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Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 15 Dec 2019

     

Is euthanasia or mercy killing wrong or a sin?

Smt. Priyanka Seethepalli asked: Is euthanasia or mercy killing wrong or a sin, particularly in the following cases:

Case 1: Sometimes, a cancer patient at the hospital is told by a doctor that, with a lot of effort, they can prolong their life by 6 more months or a year, at the most. But the patient opts for no more suffering from chemotherapy or any other types of medical interventions and choses to lead the remaining life in doing what he or she likes. The patient chooses not to fight for living a little bit longer and instead, makes peace with his or her upcoming death. Is this wrong? Should patients always choose to fight as hard as they can, to survive? Are such patients supposed to accept this suffering as a consequence of their previous birth sins and go through it, so that nothing is carried forward to their next birth?

Case 2: If a patient is in a coma and their family is asked to sign the papers to end the patient’s life, by removing the life-support system, is it wrong if they do so? Nobody knows whether the patient would have ever come out of the coma or not. Some people cannot afford the medical bills of keeping the coma patient alive. Can humans decide in such a case whether or not to end another person’s life?

Case 3: Some people who own pets, chose to end their pet’s life because they cannot bear to see their pet’s suffering. But is it acceptable to God if a human being goes to a vet and ends the pet’s life? Or should a pet owner let the pet suffer?

Swami replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! Under such circumstances, which of the various possibilities gets chosen depends on each individual case. The option that finally gets chosen is based on the specific nature of the sin done by the soul, either in the past birth or sometime back, in the present birth. As per the Gita, the individual soul is born everyday and hence, every day can be considered to be a new birth, in case you do not believe in rebirth. If the judgement of God is that a soul should experience mercy killing, it will take place. If the judgment of God, based on the soul’s sin, is that the soul should continue to suffer without mercy killing, it happens so. We cannot make a generalization that is applicable to all the souls because souls commit different sins, in different lives and that too, with different intentions. The nature of the punishment for a specific sin is an exact reflection, of how the sin was committed and it has the same kind of twists as the sin. The punishment given to one soul differs from the punishment given to another by a very narrow margin since a similar marginal difference exists in the way the souls committed the respective sins.

It is said that Mahatma Gandhi once advised the mercy killing of a cow since it was having a complicated delivery and was suffering immensely. People say that, as a fruit of that intense sin, he was also shot dead. Intense deeds yield fruits in this birth itself. The analysis of the soul’s deeds and the soul’s qualities in the form of intentions, is very very deep and very very complicated. There are several subtle interfering parameters involved. The correct judgement can only come from the omniscient God. Whatever finally occurs in each case, should be taken as the final conclusion of God. The cycle of deeds and punishments is deeply complicated as told in the Gita (Gahanā karmaṇo gati).

The right decision in each case, is not as simple as you had expected. It is highly specific to each individual case and requires an analysis of the three dimensional network of several subtle parameters, some of which are seen and some of which are unseen. Whatever finally happens, is always as per the sharp analysis and decision of God. We can make some approximate inferences about what actions the soul might have done in the past, when we analyze the final judgement of God. So, we can infer the action based on the final result, but we cannot decide, what the right result should be for a certain action, due to our extremely limited intelligence.

| Shri Dattaswami | Gahanaa karmano gatih

 
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