Once a Human, Always a Human?

Sri Aurobindo continues his review of the popular belief in transmigration that would hold that souls born into a human body might still possibly revert to an animal form in a subsequent rebirth. In our prior post we reviewed his rationale for why this is highly unlikely, given the added complexity required to provide a platform for the evolved consciousness capable of the human birth. Nevertheless, he now provides several specific potential “exceptions that prove the rule” which are worth reviewing:

“It could only be possible for human souls, supposing such to exist, in whom the conversion ws not decisive, souls that had developed far enough to make, occupy or assume a human body, but not enough to ensure the safety of this assumption, not enough to remain secure in its achievement and faithful to the human type of consciousness. Or at most there might be, supposing certain animal propensities to be vehement enough to demand a separate satisfaction quite of their own kind, a sort of partial rebirth, a loose holding of an animal form by a human soul, with an immediate subsequent reversion to its normal progression. The movement of Nature is always sufficiently complex for us not to deny dogmatically such a possibility, and, if it be a fact, then there may exist this modicum of truth behind the exaggerated popular belief which assumes an animal rebirth of the soul once lodged in man to be quite as normal and possible as a human reincarnation. But whether the animal reversion is possible or not, the normal law must be the recurrence of birth in new human forms for a soul that has once become capable of humanity.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 20, The Philosophy of Rebirth

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