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Anekajivavada In Hindu Philosophy

In Hindu philosophy, Anekajivavada is the plurality of atman (being). Anekajivavada has been accepted by many acharyas. Jiva is the self conditioned either by avidya or by the mind. If avidya is taken as one, then only one jiva will exist, a vada (school of thought) promoting this view is called ekajivavada in contrast.

Even though the consciousness is one in all bodies, plurality of jivas are due to the minds that are separate for each jiva. Jivas are nothing but the Paramatman residing in individual bodies, like the vast space occupying different jars. Only jars are produced or broken, but the spaces in them are identical with the outer space. Items stored in each do not taint the space. Similarly, the happiness, misery, etc., of individual jivas do not train the Paramatman.

It is due to outer shells or adjuncts that the various names and uses are attached to them, as a pot, mug, room, etc., though the space is one in all of them. A pot is used to store water, a mug to bring water and rom to sleep in. Similarly, each jiva is given a name, a form, and associated with an action like – lawyer, teacher etc. But the atman is same in all of them. When the body takes birth we say that he jiva is born when it decays we say the jiva has died. Similarly, each jiva is classified as bound or liberated according to the knowledge he achieves of the supreme Brahman. The apparent appearance of the plurality of jivas, because of the plurality of organic bodies, has resulted in the belief that there are many jivas. This school of thought is Anekajivavada.