[Advaita-l] Pitru Rina and progeny

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Jun 20 11:44:32 EDT 2017

Quoted from the Book 'Yoga, Enlightenment and Perfection' p.27/28:

The context of this discussion in that book is:  Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha,
the 35 Pontiff of the Sringeri Peetham, before sannyasa, when he was 13
years, had posed some questions to a scholar in Sringeri.  One question is:

(iii) I have heard that when one is born, immediately a set of debts
accrue to one. Some of these are repaid by serving one’s parents,
some by worshipping the devas and yet others *by begetting progeny.* Is
this indeed the state of affairs?

In reply to that came the following clarification, although not directly
sought from the Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara  Bharati Swaminah:

loko nāputrasyāstīti śrutyāsya kaḥ prabhāṣito lokaḥ ।
muktiḥ saṁsaraṇaṁ vā tadanyaloko'tha vā nādyaḥ ॥14 (II.35)

(The Veda says that “loka” is not there for one bereft of a son. What is
that loka? Is it liberation or transmigration or another world? It
cannot be the first one.)

Paramacharyal then asked Vaidyanatha Sastry to recite the next two
ślokas of the Prabodha-sudhākara and give the meaning. The verses

sarve'pi putrabhājastanmuktau naiva saṁsmṛtir-bhavati ।
śravaṇādayo'pyupāyā mṛṣā bhaveyustṛtīye'pi ॥15 (II.36)
tatprāptyupāya-sattvād-dvitīyapakṣe'py-aputrasya ।
putreṣṭyādika-yāgapravṛttaye vedavādo'yam ॥16 (II.37)

Sastry gave the overall meaning on the following lines:

It cannot be said that begetting a son confers liberation. This is because
not all people who have sons have attained the exalted state.
Further, if mere procreation were to yield emancipation, then the cycle
of transmigratory existence itself would cease since numerous people
do have children. A son cannot necessarily be the cause of
happiness in this world and the next. The reason is that to attain a
higher world, the Veda prescribes the performance of special rites,
such as the jyotisṭoma. It does not explicitly declare begetting of
progeny as constituting the means. The Veda clearly proclaims that
wealth, progeny and the like cannot serve to confer liberation. Only the
realisation of the Ātman, by hearing the Truth, cogitating upon It and
focusing one's mind on It, yields immortality.

*Utterances of the Śruti to the effect that a son is essential should*
*be understood as merely eulogising the performance of sacrifices, such*
*as the putreṣti.* The putreṣti-yāga serves to obtain a son. To induce
people who have a desire for children to perform it, its importance
is stressed. The Veda, which is like a mother, certainly does not intend
to compel one without desires to perform such sacrifices.


Paramacharyal explained that shrāddha is an obligatory duty that purifies
the performer. He emphasised that the pitrus do no sustain themselves
exclusively on the pinda that is offered during the shraaddha ceremony. He
went on to add that the stories found in texts like the Mahabharata about
the necessity of offspring are not meant for advanced spiritual aspirants
who have strong dispassion.



On Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 6:51 PM, Aditya Kumar via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Thank you Vidyashankarji for a clear answer.
> I understand that Desha, Kala and circumstance play a key role in what
> Dharma one has to follow. Considering this, I have a few more doubts :
> 1) In the current scenario, there are a lot of mixed races. It is said
> that if varnas are mixed, the ancestors fall from heaven. What does this
> really mean? Because pitru loka cannot be eternal. Pitrus would probably
> move on to next loka? Also how can pitrus fall because of the fault of
> others (i.e, sons, grandsons...)2) In Kali Yuga does inter-caste/religion
> marriages matter? 3) If a woman decides to stay unmarried due to various
> reasons, does it have any bearing?
> On a related matter, the same scenario may arise during shrAddha karmas.
> If no one performs the shrAddha kriya of their ancestors, will they starve
> for the rest of their time period? Again, how can pitrus be dependant on
> their progeny even after leaving this world? Does it mean that, the bonds
> between parents-children-family are eternal?
> Pranam
>     On Tuesday, 20 June 2017 6:05 PM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
> svidyasankar at gmail.com> wrote:
>  This issue is not at all irrelevant to this group, because it pertains to
> naishThika brahmacarya and brahmacaryASramAd eva saMnyAsa.
> 1. If a couple have a biological inability to conceive, the SAstra
> provides for various options, from adoption to niyoga, depending on deSa
> and kAla.
> 2. If only daughters are born, that is not a problem either. The maternal
> lineage is also given pitRtarpaNa, so if the daughters go on to have sons,
> the pitR RNa is still met that way. In addition, there is a special
> provision given in the dharmaSAstra texts, whereby the father of a bride
> gets an assurance from the prospective groom that the grandson would now
> belong to the maternal grandfather's gotra and would function as a son
> instead of a grandson, for all ritual karma. Such a grandson, formally
> agreed upon at the time of vivAha itself, is called a putrika. This
> practice is still being followed when necessary.
> 3. If someone has reason(s) to avoid getting married, there are allowances
> for that possibility too. The AcAra dictates that a qualified guru should
> give his blessing to this alternative. This is because the validity of the
> reasons cited by that person has to be examined and verified by a competent
> authority.
> 4. Not being able to fend for oneself, in times of war etc etc would all
> be covered under the category of Apaddharma. Again, the advice of a well
> qualified guru should be taken, because each situation will be different
> and there can be no one general solution to a host of specific problems.
> Best regards,Vidyasankar
> On Jun 20, 2017 5:45 PM, "Aditya Kumar via Advaita-l" <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> Namaste All,
> Please delete this post if you feel it is irrelevant to this group.
> I understand that to be free from Pitru rina, one should procreate and
> bring forth progeny. For those that do not follow this rule, the doors of
> the upper worlds are closed, as per Shastras. The only exception to this
> rule is to those who take up sanyasa right after brahmacharya. Because
> sanyasins are considered as dead. But there seems to be a lot of
> exceptions. I request advice from learned members :
> 1) What if parents cannot conceive? Is surrogacy allowed in Vedas?2) What
> if parents have only female child?3) What if a man decides to spend his
> lifetime observing strict rules of brahmacharya (Like Bhishma)? Although, I
> don't think people generally would have a compelling reason like Bhishma to
> choose the Brahmacharya mode of life. 4) What if a person finds a lot of
> fault in Grihasta mode OR if a man cannot fend for himself save his
> dependants OR testing times like war torn nation or great misfortune?
> Thanks
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