after rejecting worn out clothes a man takes up other new ones, likewise after rejecting worn out bodies the 'embodied one' unites with other new ones.
--- from Gambhirananda's translations

'That' is referring to Atma (आत्म not आत्मा).
If you see these verses from ISKCON translations & few other translations, then you may find lots of reference of "soul", which is incorrect.

If "soul = Atma", then it is Not quantifiable

In the beginning of Gita (say chapter-2), Krishna was still acting as a rational person. Hence he referred the "Atma" as "That". Later, he established himself with the supreme one ("Brahman" or "Atma") and hence started rightly referring "Atma" as "Me". Here the "Me" was not individual to "Krishna", but an all inclusive "Me" to the supreme self or "Atma".

But, due mistranslantions, people have a notion of "soul" -- which kind of 'attaches' with individual body.

Now when the correct interpretation of "Atma" is associated with incorrect translation of "soul", a confusing theory got established that, everyone has their own "Atma".

From Gita perspective, "Atma" is the supreme reality ("Nirguna Brahman"), which is in Oneness (not the quantity one). So if you think soul as Atma, then the soul of yours, mine, elephant, earth -- is no different.

If "soul = purusha/jiva", then the number could be very large, but not infinite

IMO the interpretation of "soul" as "purusha/jiva" seems fair (refer Gambhirananda, BG 13.22). A Purusha resides where the emotions like happiness, sadness are consumable.

BG 13.22 - Purusha (soul) being situated in Prakruti, experiences the [sattva, rajas, tamas] modes born of Prakruti. Contact with these modes, is the cause of its births in good and evil wombs.

That means, a microorganisms like cells or bacteria inside our body may have their own souls, a humans/animals may have their own souls, our family may have its own soul, a society may have its own soul, the mother earth may have its own soul and same goes for solar systems, galaxies etc.. The ultimate soul of universe (BrahmAnda) is known as "super soul" (i.e. "Saguna Brahman").
Wherever you see a 'system', there is a possibility of a soul for it.

The cycle of Brahma is finite, hence there is nothing in that which can be infinite. Since, the creation of infinite items will take infinite time, it will go forever and the cycle will never end. But cycle ends upon the arrival of night of Brahma (refer BG 8.17-8.19, 9.10). This implies that number of "soul" in this context can be a very large finite number, which is not worth counting.

  • Only sentient beings or living entities possess a soul aka jivatma. A society or family won't have 'A' soul, but will have many souls. It would depend upon the number of living beings present in the society or family. The solar system or galaxy or earth planet as a whole doesnt have a soul, since they are insentient, non living, jada prakriti. They get destroyed or annihilated after the death of demigod Bruhma. Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 19:45

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