KILLING A COCKROACH AND THE POWER OF PRAYER.


I begin with some killing.
I have always had a horror of cockroaches. I remember last year when I came to visit my mother in Chandigarh she had had poison poured into the drains of the bathroom before I arrived so they would all be dead, but the deadliest poison takes them days if not weeks to die. When I arrived they started crawling out of the  drain holes from the bathroom, huge ones , half the size of my palm, and invaded my room, crawling into my hand bag, into the rolled up yoga mat, and just about everywhere else. I would estimate a count of forty humungous ones. I was the proverbial female standing on her bed and screaming till my mother’s cook came with a broom to beat them to death. The hardest part to watch this was the ones that gave him chase and escaped to God knew what location to appear and frighten me all over again.
A few nights ago I went to the bathroom, intending to return to bed and a peaceful sleep, but O horror, there was a cockroach right by my pillow. There was no standing on the bed and shouting out to anyone, it was the middle of the night. I had to deal with it myself. I picked up the other pillow and threw it on him and a la Amour (if you have seen the movie) put all my pressure on it, hoping to smother it to death. I just stood with my weight on the pillow for a long time, absolutely paralyzed with fear. What next? What if he wasn’t dead? What if he was dead? How would I pick him up?
So, both my hands pressing down on the pillow, I prayed and asked for strength to deal with this (for me) crisis. I did a lot of self-talk, telling myself it is only a cockroach, that it is as afraid, if not more, of me than I it. The prayer helped. I knew I would deal with whatever arose. When I finally relaxed the pressure, and lifted the pillow, there was nothing there. There! I said, I only imagined it. But when I shook out the quilt, there it was, on the floor, and I went at it with my sandal. It gave me quite a chase, but I was as determined to get it as he was to escape.  Finally I gave him some solid whacks with the sole and then smushed it to a pulp. I knew I had to mop up the operation myself. I disposed off the squishy mess of pulped wings, legs, antennae and bloodless insect goop with a tissue and flushed it down the toilet.
I am certain the feeling is no different from when one kills a human being, for instance, in defense. Killing is killing though there are degrees of it.  Everything one kills is sentient. And I feel everything communicates with us. We are they. We share the same DNA. As Narby says, “Molecular biology revealed that the basic mechanisms of life are identical for all species. The petals of a rose, Francis Crick’s brain, and the coat of a virus are all built out of proteins made up of exactly the same 20 amino acids. DNA and its duplication mechanisms are the same for all living creatures. The only thing that changes from one species to another is the order of the letters.”
I have to admit I had a sense of triumph and satisfaction as I stood above his remains. Though I still dislike them, I have no fear of them. I have killed two more since, with the same sense of challenge and sport.
The point of this is that sometimes killing becomes necessary (I realize what a slippery slope this assertion is), and Prayer rallies all ones courage and energies.    

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