I have read in an forum that Jeeva means Soul or individual self. Typically it contains seven layers(koshas).It is the one who was shackled in prakriti(Maya). On death of physical body it gets new body.

Another is Atman or spirit, which lives in heart of each living being.It is an aspect or spark of god .

Rig Vedic quotes over here in wiki doesn't do good job describing and differentiating each term https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_Jiva_and_Atman

Could anyone give me proper quotes and descriptions ?

  • According to Adi Shankaracharya's philosophy, Jivatma and Parmatma are one and the same - it's only Maya that makes it seem as if there's an individual soul other than Brahman. According to the other Vedantic philosophies, like Dvaita, Visishtadvaita, Achintya Bheda Abheda, etc., it's not just an illusion - there really are such things as individual souls. What more detail do you want? Sep 15, 2015 at 2:27
  • Thanks.But I was not asking about the distinction between individual spirit(Atman) and Paramathma. I was asking proper distinction between Soul(Jeeva) and Spirit(Athman) in our hindu scriptures.
    – tekkk
    Sep 26, 2015 at 15:27

3 Answers 3


You should consult Taittiriya Upanishad part 2 which talks about the five Koshas surrounding the Atman. The five koshas are annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya Koshas. These 5 koshas or sheaths are organised into two bodies the Sthula sarira or the gross physical body and the sukshma or linga sarira also known as the subtle body. It is the subtle body that survives death and is reborn. For example, Gita 15.8 says:

When he gets a new body or abandons an old one, the Jiva, the lord of the body, moves, carrying them (the mind and the senses) with him, as the wind carries smells from their seats (in flowers and the like).

The mind and the senses form the subtle body. The subtle body dies only after attainment of moksha. A description of Moksha which explains this is given in Mahabharata:

When men of knowledge, conversant with the rules of Yoga, become as fixed as a stake of wood, and as immovable as a mountain, then are they said to be in Yoga. When one does not hear, and smell, and taste, and see; when one is not conscious of any touch; when one’s mind becomes perfectly free from every purpose; when one is not conscious of anything, when one cherishes no thought; when one becomes like a piece of wood then is one called by the wise to be in perfect Yoga. At such a time one shines like a lamp that burns in a place where there is no wind; at such a time one becomes freed even from one’s subtle form, and perfectly united with Brahma. When one attains to such progress, one has no longer to ascend or to fall among intermediate beings. When persons like ourselves say that there has been a complete identification of the Knower, the Known, and Knowledge, then is the Yogin said to behold the Supreme Soul.

Mahabharata Santi Parva Section CCCVII

  • Yes, what is commonly called the individual's soul is the subtle body - the jiva, that which survives the death of the body and continues on. The atman is the same as brahman as seen through the individual soul. Sep 15, 2015 at 3:59
  • Thanks!!,I understand soul would live on after death.I have read in some hindu websites which says athman stays in heart like small room with 12 doors.But Soul(Jeeva) lives in Ajna chakra.I wanted to know some quotes from hindu scriptures , which specifically explain these aspect
    – tekkk
    Sep 26, 2015 at 15:33
  • You should go through Katha Upanishad (KU). Specifically read KU II.3.16-17 which says 'A hundered and one are the arteries of the heart; one of them leads up to the crown of the head. Going upward through that, one becomes immortal; the others serve for going in various other direction. The person of the size of a thumb, the inner self, abides always in the hearts of men. Him one should draw out with firmness, from the body, as (one may do) the wind from the reed. Him one should know as the pure, the immortal, yea, Him one should know as the pure, the immortal.' Sep 27, 2015 at 16:45
  • You get information about the Atman and the connection between the Vedas and the Agamas or Tantras in the Upanishads. Sushumna Nadi that goes to the crown of the head is the detailed subject matter of the Tantras. Sep 27, 2015 at 16:47

Mundaka Upanishad.:

द्वा सुपर्णा सयुजा सखाया समानं वृक्षं परिषस्वजाते । तयोरन्यः पिप्पलं स्वाद्वत्त्यनश्नन्नन्यो अभिचाकशीति ॥१॥

III-i-1: Two birds that are ever associated and have similar names, cling to the same tree. Of these, one eats the fruit of divergent tastes, and the other looks on without eating.

समाने वृक्षे पुरुषो निमग्नोऽनिशया शोचति मुह्यमानः । जुष्टं यदा पश्यत्यन्यमीशमस्य महिमानमिति वीतशोकः ॥२॥

III-i-2: On the same tree, the individual soul remains drowned (i.e. stuck), as it were; and so it moans, being worried by its impotence. When it sees thus the other, the adored Lord (Ishwara), and His glory, then it becomes liberated from sorrow.

Here the 2 birds are Jivatma (Individual Soul) and Paramatma (Universal Soul).

Tree- Maya/Illusion/World

Fruits- Material Desires.

So, in simple word, the verse means, in the material world 2 Parameshvara and Jiva remains together, where Parmeshwara remains independent of Maya and just witnesses everything but jiva remains stuck in Maya and experience both happiness and sorrow again and again means stuck in the cycle of life and death, till it realises the Parmeshwara. And after realising Brahman the Jiva becomes Brahman itself and gets moksha.

For more, you can see this answer of mine.

I hope this clarifies your queries.

  • so basically jiva-atma is individual and and paraatma is Brahman? i would give you the +50 but it's not up to me...
    – blue_ego
    Jun 2, 2023 at 19:13
  • another way to say is jiva is corrupt and atman is pure
    – blue_ego
    Jun 2, 2023 at 19:58
  • Not corrupt but ignorant. As for bounty its ok no need to explain i know it's in the hand of ur lord. I didn't answer for that i just answered cz i knew the ans 2 some extent as no1 knows anything completely. Babye. Jun 3, 2023 at 2:28

This may go against the other answers, but there seem to be varying interpretations. Verse 3.13 of the Mandukya Upanishad says:

That the identity of Jiva and Atman without any difference, is praised and variety or multiplicity is censured that is indeed rational only thus, by assuming that Jiva is the creation of Maya.

The individual, or the deluded jiva consciousness, is in reality The Non-Dual Self. This truth it is said should be praised, meaning that this truth should be taught as a highest truth.

All understanding and action arising from the ignorance of duality should be censured because it is in error. This truth becomes clear and rational only when it is understood that individual consciousnesses cannot exist, individual existence can only be an illusion caused by Maya.

So one interpretation of the two says that they are both the same.

  • it might be the same entity, but perhaps jiva implies something covered up by these so-called sheaths (koshas)
    – blue_ego
    Jun 3, 2023 at 19:27
  • I gave +50 but still not sure. Who creates maya?
    – blue_ego
    Jun 8, 2023 at 13:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .