Mosquitos are parasites. There, I’ve said it. They buzz around our ears (because they can detect heat, and our ears can get quite warm), they suck our blood, they unintentionally carry diseases that can make us suffer, and are generally obnoxious.
However, in the grand scheme of all things ecological, mosquitos aren’t just parasites. Most mosquitos (there’s like three thousand species of these tiny buggers) feed on plant sap and nectar. They pollinate flowers, in the process. Their babies (larvae) are food for fish and dragonflies and other more “agreeable” species.
Mosquitos females just happened to develop a taste for blood along the way- this is because of how energy intensive laying eggs is. And it was successful, considering how many mosquitos we see around. Especially after they added a mild anaesthetic into their saliva, so that their bites go undetected. The itchiness is an immune response that we, the victims of their bites, developed– to protect ourselves.
Sneaky little buggers, aren’t they. Heh heh.
The Buddha, that epitome of compassion, talked about non-violence. In my view, his idea wasn’t about not killing anything ever or not engaging in violence at all. In fact, the very act of living is in a way, violence against all the bacteria and viruses our immune system fights and kills to keep us alive, every single second.
No, in my (I’m not enlightened, so take this with a pinch of salt) view, the Buddha talked about eliminating the desire to kill or harm or engage in violence. Desire being a key word here.
The enlightened ones down the ages had various ways to deal with this. Some were very skillful- the Buddha. They avoided certain situations and unnecessary violence through intelligence and knowledge that bordered on divine prescience. Some were so entranced in their sadhana or work, that the bites of termites or rats gnawing on their flesh ceased to bother them. The sage Valmiki and Ramana Maharshi come to mind.
Om Swami himself was pestered by scorpions and rats during his intense sadhanas- we may read his memoir and the book “Kundalini- an Untold Story” to get his insights on the matter of establishing a truce, if not outright friendship with animals.
We live in a technologically advanced world. For the compassionate ones among us, good news- it’s no longer necessary to keep a fly swatter or newspaper handy. We could apply repellant cream on our body, or use smoke, or sprays, or electrically heated vapours, apply nets on windows…. or be so engrossed in our work, our sadhana, that it ceases to bother us. Of course, the right thing at the right time, and right proportions of each ingredient make the best soup.
It would be sad indeed to get bitten by mosquitos and catch dengue or malaria because we were too engrossed in a book or something. Please don’t try that. I did that, it’s really, really not worth it. I couldn’t even read for a few days afterwards. 😂
So, the next time we see a mosquito biting a baby- we may swipe it away, guilt free. Whether we should chase after it, trying to kill it- or switch on the mosquito repellant- this choice, I leave at your hands.
After all, it’s not the mosquito that’s the real villain here. It’s the plasmodium (or virus) inside it that it carries involuntarily.
Picture: A mosquito trying to be a bee or something. Either way, the flower is succeeding, because the mosquito could just be covered in pollen after this. 😂