I chose Jiva as my name for a number of reasons, although mainly for the first of these bullet-points:
- The jiva or jivatma is the living aspect of a human (or traditionally anything alive) that survives physical death. A jivanmukta is someone who has achieved enlightenment and liberation from the cycle of deaths and rebirths while still alive. In certain advaita (non-dualist) Hindu philosophies there is no difference between the atma (individual) and brahman (whole), the boundary is simply an artificial delusion that never existed. In a philosophical sense I can broadly accept the latter concept; it is also repeated with differing terminology (and of course slight differences) in various other mythologies and philosophies. However, I still consider myself an atheist, so fully accepting the aspect of the concept regarding rebirth would basically mean becoming religious in the truest definition of the word. I've read all sorts of metaphysical arguments for and against, but I don't know if I'll ever resolve the issue for myself. From an atheistic, Nietzschean perspective, perhaps it doesn't really matter: the issue can just be the carrot and stick of my life.
- The first time I learnt about the concept of jiva I instinctively associated it with a favourite Nietzsche quote: “What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an over-going and a down-going”.
- "Jiv-", meaning “to breathe” in Sanskrit, and relations to Vayu in the Upanishads and prana (and comparatives in other mythologies). Breath meditation has been and remains my most effective practical tool.
- The Jivanmukti-Viveka by Swami S'ri Vidyaranyasaraswati is a favourite and much visited text.
- "Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this" (Chapter 6, Section 30 of the Bhagavad GIta).