This illustration depicts the older Soul that is Enlightened, not just a Soul that has lived a number of lifetimes as a human being. Because… it is quite possible to have lived a number of lifetimes and NOT BE ENLIGHTENED, and not be a human being. Do not be naive in thinking that all the animals you see have always been animals… or conversely, all the people you see will not ‘transmigrate’ into the forms of animals in future lives.
The Ladder of Life, in other words, goes up as well as it goes down! The ‘key’ is for a Soul to continue to successfully convert negative Karma into Consciousness. Rather than get too involved in negativity, attachment, or in things not ‘up-lifting’ of one’s Soul, and thus lose ground, or move the wrong direction on the Ladder of Life.
Also, the label ‘New Human Being’ in the illustration refers to the Soul that is being born as a human being for the first time.
What the West tends to miss [ignore and deny] is the fact that a new born child is not necessarily a new human being! Most human beings, in point of fact, have been a human being before, and this means these Soul was successful in their last lives as a human beings… because they “earned” another birth as a human being… This is not always the case with people… especially those who “act” like animals.
That is, every living thing has a Soul. The Soul of a thing is what gives that thing life. All living things require Souls in order to operate. And the goal of every Soul [whether recognized or not] is to slowly climb the Ladder of Life as it matures [by completing Karma, and thus, creating C’etc, (or the Virtues of Life)… which is the Purpose of Life].
Life is therefore a “process,” and all Souls that have committed to the cycle of life and death, are part of that process.
Reference: The Path of the Masters, by Julian Johnson, available in most libraries.
Peace, Brother James