Many times I have heard elders saying that lineage must be continued so that Pitris/ancestors can born again as human. Are there any scriptural references about it?

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    Possible duplicate of Can I please have a scriptural reference for Pitru Runa? – Sarvabhouma Jun 22 '18 at 2:30
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    Thank you. I looked at it but it does not clearly say about importance of lineage with respect to rebirth? – Ketan Jun 22 '18 at 3:15
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    What elders say is to continue the lineage to pay back our debt to ancestors. This is not to make the dead ancestors reborn again as human. We do rituals like shraddha etc., for better lokas for them and not to take birth in this human mortal world. You are said wrong information. Doing something for their rebirth is against the rituals are intended for. Actually it is only for paying back the debt which is addressed in the target question. – Sarvabhouma Jun 22 '18 at 3:19
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    @ketanwip You're right, this is not a dup. of other one which only asks for a reference of Pitru Runa. There's nothing about rebirth of Pitris/ancestors there. – sv. Jun 22 '18 at 14:24
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    I think the term “son” would “also” apply to “another boy child who loves/respects the elder like a father”(in addition to the biological sons).For example-the Shraddha of the illustrious Bhishma was performed by king Yudhishthira(and other Pandavas), as also the Shraddha of Dhritarashtra(sons were killed in the MB war).There are many such examples in the scriptures. – Uday Krishna Jun 24 '18 at 6:10

Sons are required because if they keep performing the prescribed religious rites like Tarpanas etc on earth, then that enhances the heavenly life of the departed ancestors. It is not needed for their rebirths like you have said.

You'll understand once you read the following passage:

From Vashishta Dharma Sutras 17.13:

‘A debt he pays in him and immortality he gains, the father who sees the face of his son born and alive’ (AB 7.13).

‘Eternal are the worlds of those men who have sons. A sonless man has no world’––so states a vedic text (cf. AB 7.13).

And there is the curse: ‘May our enemies be childless!’ (RV 1.21.5). There is also the vedic saying: ‘Through offspring, O Fire, may we attain immortality’ (RV 5.4.10). Through a son one gains the worlds; through a grandson one attains eternal life; and through the son’s grandson one gains the crest of the sun.

(Here RV stands for Rig Veda and AB for Aitreya Brahmana).

You'll get more clarifications from the following passage which is from Apasthambha Dharma Sutras 2.24.8:

The scriptures declare, moreover, that immortality consists of offspring: ‘In your offspring

you are born again. That, O mortal, is your immortality’ (TB Furthermore, we can see with our very eyes

that the son is a distinct clone of the father himself. One can even see that they are identical, only the bodies are

distinct. And the sons, as they continue to perform the prescribed rites, increase the fame and heavenly life of their departed ancestors. Each subsequent generation does the same for those that preceded it. They dwell in heaven until the dissolution of creation. At the new creation, they serve as the seed’, says the Bhavisyat Purana. And there is also the declaration of Prajapati:

Study of the triple Veda, studentship, procreation, faith, austerity, sacrifice, giving gifts––those who perform these dwell with us. Anyone who praises other things becomes dust and perishes.

(Here TB refers to the Taittiriya Brahmana)

So, for one's own immortality concerns one needs offsprings to start with. Furthermore, it is also needed so as to make the deceased ancestors live happily in their own realms for ever till dissolution.

The 2nd quote/passage clearly rules out the possibility that continuing the lineage is to be done for the purpose of the ancestors' rebirth as humans on earth (because they are stated to live in their own realms till dissolution).

But, if you're talking about the father being born again as the son, only then it's seemingly true.

  • It’s difficult to accept the fact that purpose of offspring and rituals conducted by them is to make ancestors live in their realms forever till dissolution. My grandma used to say that these realms (pitraloka, swargloka) only provide temporary ‘sukh’ and you cannot attain ultimate moksha. For that you need human birth (which is rare to get). So if rituals are keeping ancestors in their realms - is like preventing them from attaining higher goals. Not that I am negating scripture or anything but things I were taught vs what I am finding – Ketan Jun 24 '18 at 15:28
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    What ur grandma said is true too. All these Lokas can't give "happiness" comparable to Moksha. But till dissolution they will live happily that's what is meant. @ketanwip Also all these things are stated in the scriptures as u can see. Also whether they have the desire to achieve Moksha or not is something i don't know and what they will have to do if they want Moksha is not known to me either. As u may know, it's said that Moksha can be achieved on earth only. – Rickross Jun 25 '18 at 5:39

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