6 QUESTION: I would like to ask a question about the sensitivity of animals. Although man is supposed to be the highest developed creature on earth, in certain areas animals are. Hunting dogs for instance have a sense that man totally lacks. Or our cats, who run to the door before they could possibly hear that one of us is approaching, don’t budge when a stranger is at the door. How can this be?

ANSWER: It is like this: what you call instinct is nothing but the sense that perceives what is not material. This sense is more developed in animals because their intellect is not yet as developed as man’s. The intellect is very important for the human being, especially for his ascending development, because the executive will is part of it.

However, if the intellect becomes the ultimate goal and not a means to an end – a means to reach God – then it is not channeled in the right direction. It becomes overemphasized and the result is disharmony; then the healthy instincts wither away. This is very much the case these days. It would be necessary to establish a balance. When this does not happen, the consequences are severe.

The same is true when the intellect is neglected, as has happened in the past and still happens with certain people. If the animal is in possession of senses that man often lacks, this is so because it needs them, as compensation. Humans could possess many more of these faculties if they created the right balance and placed their intellect into the service of a higher end. This too will happen one day.

You can observe that in so-called primitive people, the gift of instinctual awareness is much more developed. This should answer your question. However, the same question opens up further interesting points, which I would like to discuss in this connection.

Through the distortion in the soul, which I can call the sickness of your times, it came about that technical and scientific progress has been achieved on earth, which does not keep step with the spiritual progress.

God gave you your intellect so that you can make your decisions with it: “I go this or that way, I decide for this or for that.” The choice can be made for the spiritual life and for a spiritual attitude. But it has to come from your free will, and a free decision comes from the intellect. When such a decision is made in the right way, the faculties of instinctual and extra-sensory perceptions – including mediumship – will not become paralyzed but will develop together with the intellect.

This depends on the direction into which you put your intellectual powers, according to their proper function and nature, as wisdom and lawfulness require. The purpose is the harmonious development of your total spiritual and psychic organism. If the use of the intellect deviates from this direction, the resulting disharmony will lead to a sense of unhappiness.

Be aware that the intellect is an instrument of great importance for the attainment of the highest spiritual levels. Do not minimize it. Yet be also aware of how it should be used, as well as of its direction. Is it an end in itself, or is it a means to an end?


17 QUESTION: I would like to ask about the evolution of animals. When the highest animal becomes a human being, for instance – that a nice gentle horse becomes the lowest type of human being, such as a criminal, I can’t imagine.

ANSWER: No, you cannot say one horse turns into a human being. That is not correct. There are many parts that form a whole. And it does not necessarily have to be a criminal. No, it is not so. It is rather that a person on the lowest level of human development knows very little, is still very blind, and if he becomes a criminal it is only because his free will directs him to give in to the lower part of his nature.

You see, the soul particles incarnated as animals are different aspects of the human inner makeup. Perhaps one horse – though this is but a rough explanation – would represent one aspect, and so on. Because the animal soul is not a whole, it is just a particle of a group soul. Before incarnation, the group souls of the respective animals are collected in the Spirit World and for a long time they are put through an extremely complicated process, which would be impossible to explain to you.

They are made unconscious and their fluids and subtle bodies are dissolved and put through a process where new subtle bodies can form around the original divine spark, nearer to the state that it once was. Then the first incarnation can begin and there is a clean slate. Whatever this being decides, it can do. Is that somehow clearer? {Yes} I realize this is extremely complicated for any of you to understand.

QUESTION: Animals have the same diseases as human beings, but human beings learn from their disease. What can an animal learn from having a disease?

ANSWER: That is not the point. At that stage, before the human incarnation, there is nothing to learn; it is just something to go through.


42 QUESTION: Do animals killed for the purpose of being eaten go into the same sphere as a deceased pet?

ANSWER: It does not make any difference for what reason an animal dies. It is the same as with a human being. The sphere of a human being, coming into the Spirit World, is not determined by the kind of death the soul has gone through. The sphere is determined by the development and fulfillment of each existence.

QUESTION: Could you please tell me what it is like for an animal to wake up after it has died? How do they wake up? I don’t understand this “group-soul” that you mentioned. How is this with the group souls?

