Considering that kill can bring bad karma, what must be done with some harmful animals like aedes aegypti, triatoma infestans, ticks etc., when it is on our way? And if they can be killed it means we can tranquilly kill a homo sapiens that is effectively more harmful than those creatures? (This question does not concern legal issues, just karmic e religious issues.)

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    You need to understand that the harmful animals are also here for a purpose.It is our duty to avoid them as much as possible but it is not in our rights to kill them.
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 6:19
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    Interesting way of thinking. Karma is highly complicated. There is nobody on this earth who has deciphered karma (unless they are self realized or God). Karma is not associated with Good or Bad. That is our own delusion. Karma simply means 'Whatever you do, comes back to you!'. If you kill a human being with bad intentions, then chances are (unless you attain self realization) it will come back to you. If you killed the human being with good intentions, then too somebody else may do the same to you (unless you're self realized) ! Thus Lord Jesus said 'Treat your neighbor as yourself!' All best
    – Sai
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 15:36
  • However if you killed with a genuine desire to defend yourself (lets say a man is coming after you with a knife), then I am not sure what would happen, because in such cases you are reacting, rather than 'acting'! For example, if you killed a tiger, because it is trying to eat you. You are simply 'reacting'. You are not acting. It is incredibly impossible to understand karma to a 100% accuracy. Thus the sadhakas get a general understanding of karma (do unto other as you would have done unto you) and move on to the goal of Self Realization, thereby karma is completely obliterated. :)!
    – Sai
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 15:46
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    @Sai, "avoiding good vs bad" is correct guideline; I too think the same. This is 1 of the very few places where Veda & Gita fall apart. The usual childhood teaching in a typical household is based on Veda, which advises to do good & leave bad. It's helpful for society/culture building. But Gita is more self centered, hence it was advised in private when the preacher was feeling Oneness with asker. Like advising self! Karma for which we can no more answer "Why I do?" seems NishkAm to me for now, as it's most natural. This is why Karma of creating universe doesn't bind God. More thinking reqd.
    – iammilind
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 2:44
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    @Sai I think that as first you must cherish, protect and respect the life within you. I belive that we are living in this material life because we have to learn all this things. And if tiger will attack, you must first protect what has been given from the gods: the life itself (God seed). But if tiger will kill you, you must forgive him because every one is living with their own level of awarenes. All the best!
    – user2578
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 6:34

1 Answer 1


My previous answer was entirely based on my own understanding and without any Scriptures to support it.

Now,here is a completely revised answer that is based on Scriptures:

When one's life is in danger, he can kill a Brahmana, Vysya, Kshatriya or a Shoodra or even a cow, horse or any other animal, to protect his life from them. This will not earn him any sin. ...The king, for the sake of the gods and the Brahmanas, should kill harmful animals such as the lion, tiger etc. In times of distress, the king may kill and eat an animal, that is fit to be consumed. He should never indulge in this act, in any other circumstance, except for the sake of gods and Brahmanas.

The above passage is from Brahmanda Purana,Uttara Khanda.

The words are those of Brihaspati(Deva Guru) and the conversation is between him and Deva Raja Indra.

According to Vishnu Smriti:

Protecting (one attacked by robbers, or by tigers, or otherwise in danger) is more meritorious than any (other) gift.

By doing so he obtains that place of abode (after death) which he desires himself.

188. He who kills (in his own defence a tiger or other) animal with sharp nails and claws, or a (goat or other) horned animal (excepting cows), or a (boar or other) animal with sharp teeth, or an assassin, or an elephant, or a horse, or any other (ferocious animal by whom he has been attacked), commits no crime.(Chapter V)

So,it seems,killing a potentially dangerous animal is not a sin provided you are being attacked by it.

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    Ahimsa is not always Param Dharma. Dharma is highly relative and subjective, but truth is one. A Kshatria's duty is to kill enemies on battlefield and save his people. Similarly soldiers must kill and they die on battlefield. That's the reason all those who die on battle field go to heaven. And i'm not the one who down voted your answer.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 8:52
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    @AnilKumar I agree that soldiers who die fighting for their country goes immediately to heaven but what about those who emerged out victorious and alive after war?Anything mentioned about them in scriptures?An act of ahimsa is always followed by another act of the same nature as a consequence.This is what i have understood.
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 9:03
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    Rama, Krishna and even Vishnu and Shiva killed many evil demons. Pandavas wanted to visit Kailas (Shiva) to clean sins. So, Dharma is highly relative and changes with Yuga too. You can't be a good King or leader or politician by following Ahimsa always in Kali Yuga. A Sanyasi should never resort to violence. So, it actually depends on situation and your profession..
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 9:32
  • So,the duties of a ksatriya will naturally involve such acts that creates more bad karmas than those of a Brahmin.So,what i feel is any act of himsa is bad as that one act creates an infinite chain of such acts.But of course to imagine a world completely free of any kind of himsa is un realistic.
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 6:50
  • You are only considering act of killing but he is actually gathering a good karma too by saving his people. If a mosquito though it didn't bite you, you can kill it as it will definitely cause you a disease when it bites you. So, you are thus saving your family members. Actually you are acquiring good karma too here. Case would be here self defense and Karma may be zero. "Swadharma is more important than Paradharma", so your self defense is your foremost Dharma. As i said this Dharma is highly relative when we live in Maya.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 6:54

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