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Ātman (Hinduism) and Jiva

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description: In Hinduism, the Sanskrit words most closely corresponding to soul are jiva, Ātman and "purusha", meaning the individual self. The term "soul" is misleading as it implies an object possessed, whereas ...
In Hinduism, the Sanskrit words most closely corresponding to soul are jiva, Ātman and "purusha", meaning the individual self. The term "soul" is misleading as it implies an object possessed, whereas self signifies the subject which perceives all objects. This self is held to be distinct from the various mental faculties such as desires, thinking, understanding, reasoning and self-image (ego), all of which are considered to be part of prakriti (nature).
The three major schools of Hindu philosophy agree that the atman (individual self) is related to Brahman or the Paramatman, the Absolute Atman or Supreme Self, but they differ in the nature of this relationship. In Advaita Vedanta the individual self and the Supreme Self are one and the same. Dvaita rejects this concept of identity, instead identifying the self as a separate but similar part of Supreme Self (God), that never loses its individual identity. Visishtadvaita takes a middle path and accepts the atman as a "mode" (prakara) or attribute of the Brahman. For an alternative atheistic and dualistic view of the atman in ancient Hindu philosophy, see Samkhya.
The atman becomes involved in the process of becoming and transmigrating through cycles of birth and death because of ignorance of its own true nature. The spiritual path consists of self-realization – a process in which one acquires the knowledge of the self (brahma-jñanam) and through this knowledge applied through meditation and realization one then returns to the Source which is Brahman.
The qualities which are common to both Brahman and atmam are being (sat), consciousness (chit), and bliss/love (ananda). Liberation or moksha is liberation from all limiting adjuncts (upadhis) and the unification with Brahman.
The Mandukya Upanishad verse 7 describes the atman in the following way:
"Not inwardly cognitive, not outwardly cognitive, not both-wise cognitive, not a cognition-mass, not cognitive, not non-cognitive, unseen, with which there can be no dealing, ungraspable, having no distinctive mark, non-thinkable, that cannot be designated, the essence of the assurance of which is the state of being one with the Self, the cessation of development, tranquil, benign, without a second (a-dvaita)—[such] they think is the fourth. That is the Self. That should be discerned."
In Bhagavad Gita 2.20 Lord Krishna describes the atman in the following way:[75]
na jayate mriyate va kadacin 'nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah 'ajo nityah sasvato yam purano 'na hanyate hanyamane sarire
"For the atman there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever – existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain". [Translation by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Srila Prabhupada)][76]
Srila Prabhupada, a great Vaishnava saint of the modern time further explains: "The atman does not take birth there, and the atman does not die...And because the atman has no birth, he therefore has no past, present or future. He is eternal, ever-existing and primeval – that is, there is no trace in history of his coming into being."[77]
Since the quality of Aatma is primarily consciousness, all sentient and insentient beings are pervaded by Aatma, including plants, animals, humans and gods. The difference between them is the contracted or expanded state of that consciousness. For example, animals and humans share in common the desire to live, fear of death, desire to procreate and to protect their families and territory and the need for sleep, but animals' consciousness is more contracted and has less possibility to expand than does human consciousness.
When the Aatma becomes embodied it is called birth, when the Aatma leaves a body it is called death. The Aatma transmigrates from one body to another body based on karmic [performed deeds] reactions.
In Hinduism, the Sanskrit word most closely corresponding to soul is "Aatma", which can mean soul or even God. It is seen as the portion of Brahman within us. Hinduism contains many variant beliefs on the origin, purpose, and fate of the aatma. For example, advaita or non-dualistic conception of the aatma accords it union with Brahman, the absolute uncreated (roughly, the Godhead), in eventuality or in pre-existing fact. Dvaita or dualistic concepts reject this, instead identifying the aatma as a different and incompatible substance.