ANSWER: The group soul is to be understood in the sense that an animal is a particle of a whole soul, just as a human being is one half of a complete spirit. The other half, what is called a “double,” may or may not be incarnated. With animals the split goes further. One entire being consists of many particles which are incarnated in different forms of existence. The lower the development, the further goes the split. As these separated particles develop, they unite and form a whole.

The waking-up process of an animal is very similar to that of the human being. According to the severity of a disease, or of a sudden accident where shock occurs, there may be a longer or shorter period of rest or unconsciousness for the animal. In other cases, the moment the animal slips out of its physical body, it is awake and free. It is happy. It feels light.

It may live for a while in a special animals’ sphere before it is reincarnated. It may visit its former masters. At any rate, it is much happier in the beyond, as a rule, than on earth. We cannot generalize about animals either. Each case may be a little different, but all animals are taken care of. There are spirits whose task it is to help animals.


87 QUESTION: Can one draw a conclusion about character in a person who loves animals and nature and a person who does not care for either?

ANSWER: Generalizations, my friends, are very dangerous. Anything is a symptom of something. But beware of readymade opinions and generalizations. They are very misleading. The assumption that the person who loves animals and nature is a better person than one who doesn’t is very wrong. It might very well be that in this respect a person is more receptive to one manifestation of divine life.

This very same person may be utterly closed to another manifestation while the person who does not love animals and nature is otherwise receptive and open. For instance, the latter may be less afraid of people than the former and therefore love and understand them better.

However, it is equally wrong to judge that just because certain people do not love animals, they automatically love people more than those who do love animals. There is no rule, and every case has to be judged individually.

QUESTION: It’s funny because I have a deep distrust for a person who does not care for animals and nature, so I must be completely wrong. But I feel there must be something wrong with such a person.

ANSWER: Those who do not love and understand the manifestation of Creation do have something wrong with them. But that does not mean it is more warranted or justified to distrust a person with this particular limitation than other people who have other limitations that you do not even perceive.

QUESTION: Maybe because they are not so obvious.

ANSWER: They may be obvious, but perhaps not to you.


91 QUESTION: I have a question about killing anything that is alive. I have a little girl and, naturally, I have taught her that it is bad to kill anything. However, what do you do when there are vermin in the house?

ANSWER: Well, my dearest friends, I have answered such questions before and I will again. This view of not killing something, even if it is destructive like vermin, for instance, would be extreme fanaticism, and an utter misunderstanding of truth.

There is a lower kind of animal life that is destructive, and if you would all abide by the rigid rule that nothing must be killed, you would destroy yourselves. You would not kill germs either. Germs too are life-organisms, only smaller. You cannot see them with your ordinary eyes, but life is there. Now where does it all end?

If a small, destructive life-organism is maintained because of such a rule, it would eventually destroy the bigger, more important life-organism. By allowing an organism to live due to a rule not to kill, you would kill just the same, though you would not see the act, since the procedure is drawn out. Here you have a typical example of how dangerous and fallacious it is to follow rules blindly. By doing so, you end up doing the very thing the rule forbids.

This applies to any truth. Truth carried too far unthinkingly, necessarily becomes an untruth. Truth is never a rigid rule that can be pursued to the end. It is dynamic and flexible and therefore always requires the middle road, which can only be attained by responsible thinking and evaluating.

Rigid dogma is based on such rules. The life has been extracted out of the living spirit of truth, and the letter of the law has been substituted. Because people are too lazy to think and too cowardly to make their own decisions based on their own evaluations, they want to adhere to a dead ruling.

Then they feel good about doing the right thing. Truth is not that comfortable. It has to be fought for constantly through accounting, thinking, deciding, weighing. It requires a sense of self-responsibility and courage. This applies to everything, including the subject you asked about.

I can foresee another question. It is: on what level of animal life are we to stop? How do we know? There are so many considerations, so many factors we ignore. How can we decide which animal life is predominantly destructive and which is predominantly constructive?

This also depends on conditions of a particular civilization and on environmental factors. There is no easy answer here. But again, fanaticism and rigidity will not be the answer. The answer is evolutionary development. The time has not yet arrived when humankind is ready to give up killing higher animal species, but it is not too distant, at least from our point of view.

The time will come when humankind will no longer need to eat meat. However, until such time, many other things will first have to change. The next step will be the strict observation of avoiding unnecessary cruelty. This step cannot be skipped by forbidding meat eating.

