Certainly humans, and it looks like animals are part of the Karmic progression - like in the Gajendra story.

does this list of Karma-bound entities vary by different traditions?

  • 3
    Yes - Jivas / Jivatmas
    – mar
    Jan 31, 2019 at 8:48

1 Answer 1


Some of the entities that one can be born as due to karma are enumerated in the Manusmriti:

I am now going to describe, briefly, in due order, those migratory states into which one falls through each quality from among these.—(39)

Those partaking of ‘Sattva’ reach the state of the gods, those endowed with ‘Rajas,’ the state of men, and those characterised by ‘Tamas,’ the state of beasts; such is the threefold migratory state.—(40)

This threefold Migratory State due to the qualities should be understood to be again of three kinds each—high, low and middling, in accordance with the peculiar character of the act and knowledge of each man.—(41)

Inanimate beings, worms, insects, fishes, snakes, tortoise, cattle and wild animals,—represent the lowest state due to the quality of ‘Tamas.’—(42)

Elephants, horses, despised Śūdras, Mlecchas, lions, tigers and boars—represent the middling state due to the quality of ‘Tamas.’—(43)

Cāraṇas, Suparṇas, hypocritical men, Rākṣasas, and Piśācas—represent the highest state among those partaking of the quality of ‘Tamas.’—(44)

Stick-fencers, wrestlers, actors, men subsisting by the use of weapons, those addicted to gambling and drinking,—represent the lowest state among those partaking of the quality of ‘Rajas.’—(45)

Kings, Kṣatriyas, priests of kings, and leading wranglers and warriors represent the middling state among those partaking of ‘Rajas.’—(46)

Gandharvas, Guhyakas, ‘Yakṣas,’ the attendants of the gods, and all the Apsaras, represent the high state among those partaking of ‘Rajas.’—(47)

Ascetics and hermits, Brāhmaṇas, celestial beings, lunar asterisms, and Daityas represent the first state partaking of ‘Sattva.’—(48)

Sacrificers, sages, gods, vedas, luminaries, years, Pitṛs and Sādhyas represent the second state partaking of ‘Sattva.’—(49)

Brahmā, creators of the universe, Dharma, the Great One, Unmanifest,—these the wise ones describe as representing the best state partaking of ‘Sattva.’—(50)

From another scripture:

Yājñavalkya (3.137-138).—‘Addicted to bad acts, impatient, active, attached to objects of sense, a man abounds in the attribute of Rajas, and is re-born among men. Lethargic, cruel in bis acts, covetous, heretic, addicted to begging, careless, of bad character, a man abounds in the attribute of Tamas, and is born among animals.’

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