I just killed 4 house flies with a small towel. After killing the mighty insect, I looked at my mom and announced proudly, “Jobless manas su kare? Makhi mare!” What does a jobless man do? Kill flies. It’s an Indian expression for someone who has nothing to do. I assume flies were popular only in India when the expression came out. Without drifting further away let’s get back to talking about swatting the members of the insect family in my room.
The values of Jainism are engrained in me since the time I began to understand the word mummy and papa. I may not be religious but the values have stayed with me. Jainism forbids any violence whatsoever. There are stories of devotees who sliced the skin off their limbs to avoid causing harm to an ant walking on it; Talk about the pain threshold centuries ago. I would rather pick the ant up as humanely as possible and put it down on the floor. I truly believe that you should never hurt someone who pose you no harm.
So, was I wrong in killing the flies infesting my house or are the flies and mosquitos exempted from the list of living beings falling under the no-violence-whatsoever category? In theory, these little monsters have the potential to make you sick, very sick (imagine the no smoking ads you see before each movie these days, Itna tar apko bimar, bohot bimar kar sakta hai) and thus they must be eliminated. Yet, I was reminded of Paulo Cohelo’s weed story. One day He asked himself before removing the weeds, ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ What we call a ‘weed’ is, in fact, an attempt at survival by a particular species which took Nature millions of years to create and develop. Now, just replace the word weed with flies, mosquitoes or any other insect and reread the statement. How does it feel?
In the same story he quotes Krishna, more or less: ‘Do you really think you can kill anyone? Your hand is My hand, and it was already written that everything you are doing would be done. No one kills and no one dies.’ While it makes me feel less worse about killing insects, it is contradictory to my own belief. I believe ‘We are in this world not to live a life written by someone else. We are not a Sims game run by Gods’. That, however is a discussion for another article.
I would like to believe another hypothesis which I was told as a kid. It went something like, “If you kill an ant today, in the next life you will become an ant and the ant will become a human. The human will then kill you, the same way you killed it now”. I feel much better believing that all the insects I am killing now have killed me in my past lives. I am just returning the favour. It’s not bad when compared to the belief that I would go burn in hell for killing animals. Why punish someone in another world for the sins he commits in this world? Still beats me.
While news-anchors are busy debating about a snapchat video I am keeping myself occupied with more important topics like these. It’s high time people take notice of such incidents which can change the way you think about the world, the religions, and religious preachings. Yeah, I am still talking about killing flies and mosquitos. Look at that All-out fired up in your room to get rid of the mosquitos, you are in on this sin too. I think I will go with the belief, “You don’t have to hurt something that does not pose you an immediate threat”. In this case, the flies and mosquitoes do possess threats hence, SMACKKKKKK and you are out.
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Cover pic: tsirrell