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New and Old Gleanings
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page 8/50

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    "If I were faced with the option of killing a tiger or a snake, or otherwise being killed by it, I would rather be killed by it than take its life. But that is a personal position, not to be put forward for adoption by others. If I had the fearless power to tame these dangerous creatures by the force of my love and my will, and could show others how to do likewise, then I should have the right to advise other people to follow my example. But I have not that power. I must, therefore, advise others to kill all creatures dangerous to human life, such as tiger, bears etc., snakes, scorpions etc., as well as rats and other crop-destroying vermin. It should be done in the most humane way possible, and with regard to vermin, which is often the outcome of carelessness and dirt, we should try to live in such a way as not to give rise to its occurrence."

    "Then," I replied, "this means that you are no longer satisfied with the catching of snakes, rats etc., and the turning of them loose elsewhere, as is done in Sevagram and other places."

    "That is right," said Bapu. "If one is not prepared to live in the company of these creatures oneself, one has no right to turn them loose on other peoples' land. For that is what it comes to. One may remove them from the Ashram, and let them go in a jungly place, but that jungly place also belongs to someone, and women and children will, as likely as not, go there to gather cow-dung and wood. Or, if it is rats one is letting loose, they will be sure to find their way to the nearest fields. One has either got to live with these creatures or destroy them. And to turn one's own place into a vermin sanctuary is not fair on one's


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