Do animals have soul or not and can they be killed since they have no soul?
ACTUAL QUESTION from a girl devotee:
Hare Krishna Prabhuji dandavat pranam…. Prabhuji I am now a M. Com student, living at hostel, maintaining a spiritual life also by chanting praying presenting bhoga etc trying to do all sort of devotional practices that I could able to do. I have a room mate who is from another religion. She is from ………….. group, is a serious devotee of god and I feel blessed to have such a friend like her. But Prabhuji in many context she differs from me. As in one days talks I asked since you are a good devotee of Lord, why then you eat meat as they too are creation of god too have soul thus they too are brothers and sisters of you. For which she answered that sorry dear but according to our vedic book, the animals don’t have soul so they are allowed to be eaten. I got totally shocked. How far this context differ from our Bhagwat Geeta where we believe everyone is a part and parcel of Lord. And also many more. So Prabhuji why this context is different from other religions since I totally believe that every living entity is a creation of Krishna and they are got born as their karmic reaction of which she denied it by saying we don’t believe in rebirth concept. So why some of the aspect is different which sounds little bit protesting. She is my very good friend, I don’t wanna prove her wrong but I just wanna Know so better you hide my name if you post it in your post for the answer or else you answer it here it self . All praise to srila prabhupad . Nitai gaura premanande Hari bol . HARE KRISHNA
Actually, the presence of soul can be found out with the symptom that they have consciousness until they have soul.
When the soul leaves a body, the person loses its consciousness.
Now, take animals. For example, a dog.
Dogs move here and there. When a dog crosses a road, it changes its path if it finds a vehicle crossing the road.
When the dog sees another dog, it identifies that it is of same category and hence mates with it. A dog never mates with a goat.
When two dogs mate, they behave like men. Who taught it about those things?
If a person takes care of a dog in his home lovefully, that dog does not bark when it sees his master. Instead, it licks him lovefully.
In Police departments, only the dogs are trained and used to identify the criminals.
Thus, even a dog has been given sufficient knowledge to manage its living and show its talents.
That means, a dog too has consciousness and some knowledge.
I have an incident to tell at this place.
I have already said that my father was not a rich person. He was using a bullock cart to go to his work and come back.
Since he was taking care of that bull lovefully, the bull also was very loyal to him and us.
One day, he was returning from his work in the afternoon by his bullock cart. He was so tired and hence slept even while travelling.
That bull was pulling the cart in the right direction since it knows the route well because of the familiarity.
At a point of time, the cart reached an unmanned Railway level crossing. The passengers have to stop their vehicles when they find any train coming nearby.
Since my father was sleeping, he could not realize that a train is coming fast nearby.
If the cart crosses the railway line, the train will definitely collide with the cart and everything will be over.
What that bull did?
Seeing the train coming, the bull stopped moving in its own without the direction of my father who ws sleeping.
When the train crossed that level crossing, my father woke up from sleep because of the noise of the train.
He found that his cart was at hault seeing the train.
He cried with tears and lovefully rubbed the body of that bull with the gratitude.
When the train crossed, the bull automatically started to pull the cart.
Thus, the bull had sufficient intelligence to identify the train coming and save its loveful master.
That day, my father gave special foods for the bull and he never sold it till it died.
When that bull died because of old age, all of us felt so much for the level of dedication that bull showed the family that protected it till it died.
Now tell me, who gave that knowledge to the bull?
Krishna resides as athma (soul) even in the body of bull.
When that bull died, all its activities and movements came to an end. It became just a material.
Should we kill the animals that have knowledge and consciousnesss that ensures they have souls?
One day, I saw a newspaper report that said in a village temple, hundreds of goats are sacrificed for that god and the Pujari drank the drops of blood from every goat when it was cut.
Till the time the goat is killed, they gave it grass to eat. When the goat was eating the grass happily, they take that and kill. It did not expect that it is going to be killed and hence it was happily eating the grass.
Tell me, is it justified to kill the animals that are innocent and that never disturb us?
If there is no electricity, how can the instruments function? If there is no soul, how can the living beings function and think?
If there is no soul in the animals, how could they show their gratitude to their masters as explained above?
How could they move? How could they eat? How could they survive?
Why do they become just a material after something from inside the body leaves?
Isn’t there something to operate those animals.
That operating factor is called soul or athma.
Therefore, all the animals have souls in them. Even plants.
Have you seen a plant that shrinks when we touch the leaf?
Do you know that Tulasi plant used in worship dies when we touch her with unclean body or when some animals eat some of the leaves?
How this happens?
That means, even the plants have some level of consciousness required for their life management.
However, since a man needs some food, Krishna has mercifully permitted us to eat plants and He forgives the sin involved in it if we offer the food to Krishna and honour the same as prasadam.
Therefore, if there is a living being, it should have soul in it. Otherwise, it is just a material like a stone.
Request your room-mate to read this reply. She will understand it if she is wise.
Hope this helps.