Ahimsa and Abortion | The Rebirth of Ancestors as Descendants

Imagine being murdered before you even have a chance to be born. That is fate of countless souls who never have the chance to see light of day. They inhabit a world of darkness. A world where they were never allowed the opportunity to fulfil their destiny. I am not anti-abortion. What I am is anti selective-sex abortion.

Sex-selective abortion is the practice of terminating a pregnancy based upon the predicted sex of the infant. The selective abortion of female foetuses is most common in societies and cultures where male offspring are valued over female offspring. Selective-sex abortion skews the human sex ratio—the relative number of males to females in a given age group. In the two most populous countries in the world–China and India–men outnumber women by 70 million. The consequences of having ‘too many men’ are far more endemic than we realise.

The ripple effect of this painful choice will reverberate for the whole generation and for all subsequent generations yet-to-come.

Pro-Life Can Be Pro-Choice

In contemporary dialogues on abortion, two camps have emerged. The pro-life camp and the pro-choice camp. I am a conscious male with highly liberal ideals. I am 100 percent behind any and all initiatives that heal the wounds of humanity as a whole.

But when it comes to the issue of abortion, I have mixed feelings. I don’t fit nicely into the box of pro-life or pro-choice. The pro-choice camp consists largely of scientifically-minded and educated individuals who hold a liberal worldview of a woman’s right to exercise her free will with regards to her body. The pro-life camp consists of individuals who hold a religious worldview that stems from scripture.

Perhaps there is a third worldview that one could consider. The ancient principle of Ahimsa nonviolence is based on the premise that all living beings possess the spark of the divine spiritual energy. To hurt another being is to hurt oneself. The core tenet of Ahimsa is that violence has karmic consequences. It is a key virtue in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

But what is violence?

In the biblical narrative of Cain and Abel, Cain is depicted as the world’s first murderer. The killing of other living beings for the purpose of sustenance is fundamentally different to the murder of one’s own brother due to jealousy. If you’ve ever watched animal documentaries, you’ll see first-hand how predators hunt prey to sustain their lives. Lions, in particular, are ferocious killers. But a lion that has had enough to eat will not continue to kill–unless he is provoked or attacked.

Animals kill for their survival needs. Humans are no different in that regard. But what about those who kill for greed? Those who allow themselves to be catapulted or coerced to do the unspeakable because they are jealous and greedy? Does this form of violence have karmic consequences?

Why are humans so strongly motivated by greed, jealousy, power and control?

When Ancestors Return as Descendants

In an interview entitled The Torch of Our Ancestors, author Dipa Sanatani discussed the idea that in Hinduism–and other cultures around the world–there is a belief that ancestors return (as in, are reincarnated) as descendants.

What does the act of abortion mean when we apply this concept to modern-day concerns? It ceases to be a pro-life or pro-choice concern but takes on a gravity that goes well beyond any human understanding of how the universe functions.

I am not here to discuss or question the legal system or the right of a mother to make an informed choice about abortion. What I would instead like to discuss are the moral and spiritual consequences to those who have a choice; and who can exercise their freedom and discretion from the broader perspective of a soul’s journey in the world and humanity’s collective duty to uphold the creation and preservation of life on earth.

My ideas may not sit well with people who claim to adhere to secular beliefs–or even religious beliefs. My thoughts are the result of my own ideas, questions and meditations on the topic. I am not here to put forth or convert anyone to my ideas. I am not even here to change the legal structure or take any decision-making power away from anyone.

I would instead like to discuss a view that is not particularly well-known. Worldwide population data suggests that sex-selective abortions have led to at least 23 million fewer girls being born. Many societies–and not just those residing in developing nations–value sons over daughters.

Where are these 23 million girls who were murdered well before they were born–simply for being girls?

I can understand why abortions happen and need to happen. In the context I have outlined above, we are faced with a moral and spiritual problem–because it directly negates not only the principles of creation and preservation of life and existence, but also the order and regularity of the world in between worlds. In Hinduism, an abortion is a direct attack on Prakriti Nature: the Mother Goddess who is responsible for the unfolding of life and the evolution of all existence on earth as a result of karmic consequences.

Abortions interfere with the rebirth of souls and could thereby delay the spiritual progress of unborn humans. It has both physical and spiritual consequences–not only for those who indulge in it for violent and selfish reasons; but also those who facilitate it and turn a blind eye. An abortion is not just about removing an embryo and freeing a woman from her natural, social or family obligation to rear a child.

It is an attack against the universal order.

Imagine if you were not born. What would have happened to your parents, grandparents, your spouse, your children, their children, and so on. Each abortion takes life in a new direction and interferes with the destiny of innumerable souls.

The soul repeatedly takes on a variety of physical bodies until moksha. Image courtesy of Himalayan Academy Publications.

Karma and Reincarnation

The centrality of a belief in karma and reincarnation makes abortion a particularly complicated decision in Eastern religions.

At the time of rebirth, souls cannot just choose any parent and enter any womb. Their choice of parents is limited by their own karmas–and the karma of their ancestral lineage. Soul contracts, dominant desires and latent impressions act as catalysts in the process to synchronise the events preceding the rebirth of each soul. Abortions add another layer of complexity in allowing an unborn soul to choose the right parents and significantly delays the rebirth of souls.

The soul’s journey begins when they descend from the ancestral realm to earth in preparation for their rebirth. First, the spark of creation enters the bodies of their prospective fathers. At that time, they may not even know who their mothers will be. They stay in the semen of their fathers and journey into their mothers’ wombs during sexual union. In the womb, their mothers nourish them until they are born. Both parents thus have an equal responsibility in the rebirth of the souls who choose them as their parents.

We have obligatory duties, not just towards our families–but also towards our ancestors. The scriptures suggest that deceased parents, grandparents, and ancestors will mostly choose their own descendants as parents for their rebirth. Abortions interfere with that process and cause immeasurable grief and inconvenience to them, which is not good for any family because aggrieved ancestors can torment them and cause them numerous problems.

My hope is that the issue of abortion will be viewed from a much broader perspective. It is more than a humanitarian problem or a gender issue. The duty of parents towards their children begins well before inception–especially for those of us who believe in karma and rebirth. Parents are the portal through which souls enter the world to continue their journey. Each human being is a link in a long chain of life, death and rebirth.

If a chain is broken for any reason, it will have serious repercussions for innumerable souls who would have been part of that chain and who would not have gotten the chance to fulfil their karmic destiny.

By Mark

Proud Numbers Guy | Founding Partner at a Family-Owned Private Firm


  1. We don’t always know the reason why, but scripture guides us towards the higher truth.

  2. I think all life is sacred in the eyes of the Creator. The universe always restores balance and order. We think we can control things, but in the end–we lose our power.

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