Until such time, you can only find within yourself the answer to such questions. Probe yourself. Where do you tend toward rigid fanaticism? Where do you tend to be irresponsible? Every issue demands a different attitude, a new accounting, and a thinking through.


QA127 QUESTION: Do animals have karma?

ANSWER: You have to remember what the word “karma” means. Karma means effect. An animal is not a creature yet who can determine, choose – in other words, as it is said, it does not have free will. Its karmic possibilities are extremely limited, because the spark of decision, of choice, is so infinitesimally small.

This is very difficult at this period of man’s development to understand, but the time will come later where you all will understand – wherein it will be possible for me to speak of the greater significance of animals. The existence of animal – as all existence – is an expression of ideas.

The earth sphere, is, of course, permeated by the ideas of man. There are mass ideas, race ideas. The originally superior creative spirit, the God spirit, had certain ideas which have come to pass. And then man’s ideas, the smaller segment of the creative spirit, have sometimes tampered with these ideas due to mass images. And animals are often an expression of this. This is as far as I can go.


QA128 QUESTION: Do animals change from one incarnation to another? For instance, will a cat be in all incarnations a cat?

ANSWER: No. Of course not. There are developments there too; there are phases every living organism goes through.


QA146 QUESTION: In your last lecture you said, “A truthful concept of life means the knowledge, the experience, of life as being utterly benign.” But the experience of life as expressed in nature is not benign. All of nature fights against diseases of trees, of animals.

ANSWER: You are taking here the manifestation of certain natural phenomena that still take place within the world of duality. But when you transcend this world of duality – and this can only be done in each individual case within the personality’s personal problems – it must be found that where there was conflict and where life seemed hostile, that it is not that; that life is benign.

Because storms exist or because floods exist or because sickness exists, that does not mean life is not essentially in its very nature benign. The difficulties and the illnesses and the tragedies and the suffering are a very expression of man’s errors, of man’s erroneous concepts.

The moment it is realized that these concepts are a result of being bound to error, being in a bind of misconceptions, in that moment a new opening takes place, as anyone who pursues an inner path of understanding and transcending his inner problems knows. This is the only way this can truly be understood, because it cannot be understood on the level of theorizing, of philosophizing.

It will be words that may or may not be accepted as a theory. But even if they are accepted and understood as a theory, it is, at best, only a superficial understanding.

QUESTION: Well, I can understand it with people but not with nature. The trees and animals, they have no concept.

ANSWER: But life and you are one. Life is consciousness, as your innermost self is consciousness. You see, objectively speaking, a storm is not a tragedy. The tragedy is only in the eyes of the beholder. Objectively speaking, even illness of an individual is not a tragedy.

QUESTION: But I see suffering of little creatures that cannot help themselves, wounded and frightened. It does hurt.

ANSWER: Yes, it hurts you, but it hurts you only because your view or your perception is a limited one within this immediate framework of that suffering. Has it not happened to you that when you look back at your past in this very light, that something that – while you were going through it – seemed like a great hardship and seemed like a great suffering.

And now, retrospectively, you recognize that this appeared that way while you were going through it, but now when you have a more detached overall view, you recognize that it was the best thing that could have happened to you.

QUESTION: Yes, that is right, but I am strong; I’m a human being. I can take it. But a little pigeon cannot take it.

ANSWER: It can take it just exactly the same, because it too is a particle of consciousness as you are a particle of consciousness. And, in fact, I might say that the greater the consciousness is – the higher the consciousness is raised, the more complete the consciousness is – the greater the sensitivity, vulnerability, and therefore range of experience for suffering as well as for pleasure.

This is an absolute truth that can be verified again by each individual even – of course, on a lesser scale. The greater awareness has been attained through the evolutionary process, and experience – feeling-experience – is equally greater. You see, the suffering is always a result of not being where one is potentially capable of being.

Suffering cannot exist in any other way, my friends. If an individual is exactly where he can be at this moment, he cannot possibly suffer – no matter how imperfect he may still be; no matter what the circumstances of the world around him may be; no matter even what his personal state of life may be. He must be in harmony.

Suffering and disharmony enter in that moment when the personality on the one hand is capable of a greater range of experience, while another part of the personality holds back and restricts. Therefore the potential of consciousness is not being realized. That creates a tension, and it is this tension that, in turn, creates suffering.

