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Animals Having A Soul


Apr 7, 2013
Since I go to a Catholic School I have to take Theology Class.
We were on the topic of souls. I already know that Us Sikhs believe animals have souls.

But in class, my theology teacher brought up the definition of a soul. I don't know who gave him this definition, but I don't buy it at all.

He said for one to have a soul, they must have 3 characteristics.

1) Agape (unconditional love)

2) Free will

3) Intellect

He says that God gave humans dominance over animals. He also states how God only allowed humans to evolve and have a intellect to know what to do in life and etc. He states how animals cannot control how they act, so that doesn't give them intellect. He talks about how God made Man the image of the world and are allowed to kill animals but not their own kind.

So my question is I don't know much about animals having a soul. All i can say is that reincarnation helps us believe animals have souls. That once animals die we go through reincarnation until our souls are purified. Does anyone have any more details on how to re butte what my teacher said? Also a more clear answer on Sikhi view of animals souls?


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
abneet ji

There are Sikhs who do not believe in reincarnation. Or they do not believe that reincarnation "purifies" the soul. That throws the matter of whether animals have souls that also evolve after death into the shadows. Wherever a Sikh stands on this issue, there is no official doctrine on this matter.

Unlike the Catholic Church Sikhism has nothing similar to the Congregation for the Faith that oversees adherence to church doctrines.

You should ask your teacher something. That animals do not have souls was once upohn a time a matter of debate in Roman Catholocism. Ask your theology teacher if he knows where Teresa of Avila stood on the matter of animal souls. During her lifetime she was consulted on many matters of theological importance and offered her opinion on this one.
See what he says and let us know. Then I will see if I need to drop the hammer. (just kidding) lol


Dec 3, 2011
This one is a little complicated and confusing !

Firstly, the definition above from catholic theology class-

He said for one to have a soul, they must have 3 characteristics.
1) Agape (unconditional love)
2) Free will
3) Intellect

I'm a little confused because I was under the impression that Catholics believe the unborn fetus has a soul which is why abortion is an issue. However, I'm not sure if a fetus has the above characteristics.
Perhaps some one can point me in the right direction or guide me correctly.

Secondly, is the issue of differentiating between souls or consciousness of animals to humans.
I recall from my early Christian school days, that Jesus died for the souls of Humans and not animals, therefore it's not so bad if we kill animals or something along those lines was given to us from what I remember !

Personally, I see life as life, and this doesn't give me the right to judge the intellect of other life forms and then do what I wish with it.
I'm not talking about survival or meat eating, but about using my intellect and power to overpower some thing that I assume has less intellect.

Brother Onam

Jul 11, 2012
ਮਾਨੁਖ ਬਨੁ ਤਿਨੁ ਪਸੂ ਪੰਖੀ ਸਗਲ ਤੁਝਹਿ ਅਰਾਧਤੇ

Mortals, forests, blades of grass, animals and birds all meditate on You.

Guru Granth Sahib Page 455
Sat Sri Akaal,
I'm not sure that it's so much a question of individual souls so much as a spirit of divine consciousness. I think Sikhi is sort of an 'animist' faith, inasmuch as the Guru speaks of Har Har being in grasses and mountains (SGGS pg. 1322, line 5). So, yes, I would think the teaching is clear that animals have souls, because they have the indwelling Waheguru, but that it is more 'a portion of the Super-Soul' than a separate soul. If ivy, for instance, has a soul, when a twig is cut and rooted I don't think another soul is brought about but rather that divine life is perpetuated.


Feb 20, 2012
anything that has consciosness has a soul in my opinion and that soul is part of the 1 ocean...
animals live in unison with the will of waheguru...they act in the laws of nature...they play by the rules of the game and know nothing else...they do not question what they do nor question why they do it...and the system works...the habitat functions...acording to Gurbani we\soul has passed through these life forms before being blessed with the human life.

Humans have an Ego...they very easily stop working via the will of waheguru (love, compassion, serving, sharing, working as one) and the Ego has us humans swimming against the tide...hence all the problems we see...

When us humans behave like this we are lower than animals...we no longer function from the soul...we lose knowledge of the rules of the game, of nature, of life...

What humans have that all other life forms don't is a guru dwara (door to the guru) in the form of the human body. this body has everything we need to experience the form of waheguru (creation) and the formless Waheguru beyond creation...
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