I am often asked, “Master, do animals have souls and do they incur karma?” This is indeed so. Every living thing has a soul, from the tree in the park to the dog in the kennel. Of course, their souls are not as advanced as those of humans, but nevertheless, they have a soul. For each action, there is a reaction. With the tree, there can be little karma for a tree is immobile and cannot move. The patterns of its cycles through the years usually stay stable. However, it lives, breathes, and grows each year. A tree “dies” many times in one human lifetime. It dies in winter – shedding its leaves – and in spring it is revived – growing new shoots and perhaps growing fruit or flowers. Then it dies again and again it is reborn. Year in, year out, this cycle continues. So it is with all of the plant kingdom. They do not die, they just move on again, sometimes improving themselves, sometimes not. For these species there is little or no karma, just a cycle of life.
For the animals too, there is a cycle of life. However, their cycle is not as long as a tree, plant, or flower. They incarnate just as humans do and they have souls just as humans do. Animals also have a survival instinct just as humans do. Just as there is action and reaction in the human kingdom, so too it is with animals. It may surprise many to know that certain animals incarnate to be companions to certain human souls – they come for that specific purpose. What is given out must come back. It is a law of the Universe.