There are 25 coverings wrapped on our Aatma ( Reference Taken from Vaikunta Varnane written by Sanyasi Vadiraja Swami) 1. Iccha avarka, 2. Linga deha, 3. Avyakta Sharira, 4. Avidya Avarna, 5. Karma avarna, 6. Kama avarna, 7. Jeevacchadaka, 8. Paramacchadaka, 9. Narayana rupa avarna, 10. Vasudeva rupa Avarna, 11. Sankarshana rupa avarna, 12. Pradhyumna Avarka, 13. Anniruddha avarka, 14. Anniruddha Sharira, 15. Vasudeva Kavaca, 16. Narayana Kavaca, 17. Anandamaya kosha, 18. Vignanamaya kosha, 19. Manomaya kosha, 20. Vangmaya kosha, 21. Shrotrumaya kosha, 22. Chakshurmaya kosha, 23. Pranamaya kosha, 24. Annamaya kosha, 25. Gross Body.
Further information: Nafs
Islam teaches that the soul is immortal and eternal, and that what a person does is recorded and will be judged at the final court of God. They will either go to heaven or hell, depending on whether or not they did well in the test that was given to them by Allah.
The Qur'an mentions the soul:

And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the soul (Rûh). Say, "The soul (Rûh) is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little." - Qur'an 17:85
It is Allah that takes the souls at death: and those that die not (He takes their souls) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the Decree of death He keeps back (their souls from returning to their bodies); but the rest He sends (their souls back to their bodies) for a term appointed. Verily in this are Signs for those who contemplate. - Qur'an 39:42
Main articles: Atman (Jainism) and Jiva
Further information: Jain philosophy, Jainism and non-creationism and Atma Siddhi
In Jainism every living being, from a plant or a bacterium to human, has a soul and the concept forms the very basis of Jainism. The soul (Atman (Jainism)) is basically categorized in two based on its liberation state.
Liberated Souls- These are souls which have attained (Moksha) and never become part of the life cycle again. Attaining
Non-Liberated Souls - The Souls of any living being which are stuck in the life cycle of 4 forms Manushya Gati (Human Being), Tiryanch Gati (Any other living being), Dev Gati (Heaven) and Narak Gati (Hell). Till the time the soul is not liberated from the innumerable birth and death cycle, it gets attached to different types of above bodies based on the karma of individual soul. According to Jainism, there is no beginning and end to the existence of soul. It is eternal in nature and changes its form till it attains (Moksha)
Irrespective of which state the soul is in, it has got the same attributes and qualities. The difference between the liberated and non-liberated souls is that the qualities and attributes are exhibited completely in case of Siddhas (Siddha) as they have overcome all the karmic bondages whereas in case of non-liberated souls they are partially exhibited.
The soul (jiva) is differentiated from non-soul or non-living reality (ajiva) that consists of matter, time, space, medium of motion and medium of rest.[citation needed] Concerning the Jain view of the soul, Virchand Gandhi quoted "the soul lives its own life, not for the purpose of the body, but the body lives for the purpose of the soul. If we believe that the soul is to be controlled by the body then soul misses its power".[78]
The fruit of a righteous man is the tree of life, and the wise man acquires נְפָשׁוֹת souls.
Proverbs 11:30
The Hebrew terms נפש nephesh (literally "living being"), רוח ruach (literally "wind"), נשמה neshama (literally "breath"), חיה chaya (literally "life") and יחידה yechidah (literally "singularity") are used to describe the soul or spirit. In modern Judaism the soul is believed to be given by God to a person by his/her first breath, as mentioned in Genesis, "And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." Genesis 2:7. Judaism relates the quality of one's soul to one's performance of mitzvot and reaching higher levels of understanding, and thus closeness to God. A person with such closeness is called a tzadik. Therefore Judaism embraces nahala and not Birthday[79] as a festive of remembrance, for only toward the end of life's struggles, tests and challenges human souls could be judged and credited - b'ezrat hashem - for righteousness and holyness.[80][81]Judaism places great importance the study of the souls to make a practical difference in the world.[82]
For I [Hashem] will not contend forever, neither will I be wroth to eternity, when a spirit from before Me humbles itself, and רוּחַ souls [which] I have made.
