God be Portrayed in Animal Forms?
God dwells in all creation. Animals are
manifestations of the same Divine spirit as human beings. We should
therefore honor the Divine presence in animals, which is not to
worship their outer forms. No one, even the so-called primitive
savage, considers that the animal state is the highest condition for
the soul. No one thinks that God is no more than an animal. Those
who honor animals do so from seeing the Divine Being expressing
through them, not through look up to the animal state.
Hinduism respects the Divine presence in
animals. It recognizes that animals project certain cosmic energies
through the Divine Self present within them. Animal images appear in
Hinduism for their archetypal and poetic value, not as a mere
worship of lower forms of life. Respect for the God in animals,
which includes picturing the God in animals, is part of any
It is not a sign of lack of spirituality
but of a greater sensitivity to the sacred nature of all life. If we
refuse to recognize God in animals, it only shows that we have not
yet come into contact with the real Divinity, that our God is a
human prejudice, not a universal Truth. It indicates that we will
abuse and exploit animals for our own personal pleasure, which is
exactly the case in the world today.
Animals also have a soul, a mind and a
personality. Unless we can see the Conscious Being in all creation,
we do not really see. We do not know ourselves, nor will be function
as a humane and compassionate presence in the universe.