Question:One of my Muslim friends asked me a question regarding birth rebirth cycle of every soul. He said “As far as i have read soul takes a lower form life if it involves in bad karma, like an aquatic or an animal, and then it climbs up the order again to reach human form. Also if a soul in human form does good karma it either liberated or again takes as a human. My question is: As we know at present situation sins are increasing so souls should have taken birth more as animals whereas we find animals are decreasing day by day and humans are increasing day by day. So does it not challenging the theory of karma?” Please shed some light on this.
Answer by Romapada Swami: Thank you for sharing your Muslim friend’s question! Inquiries like these are typically based on a key unstated assumption: souls exist only on the earthly realm. According to the Vedic texts such as the Bhagavad-Gita, this assumption is not true.
Souls that inhabit the human form in this life based on their predominant psychological state (goodness, passion or ignorance) and quality of their actions – bad, good, mediocre or spiritual karma can go down, go up, stay put or become liberated, respectively (please refer BG chapter 14). When souls relocate to the spiritual, celestial or subterranean realms, they become invisible to us and thus don’t lend themselves to population census. There is life everywhere in the material and spiritual universes and what happens here is only a minuscule part of the big picture. Therefore, I would suggest exercising caution in interpreting data or information based on our imperfect senses and instruments.
Assuming that the human population explosion and animal population reduction are indeed true phenomena, a combination of these following possibilities (not an exhaustive list by any means) could explain these developments:
1) It is possible that more human beings today are engaged in mediocre (a mix of bad and good) karma that makes them come back to the human level. Furthermore, there is an on-going flux of souls from subhuman forms that gradually rise by the process of evolution to the human form. Added together, if these two groups of souls exceed the number of souls that are descending to animal species or lower regions, one can expect to see human population growth and animal population reduction.
2) The human population explosion could be part of the cosmic plan to award strong punishment for irresponsible human actions that have led to the massive destruction of nature and its other non-human inhabitants that are critical for bio-diversity and a healthy ecosystem. The simultaneous withdrawal of natural resources, unsustainable increase in human population and reduction of non-human forms are probably Mother Nature’s way of tough love for human beings – correct your ways or face scarcity, choking and destruction!
3) As noted above, bad karma or sins can take a soul from the human form to lower destinations – either animal forms on this planet or forms in the hellish or subterranean regions – if the latter happens more than the former, with time, we can expect to see fewer animals on this planet.
4) It is also possible, thanks to an upward trend in consciousness, that more souls are going up – to heavenly or spiritual realms – compared to those going downward, and that more souls in animal forms are evolving to human forms. This would also contribute to the aforementioned twin phenomena. However, given the current human behavioral trends, this seems very unlikely.