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Celibacy/Abstinence/Pitr Rina /Ancestral debt.


Namaskar Dear Dhananjay,

As per sanatan dharma philosophy every individual is said to be under 4 debts from birth .

The Taittiriya Samhita ( of Krishna Yajur Veda says:

जायमानो वै ब्राह्मणस्त्रिभिर् ऋणवा जायते
ब्रह्मचर्येण ऋषिभ्यो यज्ञेन देवभ्यः
प्रजया पितृभ्य एष वा अनृणो यः
पुत्री यज्वा ब्रह्मचारिवासी तत् अवदानैर् एव
अवदयते तत् अवदानानाम् अवदानत्वं

3 debts:

"A Brahmana on birth is born with a threefold debt, of knowledge or mantra (brahmacharya) to the Rishis, debit of sacrifice (yajna) to the Gods, of offspring to the Pitrus. He is freed from his debt who lived as a pupil, who performs yajna (to the Gods) and has a son (putrI); this (debt) he returns (avadayate) by these givings, and that is why the givings (avadAna) have their name."

4th: The Shatapatha Brahmana also enumerates these debts and adds a fourth debt--a debt unto mankind (manushya Runa)

I can understand this concept was relevant during olden days as people believed gods shower the rains & there was the gurukul system.Also helping fellow humans from whom we have taken help in need also seems logical,but what I don't get is this pitr rin.Am I really indebted to my ancestors to produce a child(that too a male one atleast).Are lifelong celibates under these debts or does the effort at brahmacharya(person may not have become realized yet in his lifetime) overcome these debts.

We still hear stories of naisthik brahmachari Bhishma being there in put loka for not paying his pitr rin,whereas on same page we hear Hanuman as a chiranjeevi & many other siddhas & avatar's who did not beget any children.

Pls provide your understanding of this.

1. To whom do these debts concern? Who are the Gods, ancestors & others? Who are you and what is your relation with these?

You are the unborn and eternal one, who is under the delusion that the world and its characters are real, while the fact remains that the world is the Leela of the Lord, with people playing the roles of imaginary characters, as in a dream. It is a Leela, being enacted, to help the Jiva overcome its ignorance and realize itself as no different from the Supreme.

2. As long as one assumes doership with his Ego and considers himself not as the Atman but as a son, father, grandson, pupil or some other character, he has to face the karma which accrues from such an assumption. Such karma can then result in relationships of various kinds and therefore 'Rina' (debt) with these characters.

The minute one overcomes such an identification and tells himself - "All these relationships are as unreal as the world which is like a mirage of water in the desert. Due to my past karma which resulted in related debt, this body & mind find itself in a so called relationship with other Jiva-s. Who am I and who are they? When my I-ness in terms of the Ego is the effect of Maya and unreal, it follows that the I-ness of the other Jiva-s is also unreal. Therefore, I will remain fixed to the self, watching 'Rina' (debt) which is the effect of Prarabdha karma work out, for none can stop Prarabdha."

When such an attitude of self surrender to the Lord is taken up with the sole aim of self-realization, all debt that one has previously accrued with other jiva-s will work out by itself under HIS grace. One need not worry about this debt or the other. Such a worry exists in case of the man who takes up doership and takes the world, his Ego and people as real, who is rife with desire and not in case of the honest aspirant who has developed 'Vairagya' (dispassion) backed by 'Gnyana' (knowledge of the truth).

If one makes self-realization as his life objective with honest Brahmacharya and Yoga as the means to attain the above, all past debts with the concerned Jiva-s will be settled in due course as though in automaton. One need not spend energy and thought on the matter. Life situations will appear in such a way that the settlement of debt occurs precisely at the right time and in the right magnitude. That which has to come or go will come and go, as dictated by Prarabdha. The Yogi remains detached from pain or pleasure, as the case may be, realizing it is all a part of the settlement. He remains fixed to the self.

The greatest service one can render to mankind is to give another 'Atmagnyana' (knowledge of reality), to overcome the delusion called Samsara. This is possible only when one first realizes himself. One who pleases the ancestors or Gods may incur their good will (which is again in the realm of Maya and therefore unreal) but does not succeed in overcoming his own ignorance or that of the ancestors and Gods. It is only by the attainment of 'Brahmagnyana' (knowledge of the Supreme) that one free's himself from the grip of delusion for ever. He then becomes capable of rendering real help to others. Such help is the only real help. It is the real repayment of debt, for one has repaid the debt of creation itself through realization. No further debt exists as regards such a being who has served the purpose of the human birth.

Therefore, one need not have even an iota of worry as regards debt, as long as he is true to realizing the self. The debt will be settled through pain or pleasure or effort, as the case may be, under the law of karma. Whether one wants it or doesn't, that which has to go will go and that which has to come will come. Nothing more or nothing less comes or goes. The laws of karma are that precise and accurate. The real Yogi does not let pain or pleasure affect his inner state of tranquility, viewing both these as a part of the dream. He remains steady as a rock, anchored to the Supreme, whereupon all debts clear by themselves, through the mediums called the body & mind.

ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)  


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Questions concerning the practice of 'Brahmacharya' to know the self, & the means required are dealt with here.


The term 'Yoga' is a derivative of the Samskruth verb 'Yuj' which refers to union. 'Yoga', also called 'Brahma vidy‚' is the eternal dissolution of the individual 'Aham' (Ego) into the Atman (self) for 'Mukti' (liberation). Mere indulgence in '¬sana' or physical postures is not Yoga. ¬sana is only one limb or 'Anga' of Yoga. The eight limbs viz. Yama, Niyama, ¬sana, Pr‚n‚y‚ma, Praty‚h‚ra, Dh‚rana, Dhy‚na and Sam‚dhi are the means to Yoga. Brahmacharya or spiritually based continence is one of the important components of 'Yama'. 'Brahmacharya':- "Brahmani charyathey ithi" - "To surrender one's Ego and go with the will of the Almighty."

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