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Killing insects

The Sum of Awe

Brought to you by the moment that spacetime began.
I feel like this is a silly thing to ask out of the vast complexity of Hindu philosophy but I had just killed a few spiders with spider-killing spray that were by my doorway. I'm honestly terrified of spiders. One of them I could've gotten with a jar and moved but the rest would've been very difficult. I needed them gone. Even the one I could've gotten with a jar I sprayed.

The same goes for bugs in the house, even if I'm not afraid of them, I generally kill them because it's just a simpler way to do it than going through the trouble of trying to trap a house fly, or a cricket, or a gnat (that'd be nearly impossible) and save it.

I feel like I may be excused because this is just nature, this is just how it happens. One animal was in the den of another animal and that other animal felt uncomfortable with its presence and took care of it in the most convenient way.

I guess what I'm asking is - is this kind of thinking going to get in the way of enlightenment or moksha? does it affect my karma?
 

Aupmanyav

Be your own guru
I feel like this is a silly thing to ask out of the vast complexity of Hindu philosophy but I had just killed a few spiders with spider-killing spray that were by my doorway. I'm honestly terrified of spiders. One of them I could've gotten with a jar and moved but the rest would've been very difficult. I needed them gone. Even the one I could've gotten with a jar I sprayed.

The same goes for bugs in the house, even if I'm not afraid of them, I generally kill them because it's just a simpler way to do it than going through the trouble of trying to trap a house fly, or a cricket, or a gnat (that'd be nearly impossible) and save it.

I feel like I may be excused because this is just nature, this is just how it happens. One animal was in the den of another animal and that other animal felt uncomfortable with its presence and took care of it in the most convenient way.

I guess what I'm asking is - is this kind of thinking going to get in the way of enlightenment or moksha? does it affect my karma?
Speaking as a theist Hindu: You killed life forms. You will have to face some time in hell (it won't be eternal hell). It does affect your 'karma'. :)
Jains will be totally against it. Their ascetics will like to die of snake bite rather than killing the snake. Buddhists also will not approve it though they would not mind eating creatures killed by others. Sikhs will allow that if you are doing that for food. Shades of beliefs. :)
They were not doing you any harm. And the flies and mosquitoes can be kept away without killing them.
There are groups which correct your arachnophobia. They claim that they can cure this in two hours.
Rats and house lizards are other creatures that many people are afraid of.

MrHairyEightlegs.256.388529.jpg
They are not that bad once you know them.
 
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ajay0

Well-Known Member
I guess what I'm asking is - is this kind of thinking going to get in the way of enlightenment or moksha? does it affect my karma?

There is nothing wrong in killing harmful insects like mosquitos or flies that can spread diseases. It is your duty to maintain cleanliness at home and good health.

If the spiders are poisonous or have other harmful aspects, they obviously must be eliminated.

However it is important to do your due diligence in understanding whether the said insects are harmful or not. Harmless insects can be kept out of the house without killing them.

Also important to eliminate them without aversion/hatred and out of a sense of duty. It is aversion/hatred and actions based on this emotion that can create karma. This can be avoided by having reverence for life and nature.
 

SalixIncendium

अहं ब्रह्मास्मि
Staff member
Premium Member
I live by a principle called ahimsa, which is Sanskrit for non-injury.

Doing harm to others, whether a person or any other living creature, impacts one's karma negatively. Personally, if I find an insect or spider in my home, I will take them up and put them outdoors.
 

SalixIncendium

अहं ब्रह्मास्मि
Staff member
Premium Member
There is nothing wrong in killing harmful insects like mosquitos or flies that can spread diseases. It is your duty to maintain cleanliness at home and good health.

If the spiders are poisonous or have other harmful aspects, they obviously must be eliminated.

However it is important to do your due diligence in understanding whether the said insects are harmful or not. Harmless insects can be kept out of the house without killing them.

Also important to eliminate them without aversion/hatred and out of a sense of duty. It is aversion/hatred and actions based on this emotion that can create karma. This can be avoided by having reverence for life and nature.

I personally don't see how it could be one's duty to kill any poisonous creature. Typically, they will stay to themselves unless threatened.

Is a being born with a natural defensive mechanism's life less important than one who does not have such a defense mechanism?
 

ajay0

Well-Known Member
I personally don't see how it could be one's duty to kill any poisonous creature. Typically, they will stay to themselves unless threatened.

Is a being born with a natural defensive mechanism's life less important than one who does not have such a defense mechanism?

There should be no poisonous creatures in or around the house. This is especially important when there are children around. In the forest, they are okay.

