Skip to main content

Jīva

Jīva (Skt., ‘living’). In Hinduism, the living self which is engaged in the world and which identifies itself with mind and body as empirically real. The true self is ātman, which is the One pervading all appearance. It is an issue in Hinduism whether jīva and ātman are, in the end, identical or whether some distinction remains between them: see JIVĀTMAN.

In Jainism, jīva is one of two categories into which all existing things must fall, the living as opposed to ajīva. The concept of jīva is central to an understanding of Jainism, because of the way in which it credits all human beings, animals, insects, vegetation, and even earth, stones, fire, water, and air with living souls (jīvas). The universe is seen as being vibrant with innumerable jīvas, each of which is real, independent, and eternal, and characterized by consciousness (caitanya), bliss (sukha), and energy (virya). The Jain path of purification offers a means of purifying the jīva through the pursuit of the ratnatraya (the Three Jewels) of right faith, knowledge, and conduct; and with the help of strict ascetic discipline, the Jains believe that association with karma can be halted. This teaching accounts for the enormous respect for life in all its forms which characterizes Jainism and is expressed in the keystone of Jain faith, ahiṃsā.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jīva." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Jīva." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jiva

"Jīva." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/jiva

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.