• Bhisma laid in Bed Of Arrows due to his Bad karma in his past lives by Piercing a Butterfly.
  • As he pierced the Butterfly In Return he got Pierced by Arrows or a Snake that was put into Thorns .
  • Bad Karma for Killing a Insect is Less when compared to harming a Human.
  • Bhisma was a Bramacharya,Great Warrior,Dharma Follower and would had Good Karmas in Great Level.


  • If Bad Karma for Killing a Insect is Very Small then how a Great Dharma person like Bhisma would be Affected by Bed of Arrows ?

  • Why Insects Killing are compared to be Less as compared to humans ?

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    Please quote the passage that Bhisha suffered because of killing a butterfly. Mar 25, 2017 at 15:49
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    Killing insect or insignificant organisms are also sins..all of these lives are important in God's eyes
    – Rickross
    Mar 26, 2017 at 6:30
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    @Sakthi Yes but u can't be sure which karmas lead to which consequences..Thr is a similar story about queen Gandhari..where she destroyed 100 eggs of some insects in her previous birth and as a result she lost 100 sons in the battle of Kurukshetra..So u never know..
    – Rickross
    Mar 26, 2017 at 6:34
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    @Sakthi You can chk my answer to the question you have mentioned in ur question..There i have quoted from Manu Smriti and Parashara Smriti..Also note that in Hinduism scriptures are the ultimate authority..
    – Rickross
    Mar 26, 2017 at 6:40
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    @Sakthi Yes whatever u said is true..but we do know the example of Gandhari and what happened to her too..so that's y i said that i am not quite sure how the laws of karma are working in these cases..
    – Rickross
    Mar 26, 2017 at 7:55

3 Answers 3


Without going into whether Bhishma was on a bed of arrows due to killing a butterfly or snake in the past life, I'll answer the questions I assume you are trying to ask -

  1. Why is human life valued more over insect life?
    Due to its unique faculties of inquiry, capability for religion, and the only possibility for liberation. This article can be helpful.

  2. How could such a small amount of bad Karma cause a virtuous person as Bhishma to suffer to such a degree?
    The amount of bad karma is not negated by the good karma, the effects of both are to be individually realized. The story of Pandavas suffering in hell for a short duration after their death, is one example in this regard. Also, though causing death of an insect is a smaller sin compared to the murder of a human, it is enough to cause a painful death.

    "He who injures harmless creatures from a wish to give himself pleasure, never finds happiness in this life or the next.” (Manu-samhita 5.45)

    “The sins generated by violence curtail the life of the perpetrator.” (Mahabharata, Anu.115.33)

    "Men gifted with intelligence and purified souls should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated."(Mahabharata, Anu.115.20)

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    Welcome! Quote directly from scriptures if possible. Wikipedia can't be considered as an authentic source. Visit help center and formatting help to know about formatting as it makes your answers easy for reading. Mar 28, 2017 at 5:22
  • @Sree Charan I've added a source from the scripture.
    – SMJoe
    Mar 28, 2017 at 6:13
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    bhisma is one of vasu who tried to steal kamadenu for his wife.. involves all the 6 brothers. Vasu are 16th step in devatha ladder.. He got the worst of the curse of sage vasistha.. as per the curse he will be born as human, there will be enimity between his wife and himself and his wife will try to kill.. but piercing of insects is not the real cause, even its one of the cause. In the battle field he was defending Adharma so all his killing in the battle field is adharma, so krishna wanted bhisma to endure the pain because he doesnt want bhisma to suffering in hell
    – Prasanna R
    Dec 27, 2018 at 17:35

I believe the story of piercing insects and having to undergo some retribution is part of the story of Mandavya, who was impaled by a set of soldiers of the king when they mistook him to be some robbers. When he met Dharma and asked for a reason, Dharma mentioned that it was due to the fact that he had tortured (impaled) birds and bees as a child. Out of anger due to the disproportionate punishment for the crime, Mandavya cursed Dharma to be born on earth and that leads to the story of how Vidura was an incarnation of Dharma. He also established that actions of children should not be considered to have such repercussions. I think the above story belongs to the MBH but I don't have links to justify it. I read this for the first time in Rajaji's Mahabharata (which is not the same as Vyasa's / Janamejaya's version).

That was the back-story. Now I see many people in this site asking how something happened in Mahabharata and ask for justification. It should be understood that MBH happened close to the beginning of the Kali Yuga, and morals were bad throughout. The stories we read there have all of the good and bad people participating in this breach of Dharma throughout, and only in some cases there are explanations. We should not consider all actions done by the Pandavas as noble, or all actions of the Kauravas as evil. This was a time when there was general moral decrepitude. The stories are historic and not a lesson in morality. Very few people come out clean from the MBH. Arguably, the reason the Pandavas won was because they had God (Lord Krishna) on their side, and not due to moral superiority.

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    Mandvya asked yama about disproportionate punishment meeted out to him on account killing insect, so that he could give the curse take all the tapas sakthi from mandvya because at that mandvya even tough he is rishi muni he desired to achieve status of sage vasistha i.e. brahma rishi and enjoy kamadenu that is over and above his level, one who aspire to replace sage vasishta as brahma rishi is intention of tapas is asuric in nature that is why he is punished similar to sambhuka vada his intention of tapas to get siva status. As stated by madvacharya
    – Prasanna R
    Dec 27, 2018 at 17:28

if there is Unwholesome sanakars one can not get liberated. If one have done any Karma good or Bad, No one can hide from the result.

You may have noticed when ever you try to walk on path of spiritual or Dharma, soon you will notice that you will get the results on your deeds on the same day, Nature wants you to walk on the path of Dharm.

And when a person wants liberation, Nature will give all the result on his bad or good deeds results fast.

If you closely see Lord Rama lived a very difficult life, same Lord Krishna did, Lord Buddha everyone went through so much suffering because this was their last time.

  • You should cite sources.
    – The Destroyer
    Mar 27, 2017 at 13:16

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