One of the questions that often arises in the minds of spiritual seekers, is whether animals accumulate karma.
A realized soul would say, “Does this even matter? All of these silly worldly questions – how does the answer to this question help one in their spiritual quest for liberation?” And such a soul would be bang on!
However, the question has come indeed, and one answer could be thus, which I came across in Acharya Prashant’s new book titled Karma.
No, animals do not accumulate karma. Because to accumulate karma, one would need to make a choice. A choice of whether or not to do something. Humans have choices – so we can either do a good thing and earn good karma, or the reverse. But animals? Acharya Prashant argues that animals have no choice. A lion kills deer to eat, driven by its natural instincts aka hunger. How far do you think a vegetarian lion would get in life? 🙂
But humans do have a choice isn’t it? To eat vegetarian or not. To exercise or to live unhealthy. To live a noble life or one of plunder. So many choices, so many possibilities, and so much karma.