A journalist put the following questions to Silver Birch: when animals die and their evolution……..
Question: Do some animals spend their whole time with their human friends on the other side or is their real home on the animal sphere?
Answer:It depends, because love is the index. You know that love determines the survival of animals. It is the love that exists between the animal and the person that enables the animal to obtain the temporary consciousness that exist beyond the grave of matter. If an animal and I do not like the word “owner” because no one owns another soul, and the one whom it has served are in the world of spirit together, then the home of the animal is the home of the individual who has always loved it. It stays where love is, for love is the link that binds it to the one who loves it. It has no necessity go to the animal plane, because it has its home. Those who dwell in the animals’ sphere are the ones who come to the world of spirit before the masters, or owners, as you call them, arrive in our world, because it is necessary that someone shall take care of them. Otherwise they would be distracted, being cut off from the love, which not only warmed their hearts but breathed the temporary immortality into them. Where the animal comes to our world preceding the one who loved it, who gave it shelter and taught it all the habits of memory, of reason, of judgment and affection, it goes to the animal world to await the time when it can greet the one it has missed. There it is put in charge of those specially trained to look after animals, just as you have trainers in your world to care for animals when their masters and mistresses are away.
Question:Will you describe what it is an animal obtains from human contact that makes it survive?
Answer:In the long line in evolution, at some stage that Great Spirit or the law, breathed into the animal and it became a living soul, conscious, aware of its own existence. Then came the dawn of reason; intelligence bloomed; there was judgment, the ability to reflect, to decide, to weigh and to consider. But, potentially, all that existed no matter how far back in the line of evolution you go. It requires the breath of the Great Spirit to awaken it. Just as the Great Spirit enabled a divine spark to become a flame, so you, by love, transfer that process to the animal who lives within the shelter of your affection. You are part of the Great Spirit, having the power within you to transfer the tribute of spirit to the next in line of evolution, so that by your association, by radiating love, you awake that consciousness which, in time, through the process of evolution, would reach its own apex. Love is the keynote in all life. Death cannot still the voice of love in humans or in animals. Love is the driving force throughout the whole universe; love controls and governs all life; and love seeks to work through man towards all other creatures, whether they be his equal or his inferiors. The love that emanates from man to the lesser beings he embraces in his heart, the dog, the cat and the pets – cannot be ended by “death.” It is love that determines that life must go on because love goes on.
Question:How long does the survival of an animal last? Is it as long as that of a human being?
Answer:No, there is this difference. At some stage the animal and human evolution inevitably part company. It may take, as you measure time, hundreds or thousands of years, but their rates of spiritual evolution are unequal. The animal has to be left behind because it cannot keep pace with the growing soul that restlessly struggles towards the greater light. Once you have passed from the vale of matter and accustomed yourself to conditions of the spiritual life, once you have realised that the ties which bind you to earth are severed, the desire to progress, the desire to unfold the surging divinity within becomes quickened. You seek to unfold all the qualities, which, by their practice, will enable you to be a greater service wherever you are. The higher you climb in the realm of spiritual unfoldment, the more difficult it is for the animal to keep pace with you. And so the love which kindled for a while a flame that burned beyond “death” gradually becomes attenuated. The flame flickers and it merges in the end with the group soul of that species.
Question:Does that mean that the animal loses its personality and individuality?
Answer: Yes. That is the clear distinction between the two evolutions, because the animal, as a group, has not yet reached the stage of evolution when the whole group is individualised. Otherwise it would cease to be animal; it would have then reached the stage of the human being. But because you enable it to jump the scale of evolution, because you enable it to advance by love, it means that it must return to the group out of which it is formed.
Question:It sounds rather unfair that, because the animal has earned individuality for itself, it must return and lose what it has gained.
Answer:No, because it has contributed to the group spirit and has enabled the process of evolution to be advanced by its fraction of evolution. It contributes to the common stock. It adds a quota to the pool that before did not exist, in order to help the whole. The more such sacrifices are made, the quicker the group’s soul advances towards the stage where it leaves the animal behind and earns the evolution which makes it now ready for individual souls in human form.
Question:Is that when they definitely become incarnated?
Answer:There are two kinds of incarnation. There is the old soul re-embodied in the world of matter and there is what you call the, “new soul,” starting its first phase in the world of matter as an individual.
Question:Do you mean as a human individual?