But even a physical pain will be very minor in the experience of suffering if the person is where he should be, because then there will be a relaxed state and not a tense state.

Now, an infant’s suffering – no matter how much he may scream – is much less than an adult’s suffering by the very fact that memory does not play a role. The infant suffers in this instant; in the next instant, provided the suffering is alleviated, it is gone. An adult will hang on for the very reason of his extended range of experience due to an extended range of consciousness.

So it is not true that there is any creature in the universe who takes more than he is capable of, where there is not a very well-balanced law of cause and effect so that the effect of a cause can become a favorable cause of a next effect, no matter what the temporary experience may seem or be.

QUESTION: So the animal that is suffering, that reaches the stage…

ANSWER: Yes, but the animal is not just only this animal; it is part of a group consciousness. It is a part of the whole consciousness and so its suffering – although man should do everything in his power to alleviate it – in the total scheme, can only lead to expansion of joy and pleasure.

Time is the great hindrance in the consciousness of man here, because he believes this Now is a finality beyond which he cannot see. The constant difficulty you experience in this problem is a manifestation of a personal problem.

You will not be capable to understand the general factors involved here, as a general philosophical point of view, until you can meet and come to terms with your own suffered pain. You cannot rise above this pain because you have not managed to completely recognize its effect on you and what emotional byroads it makes you take – that there is unconsciously, very great anger about it in you.

This anger makes you unconsciously unwilling to let go of it. No matter how much philosophical truth of the positive nature of life you absorb in your mind, it will not reach these layers where your anger and your inability to come to terms with the past pain exist.

When this happens, whenever you decide to really face it and work it through, then the truth of the benign nature of the universe will totally flood through your system. But this cannot happen unless you face and become aware of what I just said.

QUESTION: I’ve always found even the very highest developed people want to know: but why is that in the world?

ANSWER: Whenever this question is raised, the way this question is raised, it always really means, “Why does hurt exist at all?” This question is such an urgent one within the psyche, because a very personal subjective hurt has not been totally experienced inside and has not been totally faced and come to terms with.

Its effect has not been observed by the personality – the subtle effect of how the individual conducts his life and is influenced in his entire attitude following this very personal hurt. This hurt cannot ever really be understood and seen in realistic terms as long as one does not give oneself explicit permission to experience it, even right now.

For where a past hurt has not been come to terms with, it is really constantly there in the present – constantly. It exists in some factor in your present life right now. And man’s resourcefulness very often to run away and not look at it and gloss over it and deceive himself about these conditions is often astounding, to his own detriment. Because he splits himself in that way – by what he believes he believes, and by what he inwardly and emotionally and truthfully believes deep in his innermost self.

QUESTION: If one thinks about what Hitler did or what happens now in Vietnam and sees all those lives destroyed, and one has that feeling: Why does that have to be? That is always an objective feeling.

ANSWER: When there is an objective anger about conditions, it has an entirely different quality in the psyche, which, of course, is very difficult to explain because the human language is so limited that the words are the same. There ought to be different words. I often explain that healthy anger has a very different quality from the personal, subjective, alienated anger that covers one thing with another and is not really where one ought to be and in oneself.

The healthy anger leaves one free; it does not have a gnawing, debilitating and paralyzing effect on the individual.

QUESTION: Yes, but it’s still the question: Why does that have to happen?

ANSWER: But, you see, where a person is truly enlightened, he either understands it on universal terms or even if he – on this or that issue – does not understand on universal terms, he knows he does not understand and he regrets the difficulties of this world, but he will not be partial.

He will never feel “this is right” versus “this is wrong,” because he knows this whole world is involved in a deep suffering of error that splits off – of duality that creates these conditions – and he will accept that this is the state of the world.

He will stop quarreling with it, which does not mean indifference nor does it mean laziness of the mind. It means the understanding of where you are – this whole world – and the acceptance of it while doing that which is best where each person stands.

QUESTION: Could that be known as reality for us?

ANSWER: Well, yes it amounts to an acceptance of reality. Now you see, before the unitive state is reached, the temporary reality of the dualistic world has to be accepted – whether you like it or not.

As long as you say, “Why does that have to be?” there is a lack of acceptance. And wherever the world cannot be accepted – and, I repeat, this does not mean indifference; it does not mean egoism; it does not mean laziness; acceptance does not mean that – but where the world is not accepted, the self is always equally rejected.

