Ahimsa and Accidental Killing


I accidentally killed a dove while driving my car to work this morning. It was not intentional but I feel guilty. How do I overcome it and propitiate for the sin of killing it?

—nikhil ducle, India


Dear Nikhil,

I understand your sorrow and remorse — but then so does God, even more so! That dove was as much a manifestation of God as you, me, and all things. As Krishna said to Arjuna in the Mahabharata: no one is killed, for the soul is eternal.

This isn’t a justification for killing. But in a case such as yours when there is no intention to harm, we take refuge in the absolute truth of “God alone.”

We “kill” vegetables when we harvest them for our dinner. Life on this plane of duality is always a mixed bag. Our car kills bugs as it drives down a freeway in the summertime. There are even “bugs” in the water we might drink.

Offer your prayers and kind thoughts to this little dove (of course you already have done this, I know). May this dove reincarnate into a higher life form as it continues its journey to Self-realization. It met its end at the hands of one who wished it no harm. Isn’t that in itself a kind of good karma?

Be of good cheer. Life can never die. It is eternal and One!

Joy to you!

Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA