Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mosquito mamas Cleanup teams

Caveat lector: Words here are an not a representation of reality but an approximation of my model of it and reflect more of where I come from and my observations. Labels: idealist. extremist. (non-conformist?) consider -knowing- important. mostly know stuff only from books, but like practicable philosophy.  revere the yogasutras of patanjali - but am pretty green - inexperienced about stuff in general. Have been intolerant about anything but the best, and only recently have started being tempered by life. Hesitate to write, lest it be a reproduction of what I have learnt from books, a mouthing of platitudes or an expression of something that I do not understand yet, and I believe words to be very powerful vehicles that can take one a long way - but have sometimes used them carelessly in the past.

Engineering school. 1996. Late nights over a drafting board finishing Engineering Drawing assignments. Odomos all over my hands and neck. A mosquito repellent coil lit up right beside me to prevent the little buggers from biting me.

Forward to 1999. Alandi. A village near Pune associated with Saint Dnyaneshwar. The Alandi centre of the Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing. I had this idea that I should verify if our spiritual texts represent practical values and they "really work". I had a photocopy of a book "The Science of Yoga" by I.K. Taimni on the Yogasutras of Patanjali.

In Alandi and the years that followed I discovered a few things about my relationship with mosquitoes.

(Remember that I was trying to find out if yogic philosophy was pragmatic. )
I decided to stop swatting mosquitoes and using any means to repel or kill them.
I was experimenting with living in saatvik mode. (key words: Tamas, Rajas, Sattva)

Observation 1: As long as I was trying to be in saatvik mode, the mosquitos stopped biting me. If I switched to tamasic, say I had food that was tamasic,  they would start biting me again. ( saatvik food: a wholesome vegetarian diet plus refraining from eating stimulating/medicinal foods like onions and garlic for the sake of taste, abstaining from watching most popular entertainment or anything whose purpose was to stimulate.) This was helped by the fact that while in Alandi I was in a space that was cut off from media - television, newspaper, cinema and that we used to have food in a place named Mamata Jain Bhojanaalaya (keyword: Jain.)

Fine. This agrees with the article on why mosquitos bite  - mosquitos are supposed to be attracted by sweat and body odor (added note: sweat and body odor if you keenly observe - change based on the food we eat - emotional food, mental food, physical "food" food ...), attracted by dark colors like black (added note: tamasic) and other waste products like lactic acid and carbon dioxide ...

Observation 2:

Some years later when at IBM - before I was hit by chronic fatigue, mosquitoes were actually helping me. If I abused my body in any way - say by staying up late at night in front of a laptop, mosquitoes would come and sit on my eyelids, not biting me, but waiting till I got up and went to bed. If I got out of bed and tried to get back in front of the computer, they would be back buzzing around my eyes.

Now this appeared outlandish when I talked about it, to many people in my family (I did not dare to talk about such things with friends for risking being called a madman or a heretic).

But my experiences were backed up by

a. work done by Dr. Uday Bhawalkar, a friend of my father, and a researcher with a doctorate from IIT Bombay. He had carried out research about the role of pests in society - and how they were actually the clean up teams provided by nature, and could be usually found in abundance where waste or garbage was present. He was doing work on methods to help them clean up the waste faster instead of using poisons to kill them.

b. various commentaries on the yogasutras -

If you follow extreme non-violence and live a highly saatvik existence, all beings shall drop their intentions of violence towards you in your presence.

In the yogasutras, actually in the various -commentaries- on the yogasutras, there are claims that appear fantastic - . For instance in the above book by Taimni -

... Another important point to understand with regard to Yogic morality is that the virtues which are prescribed have a much wider scope and deeper significance than what appears on the surface. Each virtue included in yama, for example , is a typical representative of a class of virtues which have to be practised to a high degree of perfection. The injunction against killing, stealing, lying, etc., under Yama does not seem to represent a very high standard of morality even from ordinary standards. Any decent and good individual is expected to abstain from such anti-social conduct. Where is then the high standard of morality which is demanded by higher Yoga? .. Each virtue is more comprehensive in its meaning than what it is generally considered to be. Thus Ahimsa - non-violence, does not merely abstaining from murder but not wilfully inflicting any injury, suffering or pain on any living creature, by word, thought or action. Ahimsa thus stands for highest degree of harmlessness which is found only among saints and sages and any ordinary person trying to practise it seriously in his life will soon begin to feel that perfect harmlessness is an unrealizable ideal. To what degree of perfection these virtues can be developed is shown in the eleven sutras, II (35-45) .... An individual who has developed ahimsa carries about him an invisible aura surcharged with love and compassion even though these may not be expressed at an emotional level.  Also, because love is the power which binds together in a spiritual union all the separated fragments of the One life, any individual who is imbued with such love is inwardly attuned to all living creatures and autmatically inspires confidence and love in them.That is how the violent and hateful vibrations of those who come near the Yogi are for the time being over-powered by the much stronger vibrations of love and kindness emanating from him and even beasts of prey become harmless and docile for the time being. Of course, when a creature goes out of the immediate influence of such a yogi, its normal nature is bound to assert itself but even this brief contact is likely to leave a permanent mark on it and uplift it a little ...

Relevant parts from some earlier posts on this blog -

Dual meme transcendence ... consider this - every time you breathe, you 'kill' millions of micro-beings as you suck them into your lungs. Every time you eat, some form, some being, some structure has 'sacrificed' itself, for another structure to be created. You are massively violent at a micro scale. Scale, not quality.) How 'kind or cruel' can you be? ...

Prime mover memes - principles ... Meme d: Ahimsa - non violence
What alignment confers: There is no obstruction. Action will progress without hindrance from any force/any one.
Extreme alignment: The being starts creating an atmosphere around self, (self(x,space,time) for larger and larger values of x,space,time) where violence and enmity must cease to exist. All beings, even animals are sensitive to such an atmosphere - as many trainers would testify - the animals 'know' they won't be hurt. ...

c. And this takes the cake -

From the howstuffworks article - " ... As mentioned before, only female mosquitoes bite."

The males can survive on sugar without biting people - physiologically speaking, so can the females.

Is it true that only the female mosquitoes bite people, what do the males eat?
Few people realize that mosquitoes rely on sugar as their main source of energy. Both male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, fruit juices and liquids that ooze from plants. The sugar is burned as fuel for flight and is replenished on a daily basis.

The mosquito is careful that the bite itself does not hurt, you are only barely aware of it, takes away as many toxins out as she can, and leaves you with a slight irritation that is a pointer to a clean-up site. (I wouldn't be surprised if someone does research on how mosquito bites correspond to acupuncture points.)

From the howstuffworks article ...

If she is disturbed, she will fly away. Otherwise, she will remain until she has a full abdomen. If you were to cut the sensory nerve to her abdomen, she would keep sucking until she burst ...
She is not doing it for filling her stomach!
Not just for fulfilling the vital clean-up role of a pest ... it can only be an act of love.

Feel free to call me a madman. :)


amir said...

Sounds interesting.Will experiment with some of it before I comment

The Shaolin said...

Wonderful post.
Saatvik food, rather Saatvik way of life...
Many people, even people with seasoned(???) scientific(what science???) outlook fail to understand the very simple logic of: you are what you eat (and think).
While I cannot say I have done the mosquito-experiment, being a Jain I can vouch that sticking to Saatvik food has a direct and measurable beneficial impact on the whole of one's well being; and the participation from surrounding environment itself is just natural, like mosquitoes in your case.