Ask Mr. Donn
Do Hindus believe that you can be reincarnated as an animal, for example - a cat?
What reincarnation is not: "Reincarnation is not a simple physical birth of a person; for instance, John being reborn as a cat in the next life. In this case John possesses an immortal soul which transforms to the form of a cat after his death. This cycle is repeated over and over again. Or if he is lucky, he will be reborn as a human being. This notion of the transmigration of the soul definitely DOES NOT EXIST IN BUDDHISM."
But does it exist in Hinduism? We checked a couple of very good sites for the answer:
- This one had great information: Hindu website.
- We could be wrong, but it's our understanding that Hinduism teaches that there are several levels in reincarnation; you can be reincarnated in a higher level if you've earned it, but you can never slide back. So, a cow might be reincarnated as a human (moving up). But a human cannot slide back to be reincarnated as a cow. That's where karma comes in. If you behaved badly in your present life, when you are reincarnated, it's your turn to have bad things happen to you; after all, you earned it - what goes around, comes around. Hinduism is complicated, and reincarnation in Hinduism, as far as we know, does not stand alone. It is combined with dharma and karma.