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Thread: Four Types of Rin (Obligations/Debts)

  1. #1
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    Four Types of Rin (Obligations/Debts)

    In our Hindu culture, there are four types of Rin (obligations/debts) that a person acquires and must repay in his lifetime.

    Pitra-Rin* (Parental Debt) – Parents are responsible for our birth and upbringing. They take care of us and raise us with love and devotion. A mother often addresses her son as ‘raja beta’ – my prince. She effectively gives the royal status to the child and is content with being a slave to him. The father guides and supports him through his formative years. To repay this debt, the children are required to take care of their parents in their old age, when they are infirm and need help.

    Brahama-Rin (God’s Debt) – We are indebted to God who gave us life. When a baby is born, it has no biases, no hatred or negative feelings towards anyone and has no bad habits. As we grow up, our ‘negative’ quotient tends to rise. To repay this Rin, all that the almighty asks of us is to come back to Him with the mindset that He sent us with – impeccably clean, serene and free of any negative values/thoughts/associations. It behooves us to not acquire any more, and to reduce the already present negativity in our lives, so as to reach the stage where we can repay God’s Rin by returning to Him, with the soul in pristine condition.

    Dev-Rin (Debt towards the Deities) – Different deities give us food, water, fire, air and provide many other necessities of life, for us to be able to live a normal material life. To absolve ourselves of this Rin, we are to donate items of sustenance to the less fortunate ones amongst us.

    Guru/Rishi-Rin (Obligations towards Teachers/Sages) – This is our obligation to the Sages who gave us the scriptural knowledge, to the Acharyas who translated it for us, and to the Gurus/Teachers who taught/trained us in different fields of knowledge/spirituality. The debt is repaid by disseminating the acquired knowledge/traditions, both in the realm of matter and spirit, to as many people as possible.

    *Alternately, Pitra-Rin is considered to be a Rin towards ALL of one's ancestors, and is repaid by conducting various rituals like annual Sharaadhs etc.

    Any additional information from authoritative scriptural sources (with references) will be appreciated.

    Last edited by Believer; 12 September 2011 at 10:08 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Four Types of Rin (Obligations/Debts)

    hariḥ oṁ


    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Any additional information from authoritative scriptural sources (with references) will be appreciated. -
    Perhaps the following will add a slight amount of value to what Believer has offered.

    ṛṇa ( or riNa) - is anything due , obligation , duty , debt

    We are informed in the taittirīya saṁhitā (, of the kṛṣṇa yajur veda of ṛṇa-traya or 3 debts that a brāhmaṇa owes:
    • brahmacarya or 'study of the vedas' to the ṛṣi-s
    • yajña (sacrifice and worship) to the devatā-s
    • offspring ( a son) to the pitṛ-s ( pitri-s or ancestors)
    Then a 4th was added in the śatapatha brāhmaṇa ( ; it calls out the 3 debts then adds a fourth: a debt unto mankind called manuṣa ṛṇa. This is benevolence to mankind.

    Now there is also a 5th ṛṇa called out as hospitality to guests. The only place I have found this was in the mahābhārata.

    Yet to slightly extend the conversation from debt to duty there's 9 duties ( as compared to debts) called out for all varṅa in the mahābhārata ( śanti parvan - section 60):
    • suppression of wrath
    • truthfulness in speech
    • justice
    • forgiveness
    • children from one's own wife
    • purity of conduct
    • avoidance of quarrel
    • simplicity
    • maintenance of dependents
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva


  3. #3
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    Re: Four Types of Rin (Obligations/Debts)


  4. #4
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    Re: Four Types of Rin (Obligations/Debts)

    Pitra Paksh starts today and lasts for two weeks. This is the time when many Hindus have the tradition of honoring the memory of their departed parents (as part of paying the Pitra Rin) and other elders. Some make donations in their names, others invite the family priest for a meal, or provide food to the poor street people. There might be other traditions in different parts of India, that I am not aware of. Perhaps other members will come forward with that information.

    A link, courtesy of C. Smith:
    Side note: This ritual has the connotation of sending food to the parents in the hereafter. Legend has it, that when Shah Jahan (the king who had the Taj Mahal built) was imprisoned by his son during the forced succession, he was forced to starve and denied even water for a duration. That is when Shah Jahan said, 'Blessed are the Hindus who send food even to their dead parents. Here I am, an unfortunate Muslim soul whose son is denying even water to his living father.'
    Last edited by Believer; 13 September 2011 at 11:03 PM. Reason: Added the link.

  5. #5
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    March 2011
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    Re: Four Types of Rin (Obligations/Debts)


    Pitra Rin , Shraddha starts today, full moon day ( Purnima) will last till new moon day( Amavasya).

    Some more information about Shraddha here.

    AmIHindu ?

    यज्ञानां जपयज्ञोऽस्मि ।

    नाम्नोऽस्ति यावती शक्तिः पापनिर्हरणे हरेः । श्र्वपचोऽपि नरः कतुँ क्षमस्तावन्नकिल्विषम् ।।

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