I am not saying one should necessarily kill them, but they should be outside the house or surroundings and placed in their own natural habitat.
 

stvdv

Veteran Member
New I feel like this is a silly thing to ask out of the vast complexity of Hindu philosophy but I had just killed a few spiders with spider-killing spray that were by my doorway. I'm honestly terrified of spiders. One of them I could've gotten with a jar and moved but the rest would've been very difficult. I needed them gone. Even the one I could've gotten with a jar I sprayed
I had the same question. Sai Baba has spoken about this

Sai Baba said about this something like:
Dharma of animals is outside, not inside your house. So inside your house it's Dharmic to kill bugs etc (uninvited animals).

It's also our Dharma to keep body and house clean. How can it be if we allow animals (bugs etc) inside.

Personally, I talk to them (animals), and give them usually a fair warning to get out. And if possible I get them out alive.

Sai Baba's answer makes totally sense to me, so I am more at peace about this issue, since I know this
 

Madmogwai

Madmogwai
Speaking as a theist Hindu: You killed life forms. You will have to face some time in hell (it won't be eternal hell). It does affect your 'karma'. :)
Jains will be totally against it. Their ascetics will like to die of snake bite rather than killing the snake. Buddhists also will not approve it though they would not mind eating creatures killed by others. Sikhs will allow that if you are doing that for food. Shades of beliefs. :)
They were not doing you any harm. And the flies and mosquitoes can be kept away without killing them.
There are groups which correct your arachnophobia. They claim that they can cure this in two hours.
Rats and house lizards are other creatures that many people are afraid of.

MrHairyEightlegs.256.388529.jpg
They are not that bad once you know them.

mite a bit of a stretch to say he will go to hell
 

Notthedarkweb

Indian phil, German idealism, Rawls
mite a bit of a stretch to say he will go to hell

Yeah, I wanted to say that it really depends on whether or not you do a buy-in into a very specific Advaitin Vedantic conception of what violence is supposed to be. Gangesa in his Tattvachintamani makes it explicit in his answer to the Prabhakara objector:
(E211-219) Objection: Killing is violent (himsä), since it is an action that has death as its result, and that produces hell.
Tentative answer: No. Violence cannot be understood merely as an action which (either directly or indirectly) causes death, since
if that were so the maker of a well would be the killer of the cow that falls into it. For an act to be violent it must be produced with
anger and be such that death invariably occurs as a result of it. The performance of the sacrifice for one who desires to kill his enemy is not like that.
This comes in the context of a much-longer discussion on the nature of volitional desire involved in cognitive acts with the Prabhakara interlocutor, but Gangesa's mark-out here of what is violence as karmic demerit is pretty illustrative as to the standards required. Whether or not anger was involved in this act of OP's is...well, only they can.

Edit: To further illustrate how very specific this Vedantin conception is, the Pratyabhijñā school of Kashmir Saivism that Utpaladeva and Abhinavgupta belong to frequently reverse dharmic injunctions against meat eating and generally attack Brahmanical notions of ritual purity in their philosophical theology.
 
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Aupmanyav

Be your own guru
mite a bit of a stretch to say he will go to hell
Well, according to Hindu theists, the person certainly will. Although the period of internment (could even be 5 minutes) and the severity of punishment (could just be a missed meal) will depend on the severity of the person's evil action. Every thing in proportion and fair, even for the good deeds, irrespective of anyone's religion. No minus points if the person does not worship Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
 

Aupmanyav

Be your own guru
Gangesa in his Tattvachintamani makes it explicit in his answer to the Prabhakara objector:
.. Whether or not anger was involved in this act of OP's is...well, only they can.
Killing for fulfilling dharma, for example, to defend one's country, will also not entail any sin, provided the action is not marred by emotions, anger, hate, greed or envy. You are not indulging in this action for yourself.

"sukha-duḥkhe same kṛtvā, lābhālābhau jayājayau;
tato yuddhāya yujyasva, naivaṁ pāpam avāpsyasi."
BG 2.38
Considering happiness or distress, loss or gain, victory or defeat as the same, engage in fighting (for a cause of dharma), you shall never incur sin.
 
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Notthedarkweb

Indian phil, German idealism, Rawls
Killing for fulfilling dharma, for example, to defend one's country, will also not entail any sin, provided the action is not marred by emotions, anger, hate, greed or envy. You are not indulging in this action for yourself.

