I know that a similar topic has been discussed in the link below, but my position is different.

Is it necessary for one to have children?

I know that this can be a very subjective topic, and therefore I want to make this as specific as possible. Consider the position of a householder who has willingly married, who is working for a decent company making good money and has a good wife. In other words a fairly normal family. Now can he and his wife together decide not to even try for having a child ? Does Dharma allow such a position as lawful ? Is it not considered escapism from responsibility ? It is important to note here that they are by no means in the vAnaprastha state of mind (giving up all pleasures and comforts etc…) Does Dharma allow one to consider having a child to be a karmic bandhana and therefore avoid it despite not being in vAnaprastha ?

  • 1
    Can you explain how is your question different from the other one? Or how none of the answers there don't answer your question? "Now can he and his wife together decide not to even try for having a child?" - seems like a duplicate to me. Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 6:13
  • The earlier question leaves a choice (is it necessary...). My question is whether it is obligatory. Does Grihastha Dharma Obligate the couple to beget children and if it is adharma to not try for a child citing karma/bondage/attachment etc..
    – Lotus
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 6:19
  • "pitru runa (debt owed to forefathers for continuing the lineage)" - so are you asking if pitru runa is an obligation for married couple? Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 6:24
  • "he who seeks it (liberation) without having paid (his debts) sinks downwards. [Manu Smrt - 6.35]" - so seems obligatory, although, Hinduism doesn't force rules on anybody. Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 6:27
  • Well..may be I did not make it clear in the question. Several people in the comments for the other question seem to imply that we do not strictly follow the scriptural injunctions regarding bhramacharya etc..and so why we would ask scriptural support for begetting children. This is why the question comes up. Having gotten married and not being in vAnaprastha, to me implies directly that one is obligated to beget a child, or atleast make a sincere attempt towards it. We seem to use the escape way (much like Arjuna wanting to run away from the war quoting all kinds of excuses) to aviod children.
    – Lotus
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 6:29

1 Answer 1


A definition of Putra(a son) from Manu Smriti:

Manu Smriti 9.138. Because a son delivers (trayate) his father from the hell called Put, he was therefore called put-tra (a deliverer from Put) by the Self-existent (Svayambhu) himself.

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In fact,one of of the main reasons why a couple begets children is to have someone to provide them libations of water after they are no more.Now knowing this which parents will purposefully decide against having children? It is for their own good after all.

And,of course then comes the Pitru Runa(the debt that one has to the ancestors).For that too begetting sons are necessary.

Further relevant verses:

Manu Smriti 9.106. Immediately on the birth of his first-born a man is (called) the father of a son and is freed from the debt to the manes; that (son), therefore, is worthy (to receive) the whole estate.

Manu Smriti 9.107. That son alone on whom he throws his debt and through whom he obtains immortality, is begotten for (the fulfilment of) the law; all the rest they consider the offspring of desire

Manu Smriti 9.137. Through a son he conquers the worlds, through a son’s son he obtains immortality, but through his son’s grandson he gains the world of the sun.

Does Dharma allow one to consider having a child to be a karmic bandhana and therefore avoid it despite not being in vAnaprastha ?

I don't know of any Scriptures that preach that logic.

Now can he and his wife together decide not to even try for having a child ?

As told above, it is in their benefit only to have one.But as per this Kurma Purana chapter a Grihasta(householder) can be of two kinds: 1)Udaseenas & 2)Sadhakas.

Again Grihastis are of two kinds viz. Udaaseenas and Saadhakaas; the former Grihastis lead a virtuous life and simultaneously take up family responsibilities too are Sadhakas; while those who leave away the Pitruruna, Devaruna, Rishiruna besides leave family, money and social obligations and remain targetted only at Moksha are Udaseenas.

So,Udaseena is the type of householder who will not want begetting children but i'm not sure how can they compensate for not having paid the 3 debts or what the consequences of following such a path are.

Moreover,the "Udaseena" is more concerned about moksha than anything else.So he is behaving like a Vanaprashti here.But the couple you mentioned in your question are not inclined towards moksha yet.So ,this path is not for them in any case.

Also,a verse from Manu Smriti,discourages that "Udaseena" path by saying:

6.35. When he has paid the three debts, let him apply his mind to (the attainment of) final liberation; he who seeks it without having paid (his debts) sinks downwards.

However ,this verse applies to a Brahmin.

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    Thank you very much for your detailed answer. I am intrigued by your mention of Udaaseenas and Saadhakaas. I am now convinced that my suspicion was correct viz. Grihasthas have no right to avoid having children unless they are living a life of vAnaprastha. Thank you again.
    – Lotus
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 5:23

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