Nevi'im, Yeshayahu 57:16
Kabbalah and other mystic traditions go into greater detail into the nature of the soul. Kabbalah separates the soul into five elements, corresponding to the five worlds:
Nephesh, related to natural instinct.
Ruach, related to emotion and morality.
Neshamah, related to intellect and the awareness of God.
Chayah, considered a part of God, as it were.
Yechidah, also termed the pintele Yid (the "essential [inner] Jew"). This aspect is essentially one with God.
Kabbalah also proposed a concept of reincarnation, the gilgul. (See also nefesh habehamit the "animal soul".)
According to Nadya Yuguseva, a shaman from the Altai, "'A woman has 40 souls; men have just one[.]'"[83]
Sikhism considers Soul (atma) to be part of God (Waheguru). Various hymns are cited from the holy book "Sri Guru Granth Sahib" (SGGS) that suggests this belief. "God is in the Soul and the Soul is in the God."[84] The same concept is repeated at various pages of the SGGS. For example: "The soul is divine; divine is the soul. Worship Him with love."[85] and "The soul is the Lord, and the Lord is the soul; contemplating the Shabad, the Lord is found."[86] The "Atma" or "Soul" according to Sikhism is an entity or "spiritual spark" or "light" in our body because of which the body can sustain life. On the departure of this entity from the body, the body becomes lifeless – No amount of manipulations to the body can make the person make any physical actions. The soul is the ‘driver’ in the body. It is the ‘roohu’ or spirit or atma, the presence of which makes the physical body alive. Many religious and philosophical traditions, support the view that the soul is the ethereal substance – a spirit; a non material spark – particular to a unique living being. Such traditions often consider the soul both immortal and innately aware of its immortal nature, as well as the true basis for sentience in each living being. The concept of the soul has strong links with notions of an afterlife, but opinions may vary wildly even within a given religion as to what happens to the soul after death. Many within these religions and philosophies see the soul as immaterial, while others consider it possibly material.
According to Chinese traditions, every person has two types of soul called hun and po (魂 and 魄), which are respectively yang and yin. Taoism believes in ten souls, sanhunqipo (三魂七魄) "three hun and seven po".[87] The pò is linked to the dead body and the grave, whereas the hún is linked to the ancestral tablet. A living being that loses any of them is said to have mental illness or unconsciousness, while a dead soul may reincarnate to a disability, lower desire realms or may even be unable to reincarnate.
Main article: Zoroastrianism
Other religious beliefs and views

Charon (Greek) who guides dead souls to the Underworld. 4th century BC.
In theological reference to the soul, the terms "life" and "death" are viewed as emphatically more definitive than the common concepts of "biological life" and "biological death". Because the soul is said to be transcendent of the material existence, and is said to have (potentially) eternal life, the death of the soul is likewise said to be an eternal death. Thus, in the concept of divine judgment, God is commonly said to have options with regard to the dispensation of souls, ranging from Heaven (i.e., angels) to hell (i.e., demons), with various concepts in between. Typically both Heaven and hell are said to be eternal, or at least far beyond a typical human concept of lifespan and time.
Spirituality, New Age and new religions
Brahma Kumaris
In Brahma Kumaris, human souls are believed to be incorporeal and eternal. God is considered to be the Supreme Soul, with maximum degrees of spiritual qualities, such as peace, love and purity.[88]
In Helena Blavatsky's Theosophy, the soul is the field of our psychological activity (thinking, emotions, memory, desires, will, and so on) as well as of the so-called paranormal or psychic phenomena (extrasensory perception, out-of-body experiences, etc.). However, the soul is not the highest, but a middle dimension of human beings. Higher than the soul is the spirit, which is considered to be the real self; the source of everything we call “good”—happiness, wisdom, love, compassion, harmony, peace, etc. While the spirit is eternal and incorruptible, the soul is not. The soul acts as a link between the material body and the spiritual self, and therefore shares some characteristics of both. The soul can be attracted either towards the spiritual or towards the material realm, being thus the “battlefield” of good and evil. It is only when the soul is attracted towards the spiritual and merges with the Self that it becomes eternal and divine.
