Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Mosquito Conundrum

Swami Gulagulaananda quoted Hajime Saitou:
"A man who cannot uphold his beliefs is pathetic; in this world or the next"

Let's assume you are all set to sit in your room and do some light reading or work on your laptop. Or perhaps you are tired and it's time to sleep. Suddenly you see a hint of movement in the outer regions of your field of vision. You exhibit animal like reflexes and turn around and behold a small pesky mosquito manoeuvring effortlessly like a heat seeking cruise missile. You let out a slight tsk or a mch at the thought of getting bitten in the least accessible area of your body, perhaps your leg under the table or perhaps your toe.

So what would you do?

Would you make a move and kill the mosquito immediately? Or take some kind of action like spraying a mosquito repellant or turning on one of those mosquito repellants? Or would you ignore the mosquito?

The question is not a simple one - but rather one with a slight philosophical twist. Considering a majority of us are supposed to be peace lovers and that "Ahimsa paramo Dharma" (Non violence is the greatest tenet) is supposed to be our (Hindus, Jains, Buddhists) tenet (and I am sure other religions have an equivalent) - One shouldn't hurt others (unnecessarily?)

What I am trying to say here is - The mosquito has not yet bitten you. It is simply flying around, minding its own business. The mosquito has caused you no harm. Probably the mosquito is a male mosquito (not to sound sexist, but females suck blood... I am, of course, talking about mosquitoes) and completely disinterested in your blood, completely contented with the plant sap that it usually feeds on. There is a possibility that the mosquito will simply leave your room through the very window or god-forsaken cranny that it emerged from without doing you any harm...

On the other hand, there is a possibility of the mosquito causing you harm - biting you and causing that miserable itch... Or perhaps even spreading a deadly disease such as malaria or filaria.

There is a possibility... But as of now, it has caused you no harm. So is it right on your part to do a preemptive strike and kill it?

From our past experience, we have adequate evidence that a mosquito has a high chance of causing you harm. It seems, therefore, obvious that we should swat and kill it. But does that bitter past experience mean that we paint all mosquitoes with the same brush? Perhaps this mosquito is a peace loving male mosquito...

Think about it - and apply the same to human beings. Especially if you are one who doesn't like stereotyping.