Should you be guilty of killing insects while running, cycling , playing etc. When you ride a bicycle, run or play, I usually don't care about what's on the road, ground etc. It may kill the insects. Is this sin? Should we stop entertainment activities like playing, cycling because of this? Why it feels so bad and guild about killing insects? Is this rational?

I have heard Jain monks cleaning the path on every step they walk to avoid killing of steps. Is this rational way to live? Should we be very cautious while we run, walk. Its like being vigilant all the time. Is this correct way?

Somewhere I read this question from someone: Some suggested that playing sports on a ground wherein I would inevitably kill is negligence. But what is the difference between that and a monk who takes a walk outside? Surely playing sports is a greater risk of killing. But if that monk is to truly avoid killing shouldn't he be exercising in his room instead?

There is a similar question on Buddha Stack Exchange: https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/39159/unintentionally-killing-insects-when-playing-sports-and-running

What do Hinduism have to say to this? What do humanity have to say to this? There are a lots of thoughts going in my mind and lots of questions.


1 Answer 1



As mentioned in this answer, it is a sin to kill small creatures. It is a rational way to walk carefully in-order to avoid violence. Else, we are guilt for doing sin. We have to vigilant enough during our activities for the well-being of such creatures.

Purport of Prabhupada for a Srimad Bhagavatam verse contains an excellent reference to this discussion. Jada Bharata, a jivan muktha, used to walk cautiously to save the lives of ants.

The palanquin, however, was very erratically carried by Jaḍa Bharata due to his sense of nonviolence. As he stepped forward, he checked before him every three feet to see whether he was about to step on ants. Consequently he could not keep pace with the other carriers. Due to this, the palanquin was shaking, and King Rahūgaṇa immediately asked the carriers, “Why are you carrying this palanquin unevenly? Better carry it properly.”

[Verse 2, Chapter 10, Canto 5, Srimad Bhagavatam]


Although Jaḍa Bharata was forced to carry the palanquin, he did not give up his sympathetic feelings toward the poor ants passing on the road. A devotee of the Lord does not forget his devotional service and other favorable activities, even when he is in a most distressful condition. Jaḍa Bharata was a qualified brāhmaṇa, highly elevated in spiritual knowledge, yet he was forced to carry the palanquin. He did not mind this, but while walking on the road, he could not forget his duty to avoid killing even an ant. A Vaiṣṇava is never envious or unnecessarily violent. There were many ants on the path, but Jaḍa Bharata took care by looking ahead three feet. When the ants were no longer in his way, he would place his foot on the ground. A Vaiṣṇava is always very kind at heart to all living entities. In His sāṅkhya-yoga, Lord Kapiladeva explains: suhṛdaḥ sarva-dehinām. Living entities assume different bodily forms. Those who are not Vaiṣṇavas consider only human society worthy of their sympathy, but Kṛṣṇa claims to be the supreme father of all life forms. Consequently the Vaiṣṇava takes care not to annihilate untimely or unnecessarily any life form. All living entities have to fulfill a certain duration for being encaged in a particular type of material body. They have to finish the duration allotted a particular body before being promoted or evolved to another body. Killing an animal or any other living being simply places an impediment in the way of his completing his term of imprisonment in a certain body. One should therefore not kill bodies for one’s sense gratification, for this will implicate one in sinful activity.

The purport clearly explains the necessity of vigilance while doing our activities.

  • 1
    Does that mean a runner, a player, a rider etc should all stop doing that and vigilantly see the ground all the time? Jul 22, 2021 at 10:55
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    @NishantLakhara It is recommended to select a play ground free of such creatures.
    – hanugm
    Jul 22, 2021 at 11:09
  • 1
    @NishantLakhara - Bhagavan deals with such questions using karma. Orders like 'Do not Kill', are always followed with 'What happens if you kill'. It is then up to you to decide if you like the consequences or not.
    – ram
    Jul 23, 2021 at 17:56
  • Isnt it unnatural to see ground all the time? Which creature does that? And even though we are more conscious, does that mean we should not live life fully like any other creature. Does that make us more responsible towards other creatures? What is our fault that we are human? Why sin is associated with it? Should we suppress our natural instincts? Should we stop enjoying rainy weather because in the activity of playing, many insects might get killed? Which creature does that? Ofcourse we can take precautions and do not hurt deliberately but isnt such kind of over vigilance too much for us? Jul 21, 2022 at 20:03
  • @NishantLakhara It is true that all cannot follow. The person in this answer is Jivan Muktha. Only those who are cautious enough tries to do.
    – hanugm
    Jul 22, 2022 at 3:17

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