Rudolf Steiner differentiated three stages of soul development, which interpenetrate one another in consciousness:[89]
The "sentient soul", centering on sensations, drives, and passions, with strong conative (will) and emotional components;
The "intellectual" or "mind soul", internalizing and reflecting on outer experience, with strong affective (feeling) and cognitive (thinking) components; and
The "consciousness soul", in search of universal, objective truths.
In Surat Shabda Yoga, the soul is considered to be an exact replica and spark of the Divine. The purpose of Surat Shabd Yoga is to realize one's True Self as soul (Self-Realisation), True Essence (Spirit-Realisation) and True Divinity (God-Realisation) while living in the physical body.
Eckankar, founded by Paul Twitchell in 1965, defines Soul as the true self; the inner, most sacred part of each person.[90]
The findings of science may be relevant to one's understanding of the soul depending on one's belief regarding the relationship between the soul and the mind.
Neuroscience and the soul
Neuroscience as a interdisciplinary field, and its branch of cognitive neuroscience particularly, operates under the ontological assumption of physicalism, according to which only the fundamental phenomena studied by physics exist. Thus, neuroscience seeks to understand mental phenomena within the framework according to which human thought and behavior are caused solely by physical processes taking place inside the brain, and it operates by the way of reduction by seeking an explanation for the mind in terms of brain activity.[91][92]
To study the mind in terms of the brain several methods of functional neuroimaging are used to study the neuroanatomical correlates of various cognitive processes that constitute the mind. The evidence from brain imaging indicates that all processes of the mind have physical correlates in brain function.[93] However, such correlational studies cannot determine whether neural activity plays a causal role in the occurrence of these cognitive processes (correlation does not imply causation) and they cannot determine if the neural activity is either necessary and sufficient for such processes to occur. Identification of causation and necessary and sufficient conditions requires explicit experimental manipulation of that activity. If manipulation of brain activity changes consciousness, then a causal role for that brain activity can be inferred.[94][95] Two of the most common types of manipulation experiments are loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments. In a loss-of-function (also called "necessity") experiment, a part of the nervous system is diminished or removed in an attempt to determine if it is necessary for a certain process to occur, and in a gain-of-function (also called "sufficiency") experiment, an aspect of the nervous system is increased relative to normal.[96] Manipulations of brain activity can be performed with direct electrical brain stimulation, magnetic brain stimulation using transcranial magnetic stimulation, psychopharmacological manipulation, optogenetic manipulation and by studying the symptoms of brain damage (case studies) and lesions. In addition, neuroscientists are also investigating how the mind develops with the development of the brain.[97]
Physics and the soul
Physicist Sean M. Carroll has written that the idea of a soul is in opposition to quantum field theory (QFT). He writes that for a soul to exist "Not only is new physics required, but dramatically new physics. Within QFT, there can’t be a new collection of "spirit particles" and "spirit forces" that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments."[98]
Some parapsychologists have attempted to establish by scientific experiment whether a soul separate from the brain, as more commonly defined in religion rather than as a synonym of psyche or mind, exists. Milbourne Christopher (1979) and Mary Roach (2010) have argued that none of the attempts by parapsychologists have yet succeeded.[99][100]
Weight of the soul
In 1901 Duncan MacDougall made weight measurements of patients as they died. He claimed that there was weight loss of varying amounts at the time of death.[101] The physicist Robert L. Park has written MacDougall's experiments "are not regarded today as having any scientific merit" and the psychologist Bruce Hood wrote that "because the weight loss was not reliable or replicable, his findings were unscientific."[102][103]

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