The Bible talks about generational curses. Does Hinduism have generational curses? If so, please include some verses describing them.

  • I'm not sure why this is tagged christianity. It mentions the Bible, but the question isn't about Christianity or the Bible.
    – TRiG
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 23:45
  • @TRiG it mentions the bible and the post requires at least one tag so I choose it. There is no generational tag and nothing else seemed to fit.
    – William
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 0:37
  • Vyasa tried to curse 3 generations of Kasi residents but was preempted by Annapurna devi.
    – user1195
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 2:51
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    @moonstar2001 actually, no one can curse Kasi city or residents though Visveswara and Annapurna Devi made vyasa to realize the greatness of Kasi.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 3:36
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    The Atharva Veda contains many of the mantras for protection from many various afflictions of life, gaining various things in life, and mantras against enemies and other opponents in life. A brief perusal showed no generational curses. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 5:40

3 Answers 3


Yes, generational curse do exists. They are of 2 types:

1. External

Such kind of curse may come from a strong and austere personality like a Brahman or a saintly person. There are couple of references in AnushAsanika Parva as footnotes:

The thin bamboo rod in the hand of the Brahmana is mightier than the thunderbolt of Indra. The thunder scorches all existing objects upon which it falls. The Brahmana's rod which symbolizes the Brahmana's might in the form of his curse blasts even unborn generations. The might of the rod is derived from Mahadeva.

Here is a small instance:

Once Brahma asked Surabhi to bear evidence before Vishnu to the statement that Brahma has seen the foremost part of Siva. Surabhi having given false evidence out of fear for Brahma was cursed by Siva that her offspring will eat unholy substances.

From this answer, a very [in]famous curse was given by GAndhAri to lord Krishna, which was so sharp that, the whole Yadu race met with rather a too quick annihilation to be able to witness further generational curse.

2. Ancestral

That comes from the ancestors of the same family itself, also known as Pitru runa or Pitru dosha. Usually, our ancestors live in subtle forms with their mental desires still unfulfilled. If such desires are not fulfilled by subsequent generations, then these desires are gradually transformed into curse and create various obstacles for ongoing generations. One reason for such Pitru dosha is shortly discussed in Gita:

BG 1.42 And the hybridisation in the family leads the ruiners of the family into hell only. The forefathers of these fall down (into hell) because of being deprived of the offerings of food and water.

Personally I know a very close friend, whose family was diagnosed with a curse, where no male child was getting born. Even if born, then it won't survive. They visited PrAchi, Gujarat, India for an intense ritual to lower down its effect.

We may wonder, why some misdeed of our forefathers have to be paid by us? That's because, a major [material] part of our father gets born as our own self. There are numerous references in ancient scriptures, which suggest that the father is born as a son/daughter. Hence, in a way we can assume that our great-great forefather's [material] part has born our own selves.
Here is one such reference by Bhishma while discussing fair property distribution among son & daughter:

"Bhishma said, 'The son is even as one's own self, and the daughter is like unto the son. How, therefore, can another take the wealth when one lives in one's own self in the form of one's daughter?

Traditionally in earlier times, the daughters would change the family after marriage. Hence, any forefather effect could be subsidising in their case.

Common people giving curse should be ignored & the receiver of the curse should grant them a pardon. Usually such curses will go in below category:

What do scriptures say about using swear or abusive words for cursing people?

  • I believe this is possible ... I'm doing prayers, trying to create beautiful things and hopefully bad deeds from past will be forgiven ... even Christian pastor Joel Osteen (many call him motivational speaker) says generational curses exist but we can break then if we ask. God for help and be our very best.
    – Rhonda
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 2:34
  • @Rhonda, to bring in positivity, there are immediate measures also available in Indian culture. 1 of them is "De-cluttering" the house. This is more related to "cleanliness". But often ppl relate "cleanliness" with garbage or dust. In "De-cluttering", one should dispose all the unwanted & unused items completely out of the house. Such practices increase the sattva (goodness) & suppresses rajo (passion) & tamo (ignorance) modes. If you have a luxury to build new house, then build according to Vastu. That nearly nullifies Pitru dosha.
    – iammilind
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 5:38
  • Interesting you say that. I get urges to clean and declutter my house whenever possible. One day I shall have luxury to build new house ...
    – Rhonda
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 1:00
  • Abt Bhishma Pitamaha and property. True if curse is also property.
    – ajitdas
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 4:46

Yes, generational curses do exist in Hinduism. There is a famous story described in Aitareya Brahmana (7.13-18) where Sage Vishvamitra cursed his own sons that their descendants will be born into the lowest castes.

This Risi Visvamitra had a hundred sons, fifty of them were older than Madhuchhandas, and fifty were younger than he. The older ones were not pleased with (the installation of Sunahsepa to the primogeniture). VisvAmitra then pronounced against them the curse, " You shall have the lowest castes for your descendants." Therefore are many of the most degraded classes of men, the rabble for the most part, such as the Andhras, Pundras, Sabaras, Palindas, and Mutibas, descendants of Visvamitra. But Madhuchhandas, with the fifty younger sons, said, " What our father approves of, by that we abide ; we all accord to thee (Sunahsepa) the first rank, and we will come after thee ! " Visvamitra, (leligated 'at this answer) then praised these sons with the following verses :

" Ye my sons will have abundance of cattle and children, for you have made me rich in children by consenting to my wish."

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    Great reference to the Vishwamitras. Also you can curse your own descendants
    – ajitdas
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 4:48

The answer is yes. But one thing you need to understand : curses are our own doing (actions of past lives or present one) . They only manifest when their time comes like fruits on a tree. When the sins are eradicated by suffering or by pious actions, the effects of curses vanish. As for generational curses, if one is born in a cursed lineage, it is because one's sins are synonymous to the curse. Even if he was not born in an cursed family, he still will have to suffer the sins like a curse , but the curse or suffering will be his own and not directly of the family. It is a case of काहु न कोउ सुख दुख कर दाता। निज कृत करम भोग सबु भ्राता॥-Ramcharitmanas.If people of similar crimes gather in one place like a family , then it appears as a generational curse like the case of Sage Vishwamitra's sons. In simple way, one can understand by comparing the analogy with suffering of prisoners in a prison for crimes.

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