Followers of advaita like Pradip or Milind would say that when the universal Atman is being encapsulated or embodied, it is known as jiva. Or when Atman is limited by upadhis like mind, ego etc. its called Jiva.

But i want to know, whether this jiva is the same as subtle body or not?

Also in some websites it is stated that jiva is a reflection of the universal Atman. What is meant by reflection here?

  • No, they are not the same. The Atma is the self, the Mind is an element of Prakriti and is part of the subtle body. The Atma inhabits the subtle body.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 16:14

3 Answers 3


"Followers of advaita like Pradip or Milind would say...."

Yes, they are right.

"But i want to know, whether this jiva is the same as subtle body or not?"

No, Jiva is not same as subtle body. Subtle body consist of Indriya and Antahkarana:

(Quoting from Vivekachudamanai)

96. The five organs of action such as speech, the five organs of knowledge such as the ear, the group of five Pranas, the five elements ending with the ether, together with Buddhi and the rest as also Nescience, desire and action - these eight "cities" make up what is called the subtle body.

Here Anthahkarana which is the combination of Mana - Mind , Buddhi - Intellect, Chitta - Consciousness and Ahamkara - Ego is more subtle than subtle body:

93-94. The inner organ (Antahkarana) is called Manas, Buddhi, ego or Chitta, according to their respective functions: Manas, from its considering the pros and cons of a thing; Buddhi, from its property of determining the truth of objects; the ego, from its identification with this body as one’s own self; and Chitta, from its function of remembering things it is interested in.

Now, talking about Jiva - it is the Upadhi superimposed on Buddhi due to ignorance:

196. The Jivahood of the Atman, the Witness, which is beyond qualities and beyond activity, and which is realised within as Knowledge and Bliss Absolute - has been superimposed by the delusion of the Buddhi, and is not real. And because it is by nature an unreality, it ceases to exist when the delusion is gone.

200-201. Previous non-existence, even though beginningless, is observed to have an end. So the Jivahood which is imagined to be in the Atman through its relation with superimposed attributes such as the Buddhi, is not real; whereas the other (the Atman) is essentially different from it. The relation between the Atman and the Buddhi is due to a false knowledge.

  • On the whole we are deluded clearly for sure! Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 15:17
  • @Pandya, You've written above - "it is the upadhi superimposed on buddhi" ....... This is incorrect ...... Upadhi (which is the mind or antahkarana or sookshma sharira) is superimposed not ON buddhi, but BY buddhi/mind, on whom?? ... On the Absolute universal ATMAN ......... In your quotes its clearly written -"superimposed BY the delusion of buddhi" which is correct. Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 14:27
  • @Pandya, Upadhis are the mind/buddhi/ego/indriyas, which are always superimposed on the universal Atman , and NOT on itself (buddhi) ... Due to this superimposition, the Absolute universal Atman recognises itself with the upadhis like mind or body. And this forgetful ego driven state is called Jiva. in other words, when the universal Atman wears the mental sheath called sookshma sharira, it is called jiva. Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 14:31

Yes, jiva is the subtle body. It is also known as mind.

Ramana Maharshi's Who Am I:

What is referred to as the Self is the Atman. The mind always exists only in dependence on something gross; it cannot stay alone. It is the mind that is called the subtle body or the individual self [jiva].

  • The Atma is the self, the Mind is an element of Prakriti and is part of the subtle body. The Atma inhabits the subtle body.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 16:14
  • Jiva is endowed with consciousness but the subtle body is not endowed with it .. then?
    – Rickross
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 16:19
  • 1
    I think the text you quoted says "Mind is called Jiva", not "the subtle body is called Jiva"
    – Pandya
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 16:35
  • 1
    The 'false I' or ego, mentioned in the book "Atma Bodha Dipaka", is being called the jiva, because ego which is part of antahkarana, makes up the entity called jiva also known as subtle body. It is this jiva or subtle body that breathes and transmigrates when the gross dies. Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 19:27
  • 1
    @Pandya, Mind = Antahkarana = Subtle body = Jiva = transmigrating entity. Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 19:30

In the book advaita bodha dIpaka, the following has been explained.

In the body appears a phantom, the “false-I,” to claim the body for itself and it is called jIva. This jIva always outward bent, taking the world to be real and himself to be the doer and experiencer of pleasures and pains, desirous of this and that, undiscriminating, not once remembering his true nature, nor inquiring “Who am I?, What is this world?,” but wandering in the saMsAra [ the continual cycle of death and rebirth, transmigration etc. to which we are supposedly subject in the phenomenal world until we become enlightened and escape] without knowing himself. Such forgetfulness of the Self is Ignorance.

Source: http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/definitions/jIva.htm


According to Mr. Sanyal, he has mentioned the following (in the free ebook called "ShankaraAtma.pdf")

Mr. Sanyal said that Jiva is the psycho-physical organism. It is the empirical self or ego.

Do note, here too jiva has been equated with the psyche or mind. The mind which is also called antahkarana or subtle body.

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