One always quarrels with the self on the deeper-most level to exactly that extent one quarrels with life – no matter how much suffering and cruelty and things that are undesirable exist on this dualistic plane of consciousness.

He who is half-way enlightened will make the following step and that is a very simple step, “If I feel so tortured and in such disharmony about the conditions of the world – be it the animals, nature, or other people, whatever it may be – and if I cannot accept this world which is a mixture of pleasure and pain, of good and bad, of happiness and unhappiness, if I can only dwell in the unhappy facet of it, if I cannot come to terms with the existence of both on this plane of existence in which I live and move now, then there must inevitably be something in myself – a dark side in myself – that I cannot accept. Therefore, I want to primarily see and find what in myself do I really not accept.”

Whether it is the question with animals in your case where you’re constantly dwelling on that plane – no matter how compassionate it actually also is – the constant pain you suffer in this respect is really the expression of the suffering that there is something within yourself you cannot accept and that pains you equally – something about yourself.

Whether it is cruelty or wars or injustices in this world or whatever, wherever one is deeply disturbed, inverted, and put out of harmony with any outer condition, where the outer reality of this present phase of existence cannot be accepted for what it is, then there is a lack of self-acceptance somewhere.

The enlightened person is not necessarily the person who has already found these answers within himself, who already totally accepts himself. The enlightened person is the one who takes this attitude and who has this slant on the problem and who goes from the alienated level of displacement into himself. He makes the deduction that because he feels that way about the generality, he must feel that way about the particular aspect in himself, and he’s willing to look at it. That is true enlightenment.

That will immediately, after the first few successful steps in this direction, bring a release and a relief of tension, the tension that arises out of being away from where the problem really lies.


QA178 QUESTION: There is movement, there’s energy, and there’s consciousness. If energy is behind the movement, shall we assume that this is an agent between the consciousness and movement?


QUESTION: If so and we return to talking about the world of animals, where we have movement-energy, shall we assume that consciousness also takes place with animals?

ANSWER: Oh, yes. In a different form.

QUESTION: If so, where is then the element of religion/God, when in this sequence? Where’s the difference of this perpetuation from questions to movement within the animal and within the man?

ANSWER: You see, it is a degree of manifestation of consciousness. The animal life manifests a reduced consciousness, where the energy is not necessarily a direct product of the manifest consciousness, but a product of sensations and reactions. The energy comes of reacting, of expressing, of perceiving, of experiencing, of sensations. But the consciousness manifests to a much lesser degree of self-awareness than in a human being. But that does not mean that in an unmanifest way consciousness is not there.


QA179 QUESTION: I’d like to know whether animals have souls.

ANSWER: Yes, indeed. Of course. I would even put it very differently, because saying an animal has a soul or a human being has a soul is put in a misleading way. It is as though the soul is an organ that you possess. The soul is much more than something you have. The soul is something you are.

The body is much rather something that is an appendage to the soul. It is merely a limited momentary expression of it. And I would say animals express the soul, but to a more limited degree of consciousness than the human entity.

QUESTION: Why is that? Why is the animal soul somewhat less expressed?

ANSWER: You know, in order to answer this question, the whole scale of development, even asking the question from this side is somehow misleading. You ask this question as though somebody disposes of it this way. It would be the same way if you would ask, “Why is one person more conscious than another?”

I would say manifestations of consciousness exist according to the degree of awareness that has been attained in the evolutionary scale. You cannot say why does one person have less awareness and therefore less development than another.

QUESTION: But man knows very little about the awareness of animals.

ANSWER: That is true.

QUESTION: Then why is man considered higher on the evolutionary scale?

ANSWER: It is not a question of higher. It is a question of having a greater degree of consciousness. You are putting a moral value on it – a judgmental value – and it is not that way. It is no more that way than you would say an adult is more valuable than the child. It is not true.

An animal has much less destructiveness incarnated into the soul than the human being. It manifests like plants – more than plants, but more or less in that way in the sense that it expresses beautiful divine qualities.

The destructiveness that is there in these entities is not incarnated to anywhere near the degree as in the human being. That is why animals – and I do not wish to put moral connotations on it – are very often thought to be, and actually are, “better.” They lack the viciousness and the deliberate cruelties that human beings have.

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