What are the debt we owe to demigods, sages, forefathers, living entities, etc. ?

Hare Krishna.

7th August, 2014. Gurugaon.


Q: What are different debts a person owes to demigods, sages, forefathers, living entities, etc. ?

Ans: Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport of verse Cc madhya 22.140 ‘After birth, every man is indebted in so many ways.

He is indebted to the demigods for their supplying necessities like air, light and water.

When one takes advantage of the Vedic literatures, one becomes indebted to great sages like Vyāsadeva, Nārada, Devala and Asita.

When one takes birth in a particular family, he becomes indebted to his forefathers.

We are even indebted to common living entities like cows, from whom we take milk. Because we accept service from so many animals, we become indebted. ‘

Q: How does a common person supposed to pay these debts ?

Ans : Srila Prabhupada writes in the next verse CC madhya 22.141

“By offering oblations with ghee, one satisfies the demigods.

By studying the Vedas, one performs brahma-yajña, which satisfies the great sages.

Offering libations of water before one’s forefathers is called pitṛ-yajña.

By offering tribute, one performs bhūta-yajña.

By properly receiving guests, one performs nṛ-yajña.”

These are the five yajñas that liquidate the five kinds of indebtedness — indebtedness to the demigods, great sages, forefathers, living entities and common men. Therefore one has to perform these five kinds of yajñas.

Q: Does a devotee has to perform all these yagnas ?

Ans : A devotee is absolved of all such debts.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu tells to Sri Sanatana Goswami in Cc madhya 22.140

“If a person gives up all material desires and completely engages in the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa, as enjoined in the revealed scriptures, he is never indebted to the demigods, sages or forefathers.

And in the next verse Krishna Das Kaviraja quotes below verse from Srimad Bhagavatam

Cc MADHYA 22.141

devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇāṁ
na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam
[SB 11.5.41]

“‘One who has given up all material duties and taken full shelter at the lotus feet of Mukunda, who gives shelter to all, is not indebted to the demigods, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives, friends, mankind or even his forefathers who have passed away.’

Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport that ‘It is said:

adhyāpanaṁ brahma-yajñaḥ pitṛ-yajñas tu tarpaṇam
homo daivo balir bhauto nṛ-yajño ‘tithi-pūjanam

But when one takes to the saṅkīrtana-yajña (the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra), one does not have to perform any other yajña. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Nārada Muni made a statement about the systematic performance of bhāgavata-dharma in connection with statements previously made by the nine Yogendras before Mahārāja Nimi. The sage Karabhājana Ṛṣi explained the four incarnations of the four yugas, and at the end, in this verse, he explained the position of Kṛṣṇa’s pure devotee and how he is absolved of all debts.

Srila Prabhupada spoke the following at a lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.49 — Mayapura, October 29, 1974 on the same topic.

…Therefore the conclusion is that you can be freed from the debts of devarsi-bhutapta-nrnam pitrnam nayam rni na kinkarah [SB 11.5.41]. Who? Sarvatmana ye saranam saranyam gato mukundam parihrtya kartam. One who has taken full shelter of Krsna, sarvatmana, without any reservation, he’s no more rni. He’s no more. He’s fully liquidated. How? Krsna says,

sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah
(Bg. 18.66)

“If you think that without liquidating the debts of so many persons, devata, rsi, bhuta, apta, general people, if you think by simply surrendering to Me you will be liable to punishment for not paying bills to so many persons,” Krsna assures, ma sucah: “don’t bother, I’ll give you protection.”

So from the material point of view, everyone must be prepared to pay, to take protection. But does it mean that if one becomes devotee he becomes irresponsible? No. These things automatically come.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to Srila Guru and Sri Gauranga.