Non-violence, and killing mosquitoes

Acharya Prashant
10 min readOct 18, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): Dear Acharya Ji, for the sake of not sounding hypocritical, I have to admit that I have killed more than one mosquito in my life and many other insects too, but never intended to cause pain and suffering to them. Now hearing, let alone seeing the relatively conscious animals being tortured evokes almost unbearable pain and helplessness in me.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Yes, of course. If you understand where your pain, helplessness and concern come from, then you will be more determined, more unflinching in your stand. Otherwise, you will remain a bit shaky, uncertain.

When it comes to killing mosquitoes, you must remember the fundamentals. Man, as he is, is bound to kill. Killing is necessarily associated with the human form. That’s how we are, and that’s why the Saints loathed the human form. They didn’t say that it is a great joy to be born as a human body. They said, “Please, we do not want to come back again as a human body, we want to be liberated.” Because to be human is to be violent.

Now, that’s a fine thing that you must understand. To be a lion does not mean that you are violent; to be a rat is not necessarily to be violent. In fact, the word ‘violence’ does not apply to the lion or to the rat. It applies only to human beings. The Lion kills all his life, but he cannot be called violent. He cannot be called non-violent either; he is just doing what his physical conditioning compels him to do. He has no option.

Man has the option to kill and to not to kill.

Man has the option to choose what he wants to eat and therefore,

only man can be violent or non-violent.

The most fearsome carnivore is not violent at all. The mosquito is not violent even if it survives only on your blood. But if you can avoid killing the mosquito and you still kill it, then you are violent.

It’s a strange thing. The rules are different. The rule that applies to a mosquito does not apply to you, because the mosquito owing to its form does not have a consciousness crying for liberation. No mosquito is crying for liberation, no rat, neither the elephant, nor the lion are eager to get…