Evolution of Animals as Sentient Beings


I’m an active animal advocate for factory farm animals: pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys, sheep and fish. We already know human souls reincarnate to deal with karma and may choose challenging experiences so their souls can grow. Have these animal souls chosen abusive experiences so their souls can grow? What happens to these sentient beings' souls after they’re inhumanely slaughtered? Can they choose to reincarnate the way a human soul does. If not, what is the purpose of their atrocious suffering?

—Rosemary, USA


Dear Rosemary,

Thank you for your question. Any abusive treatment of animals is, indeed, sad and very challenging, to state it mildly. It is so good to hear that you are advocating for better treatment and conditions! Thank you. Maybe we are moving toward a world that is more plant-based and with more awareness of animals.

Killing animals is never recommended, of course. And cruelty is disturbing on all levels. The intent is the important thing. To provide food is necessary. But I ask, “why is suffering inflicted?” Humans that do this surely are accruing some unpleasant karma for themselves.

Do the animals that are “serving” by giving their lives for food or medical research accrue good karma? Does this “service” advance their awareness?

These questions seem reasonable ones to ponder. Seemingly in the natural order of events these assumptions can be seen as truthful. We can count on karma to be always fair.

The process of reincarnation for animals or lower forms is automatic since they do not create karma. So they move from one state to the next with increasing awareness in each incarnation.

Yogananda said he could remember back to his incarnation as a diamond! To remember previous incarnations in this way requires a very high level of self-realization. It does support the idea that souls start as mineral, then become plants, then animal. They then work their way through the process of reincarnation to increasingly higher realization.

The Indian teachings say that this is the journey for all souls. The Indian scriptures say that it takes 5-8 million lives as mineral, plant, or animal before the soul reaches the human level. Many of those lives are spent in balancing the scales of karma. There is a plan in all this for animals’ evolution.

I hope these thoughts give you some comfort. Even the assurance that all actions will be perfectly balance and everything comes to a justice orchestrated by the Divine Plan. Also, important for you to consider as part of your wonderful work and advocacy is your own inner peace. That will do more to help this beautiful movement toward the treatment of animals.

Offer your disturbances in your work to God and ask for guidance in your efforts. You and your outstanding service will benefit. Speak to God in the language of your heart. He will answer and give possible solutions that will uplift this much-needed help for all His creatures.

Thank you again for your work!

Blessings on all you do,
Nayaswami Hassi