Answer: Yes. They are both spirit, they are both conscious spirit, they are both individual spirit. But one is an old soul, returning to complete or help complete a cycle; the other is a new soul on the first rung of the ladder. The new one comes from the group, the group that once was animal, a pool of spirit which has been through all the evolutionary stages and animal, of bird, of fish, of reptile, right back to the lowest slime on earth.
Question:That is Theosophical teaching.
I do not care whose belief it is. You should not tell me about labels. I am not interested. All these facetious critics who do not desire knowledge, who only seek to exhibit their vaunted intelligence, do not realise the simple truth. You do not bring a spider into your home and give it love, do you? You do not bring a beetle into your home and give it love and try to serve it. You do not give it companionship and the warmth of your heart, do you? No, because you recognise the gulf that is fixed between you, because you know instinctively that it is far away from you in the scale of evolution. You bring those whom you call the domestic animals – the dog, the cat, sometimes the monkey – because you feel a kinship with them. They are just below you in the line of evolution. They are ready for your love or affection because they are awaiting the next stage in their evolution, which is incarnation as humans.
Question:Is the group’s soul situated on the animal planes?
Answer: I have one great advantage over you. I do not have to learn lessons in geography. We have no situations. Space is boundless and spiritual conditions do not occupy space. You are thinking in terms of physical location and spirit does not require habitation, unless it is to assume form. But a group soul requires no form. When it does, then it has to have a mode of manifestation and a place where that mode is manifested.
Question: Do pet animals visit the spirit world and sleep?
Question: Are they not familiar with it when they pass?
Answer: No. When in your sleep state you come to our world you do so because you have your guides to take you by the hand. But none can do that for the animal except the one it knows, and that one is still in the world of matter.
Question: Suppose that one had passed on?
Answer: That is a little different, but I speak generally.
Question: Why are animals, particularly cats and dogs, often more psychic than human beings?
Answer: Because they have not as yet, as far as evolution goes, reached the stage where they become humans, they have not had to face “civilised” life that human beings do. If the human had not had the benefits of what you call “civilisation” then before now he would have reached the stage where the exercise of psychic qualities was part of his normal life. He has sacrificed that for his civilisation. The animal, not faced with the economic problems, with the sociological problems that affect human beings, has continued in the evolutionary line to the stage that humans should have reached, but have not, and therefore is in possession of those psychic qualities which humans have, but often repress, because of the material life they have to lead. Then again, those whom you call mediums are the precursors of the evolutionary line. They are exhibiting today what will be natural tomorrow.
Question: Animals have what is called a sixth sense… they have premonitions and the ability to find their way over unknown territory. Is that a psychic quality?
Answer: Yes, that is what mediums can do. But sometimes it is a quality of the species because; there again, you get a precursor of evolution manifest in one quality, like the pigeon, which has developed the one quality of finding its way home. It is called instinct, but it is really a form of lucidity. They are qualities, which are precursors to the line of evolution.
Question: Sometimes when a medium describes a “dead” animal, it is accompanied by another one. Does one animal help the other to return?
Answer: No, unless there was an association between the two animals already in your earthly world.
Question: Is it always a human spirit who helps them?
Answer: Yes, because the higher helps the lower always. In is the law.
Question: What sort of animals are on the animal plane?
Answer: All those animals which were your pets, which you thought to be almost your equals, which you endowed with affection, with love, and stimulated their reason and the ability to think. Rather than that they should be lonely, disconsolate, lost without the one to whom they were attached, they come to this plane where they mingle with other animals and receive the special care of those who, have devoted their lives to the study of animals, are able to minister to them and to give them the kindness which is their natural expression. In this world they find all the things that will delight animals, all the pursuits of enjoyment that prevent them from fretting. And occasionally they are brought within the radius of the home, so that they can still feel the affection of the ones from whom they are apart for a while. That is why so many sometimes see or hear the dog or the cat, even though they do not possess knowledge of spiritualism. They only know that there is a sense, or feeling, that the dog is there. And other animals always see them because of their higher psychic qualities.
Question: Do the people who work on the animal plane bring them back?
Answer: It is the ones who minister to them on the animal plane who bring them back because they would not come back with anybody else. And do you know who are the ones who minister to them? Those who were passionately devoted to animals and never had the opportunity of befriending them, just is in our world the children who pass before their parents are cared for by those who had strong maternal instincts, which were never satisfied. Dogs and the cats and all the pets are cared for by those who were devoted to them and did not have the means of lavishing their devotion upon them. Of course, they are aided by those who have specialised knowledge of animals, which is always used in our world. Knowledge is never wasted.
