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Date Posted: 07:49
Author: ketch - 11 July 2002
Subject: pest control

My guru was matchlessly interpreting the ancient texts. At his feet, I was in perfect peace. A rude mosquito entered the idyl and competed for my attention. As it dug a poisonous hypodermic needle into my thigh, I automatically raised an avenging hand. Reprieve from impending execution! An opportune memory came to me of one of Patanjali's yoga aphorisms—that on ahimsa (harmlessness).

"Why didn't you finish the job?"

"Master! Do you advocate taking life?"

"No; but the deathblow already had been struck in your mind."

"I don't understand."

"Patanjali's meaning was the removal of desire to kill." Sri Yukteswar had found my mental processes an open book. "This world is inconveniently arranged for a literal practice of ahimsa. Man may be compelled to exterminate harmful creatures. He is not under similar compulsion to feel anger or animosity. All forms of life have equal right to the air of maya. The saint who uncovers the secret of creation will be in harmony with its countless bewildering expressions. All men may approach that understanding who curb the inner passion for destruction."

"Guruji, should one offer himself a sacrifice rather than kill a wild beast?"

"No; man's body is precious. It has the highest evolutionary value because of unique brain and spinal centers. These enable the advanced devotee to fully grasp and express the loftiest aspects of divinity. No lower form is so equipped. It is true that one incurs the debt of a minor sin if he is forced to kill an animal or any living thing. But the Vedas teach that wanton loss of a human body is a serious transgression against the karmic law."

I sighed in relief; scriptural reinforcement of one's natural instincts is not always forthcoming.


From "Autobiography of a Yogi" chapter 12.


I was reminded of the above passage today when I felt compelled to have a wasp nest in my attic treated by a pest exterminator. I looked to see if it was possible to arrange for the wasps to be relocated without being harmed, but that is illegal and impractical.

At first I had been willing to leave the wasps alone as they had not shown any sign of aggression, but after a little research into wasp behaviour it seems that there may have been several thousand waiting to hatch later in the year, and they may well have turned aggressive later.

It's an unpleasant feeling, having these creatures killed, and the passage above is my justification. How do others here deal with pests?

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