What if We have to Kill Rats, Cockroaches etc. in Our Homes?



I’m a religious, spiritual person and want to know: if we encounter lizards, cockroaches, rats etc. at times in our homes, or in any adjacent place, and if we have to kill them for safety, will it generate negative karma? How to overcome the negative feelings? What should be done, as at times they are unavoidable? How to overcome this situation? What to do as a purification afterwards? Thanks for all your answers, ananda.org. Regards.

—hs, India


Dear one,

Yes, it is indeed sometimes necessary to kill insects, rats, mice, cockroaches. If you can catch rats and mice and free them far away from home, that would be better, but at times this is not possible. Paramhansa Yogananda explained: “It is always better to kill harmful creatures than to endanger human life.”

A disciple answered: “But Sir, can one say that insects are a danger to human life? Mostly they seem just a nuisance.”

Paramhansa Yogananda: “Still, in those countries where they are allowed to thrive there is a high mortality rate owing to the diseases they spread. In countries where their proliferation is kept under control, there is much less filth and disease; consequently, people on an average live much longer. It is better, therefore, to keep the world free of such pests.” Mice and rats can spread disease and filth too.

So if we have to kill them for safety, hygiene, and to avoid that they spread, we do incur a slight negative karma. Sri Yukteswar explains in the Autobiography of a Yogi: “A man incurs the debt of a minor sin if he is forced to kill an animal or any other living thing.” Still if it it is necessary, it’s a better karma than allowing them to spread, if they bring harm.

Whenever it is necessary to eliminate them, it is important to do so without any negative feelings. They are fellow creatures. Send them a prayer and then send them to a higher words, with your blessings.

As a purification, again send them a prayer, a mantra, a healing energy, thoughts of goodwill.

Death in truth is much less dramatic than we think, because death doesn’t exist. You just send them from one room to the next. What is much more harmful are feelings of hate, disgust, negativity, aggression.

God bless you,