What Happens to Pets When They Die?


During the past couple of years we’ve lost several of our senior pets due to disease/illness, and another under other tragic circumstances. I’m traumatized and very saddened by this experience.

Is there any comfort to be drawn from the law of the universe? I’ve read that they live on in the afterlife (in the astral realm) in spirit, and that the process of reincarnation remains a possibility. Or is it all gloom? What do the spirit guides say?


—Martin, denmark


Thank you, Martin, for your question. Yogananda tells a story in his Autobiography of a Yogi about a pet baby deer which he deeply loved. One day he had to be away and fed the deer early. He warned the children at the school to not feed him until he came back. Alas, one of the young boys fed the deer a lot of milk and it became very ill from being overfed. When Yogananda returned, he found the baby deer close to death. He pleaded with Divine Mother to save the deer and consequently the deer showed signs of improvement. That night the deer came to Yogananda in a dream and begged to be let go. Yogananda gave his consent and then awoke. The deer tried to stand up and then dropped dead at Yogananda’s feet. Yogananda felt a deep loss and sadness over the circumstances. Then he realized that the deer needed to go in order to progress to a higher form. He writes the following:

“All sorrow left me; I realized anew that God wants His children to love everything as a part of Him, and not to feel delusively that death ends all. The ignorant man sees only the unsurmountable wall of death, hiding, seemingly forever, his cherished friends. But the man of unattachment, he who loves others as expressions of the Lord, understands that at death the dear ones have only returned for a breathing-space of joy in Him.”

The evolution of plants and animals is automatic and subject to a “mass karma.” In fact, because of this, they reincarnate quickly. It is only in the human incarnation that we can exert our will and exercise choice to accelerate our evolution or slow it down. Specifically, the human body has chakras and one can deliberately increase the energy flow through these and direct it towards enlightenment and realization. Your pets have surely benefited by living in proximity to you. Be comforted in the knowledge that you have directly helped their evolution. They have now returned to the astral realm. You can pray for them that they be guided toward the light and a higher form.

Please be hopeful and happy in their freedom and evolution toward the Light.

Joy to you,

Nayaswami Maria