Well, I am not really interested in making normative claims about whether or not killing animals is bad (I believe it is, but for philosophical reasons quite orthogonal to this), but once again, Gangesa explicitly doesnt include not following dharma as a necessary condition for sinful violence, and the Prabhakara Mimsaka opponent is generally identified with exegesis of Vedic injunctions (indeed, denying moksha in favour of dharma). I wouldn't go so far as saying the Navya-Nyaya were anti-Upanisadic and Vedic in their rhetoric (they weren't, even if it features very little in their work), but a lot of them don't rate mere citing of the dharmic traditions very highly. Vardhamäna in his PRAKÄSA on Udayana's KIRANAVAL in fact explicitly states that dharma cannot be useful in liberation unless it as a mediate step to its overcoming through correct knowledge of reality. And all of these guys were theists by now!
 

Aupmanyav

Be your own guru
@Notthedarkweb, I am a layman and not a religious scholar. I am a non-vegetarian (Kashmiri brahmin) and an staunch advaitist, so for me:

"Brahmārpañam Brahmahavir Brahmāgnau Brahmañāhutaṃ, .."
Offering is Brahman, what is offered is Brahman, through the fire which is Brahman*, that is what I offer to Brahman .."
* Jatharagni (fire of stomach).
May not be an exact translation, but works for me. :)
 
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Notthedarkweb

Indian phil, German idealism, Rawls
Offering is Brahman, what is offered is Brahman, through the fire which is Brahman*, I offer to Brahman .."

Yeah, no, you are absolutely right from an Advaitin perspective.But vernacular Hinduism is influenced by other sources than that (like, as you yourself show, a lot of Hindus are non-vegetarians, and it beggars belief that no one, not even the fertile Bengali philosophical scene, would have written defences of meat-eating.) and a lot of times Hinduism is misidentified as Advaita (to the detriment of other Vedanta traditions too! The Madhva are staunch realists unlike the Sankara for example!), which is why I just found compelled to illustrate that it was a fairly open question at least in early modern Indian philosophy.
 

Madmogwai

Madmogwai
Well, according to Hindu theists, the person certainly will. Although the period of internment (could even be 5 minutes) and the severity of punishment (could just be a missed meal) will depend on the severity of the person's evil action. Every thing in proportion and fair, even for the good deeds, irrespective of anyone's religion. No minus points if the person does not worship Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
I believe Karma will be served but would it be in Hell, possible but in my opinion no.
But my opinion is just that, I could be wrong
 

Aupmanyav

Be your own guru
Where else bad karmas will be punished. Of course, there are 'Sanchita' (unfructified karmas) which can appear in any later birth, and 'Prarabhda' (fructified karmas which can appear any time in life). I may have a finger dislocation in this or any other birth, because I killed a spider. ;)
Karma in Hinduism - Wikipedia

'Karam ki gati nyari' (the way karma acts is unique), Song Mira Bai (1498-1547)
Mirabai - Wikipedia

"Murakh ko tum raj diyat ho, pandit phirat bhikhari"
(You give a kingdom to a fool, (while) the pandit goes abegging)
 

Vinayaka

devotee
Premium Member
I feel like this is a silly thing to ask out of the vast complexity of Hindu philosophy but I had just killed a few spiders with spider-killing spray that were by my doorway. I'm honestly terrified of spiders. One of them I could've gotten with a jar and moved but the rest would've been very difficult. I needed them gone. Even the one I could've gotten with a jar I sprayed.

The same goes for bugs in the house, even if I'm not afraid of them, I generally kill them because it's just a simpler way to do it than going through the trouble of trying to trap a house fly, or a cricket, or a gnat (that'd be nearly impossible) and save it.

I feel like I may be excused because this is just nature, this is just how it happens. One animal was in the den of another animal and that other animal felt uncomfortable with its presence and took care of it in the most convenient way.

I guess what I'm asking is - is this kind of thinking going to get in the way of enlightenment or moksha? does it affect my karma?

I do the best I can, given the obvious limitations, like driving a car and hitting many insects. Whenever I see a bug in the house, I try remove it safely to the outside. The other method is to not feed them. Fruit flies, for instance, can be discouraged somewhat by keeping food in the fridge or in containers.
 

SalixIncendium

अहं ब्रह्मास्मि
Staff member
Premium Member
I do the best I can, given the obvious limitations, like driving a car and hitting many insects. Whenever I see a bug in the house, I try remove it safely to the outside. The other method is to not feed them. Fruit flies, for instance, can be discouraged somewhat by keeping food in the fridge or in containers.

I brake for bugs.

My kid thinks I'm crazy because I'll hit the brakes to avoid a butterfly or dragonfly.
 
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