Question: If an animal is ill when it passes over, does it get nursed, as human beings do?
Answer: Yes, because there are many in our world who are glad to have the opportunity.
Question: Are there different sections, or do the animals mingle?
Answer: No, the boundaries are fixed.
Question: Though it is one animal plane, has it different boundaries?
Yes. It is very natural. It is not like a huge pen.
Question: Are cats separated from the dogs?
Answer: Yes, they are.
Question: Except the friendly ones, and I suppose they are near the boundaries?
Answer: Yes, it is all very natural.
Question: Which is next in the line of animal evolution after the dog – the cat or the monkey?
Answer: The cat.
Question: Why not the monkey, considering he is so much like us?
Answer: Evolution, as I have tried to explain, is not in a straight line. There are always precursors and retrogrades. Whilst man has developed in his line of evolution from the monkey, that pace has not been maintained and the dog has passed the monkey stage, largely because man has conferred friendship on the dog.
Question: Did the monkey break the law?
Answer: They did not break the law, but they fail to live up to what they could have done.
Question: Is it possible that in the future the dog will slip backwards?
Answer: No, I do not think so, because now, after all these millions of years, the species have become defined. The pattern has become almost standardised and the chances of physical evolution are diminishing. You must remember that there is a limit to physical evolution, in the sense that there can be changes in form, but not in the essential pattern there can be various, but not complete, changes. For example, take your physical body. You will not outgrow, for generations, this form, this shape – the two arms, two eyes, one nose, two legs. That pattern has now becomes fairly standardised. There will be variations according to race and country, but not changes in the pattern. This is more so in regard to the animals, so that there will be an emergence of the group spirit in the animal world but not so much in the physical world.
Question: Would the slipping back of the monkey be the result of free will?
No, because it is a condition that affects the whole group.
Question: How could the group will decide if it had no individual consciousness?
There is a difference between the behavior of animals according to their instincts and also lack of instincts. Even in animals, where there is no individual reasoning ability, there is a power either for labour or for idleness. It can respond, or fail to respond. It can sharpen up or awaken the instincts of the group. And, though it has no individual judgment, there can be, in the line of evolution, epochs where the whole species is failing to respond to what it is capable of doing.
Question: How do you view the ever-increasing practice of experiments on living animals, often causing terrible pain to helpless creatures?
Answer: Many people on this side are striving to get this unholy thing stopped.
Question: Is there any help in any way from the spirit world?
Answer: All those who desire to serve at once bring to their aid those in my world who were inspired and sustain and bring them the power of the spirit to aid the work that they seek to do. It is wrong to administer pain to any of the creatures of the Great Spirit, but you must remember that there are many who do it in ignorance, not realising the pain that they inflict, only possessed with motives to help their fellow men. But they are still breaking the law.
Question: But if, as we are often told, only the motive counts, will these people who inflict pain in what they conceived to be service to their fellow men have to pay the penalty for breaking the law?
Answer: The motives may be good, but the principle is unaltered. If one deliberately inflicts pain, knowing it will hurt, that means that the one who does it is conscious of his responsibility. His motives, of course, are good, but he has inflicted pain. All these factors are taken into account, I cannot agree with the practice of inflicting pain.
Question: Are animals sent to earth to help mankind?
Yes. And mankind is sent to help them.
Question: But the sole purpose of the animal creation is it not to be of use to man?
Answer: No, that is only part of the work.
Question: Do you believe that vivisection can be right when it is undertaken with a good motive?
Answer: No. How can that which is cruel be right? How can that which causes pain, which inflicts torture, be right? It is contrary to all we teach. It is wrong to experiment on those who are not capable of resisting.
Question: Do you agree that no cure for cancer will ever be found by that method?
Answer: Your world cannot produce remedies for the diseases, which it has created by living contrary to the laws of the Great Spirit. There will be found remedies for all your diseases, but they will not be found by experiments on animals.
Question: Why does not the spirit world interfere when it sees so many appalling atrocities committed on animals?
Answer: Because the Universe is ruled by natural laws.
At the end of these questions the guide made this comment: “Just as animals strive to serve us with devotion, let us always try to serve others with equal devotion, with equal faithfulness, for it is all part of the divine love restlessly stirring which seeks to find expression everywhere. In a world that is so full of hatred and anger and jealousy, rage and fierce passion, it is increasingly necessary for divine love to be made manifest.”