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In Hindu and Jain philosophy, Atman is the soul in its natural state. Many believe that individual "personal" souls exist as an illusion only, and think of Atman as the all-pervading soul of the universe; the universal life-principle and animator of all organisms, and the world-soul.

By contrast, Jiva is the soul in its human state, in which its freedom is limited by the triple bond of anava (ego), karma (action) and maya(illusion).

See also: anatta nirvana samsara reincarnation