How do we clear our debts?


There are three types of debts as of Pitris, Devas and Rishis. One can be freed from debt of Pitris by providing a son, from debt of Devas by doing sacrifices and from debt of Rishis by pupil-ship.

It is stated in Satapatha Brahma 1.7.2.

  1. Verily, whoever exists, he, in being born, is born as (owing) a debt to the gods, to the Rishis, to the fathers, and to men.

  2. For, inasmuch as he is bound to sacrifice, for that reason he is born as (owing) a debt to the gods: hence when he sacrifices to them, when he makes offerings to them, he does this (in discharge of his debt) to them.

  3. And further, inasmuch as he is bound to study (the Veda), for that reason he is born as (owing) a debt to the Rishis: hence it is to them that he does this; for one who has studied (the Veda) they call 'the Rishis' treasure-warden.'

Same thing has been said in Yajur Veda, Kanda 6, Prapathaka 1.

A Brahman on birth is born with a threefold debt, of pupil-ship to the Rishis, of sacrifice to the gods, of offspring to the Pitrs. He is freed from his debt who has a son, is a sacrificer, and who has lived as a pupil: this (debt) he performs (ávadayate) by these cuttings off', and that is why the cuttings-off (avadána) have their name.

And for those who have no son but only daughter(s), there is a concept of appointed daughter in which son of a daughter is also considered a son. Apart from the Manusmriti 9.127, there are other scriptures too which say the same.

  1. Both a son's son and the son of an appointed daughter cause a man to attain heaven. Both are pronounced to be equal as regards their right of inheritance and the duty of offering funeral balls of meal (Pindas). Brihaspati, 25.37

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