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In Hinduism and Jainism, a jiva is a living being, or any entity imbued with a life force.

Classification of Jivas

In Hinduism and Jainism, a jiva (Sanskrit: जीव, jīva, alternative spelling jiwa; Hindi: जीव, jīv, alternative spelling jeev) is a living being, or any entity imbued with a life force.

In Jainism, jiva is the immortal essence or soul of a living organism (human, animal, fish or plant etc.) which survives physical death. The concept of Ajiva in Jainism means "not soul", and represents matter (including body), time, space, non-motion and motion. In Jainism, a Jiva is either samsari (mundane, caught in cycle of rebirths) or mukta (liberated).

The concept of jiva in Jainism is similar to atman in Hinduism. However, some Hindu traditions differentiate between the two concepts, with jiva considered as individual self, while atman as that which is universal unchanging self that is present in all living beings and everything else as the metaphysical Brahman. The latter is sometimes referred to as jiva-atman (a soul in a living body).

The word itself originates from the Sanskrit jivás, with the root jīv- "to breathe". It has the same Indo-European root as the Latin word vivus, meaning "alive".