How can a person not interested in marriage (because they think it's a waste of time and money, also causes one to lose their peace of mind) repay their debt to parents and ancestors?

Does adopting a son for this purpose mean the same thing as getting married and procreating (male offspring)?

EDIT: This is not a duplicate of "How to clear our debts?" as there was no mention of how to clear the debt without marrying someone.

  • Possible duplicate of How do we clear our debts?
    – Just_Do_It
    May 2, 2019 at 13:31
  • This is NOT a duplicate question, and no answer of the mentioned question addresses this query.
    – user17294
    May 2, 2019 at 13:57

3 Answers 3


First of all it is recommended in the scriptures that one marries and begets son.

The following Aitreya Brahmana 7.13 verses quoted in the Vashishta Dharma Sutras make that explicit:

‘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).

2 ‘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).

A man is born with three debts of which the particular debt that he has to his ancestors is cleared only when he procreates a son.

Manu Smriti 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.

6.36. Having studied the Vedas in accordance with the rule, having begat sons according to the sacred law, and having offered sacrifices according to his ability, he may direct his mind to (the attainment of) final liberation.

6.37. A twice-born man who seeks final liberation, without having studied the Vedas, without having begotten sons, and without having offered sacrifices, sinks downwards

In case when one has married but does not have a son, he has the option of making his daughter a Putrika - the appointed daughter in the following manner.

9.127. He who has no son may make his daughter in the following manner an appointed daughter (putrika, saying to her husband), ’The (male) child, born of her, shall perform my funeral rites.

Prajapati Daksha, who had only daughters, employed this technique.

Therefore, marriage is always recommended and if one does not have a progeny then he can adopt son who is equal to a real son in many regards.

A natural son, a son begotten on the wife, a son given in adoption, a contrived son, a son born in secret, and a son adopted after being abandoned by his birth parents––these share in the inheritance.

Gautama Smriti 28.33

For persons who do not intend to marry the options seem to be to become a Sannyasi or follow the life of a Naishthika Brahmachari ( a perpetual student).

Manu Smriti 2.247. (A perpetual student) must, if his teacher dies, serve his son (provided he be) endowed with good qualities, or his widow, or his Sapinda, in the same manner as the teacher.

2.248. Should none of these be alive, he must serve the sacred fire, standing (by day) and sitting (during the night), and thus finish his life.

A perpetual student is the one who lives till he dies in the Brahmacharya Asrama. He is not required to marry.

  • Very good, but to me it does not answer one basic question: If one does not want to marry nor want to be a monk--is he necessarily doomed? I answered from this view point.
    – user17294
    May 3, 2019 at 10:30
  • @commonman If one does not want to marry and at the same time does not want to become a lifelong student or a Sannyasi then how can one defend that person from the scriptures? I don't think it is possible .. If his father decided against marriage then he would not have even existed .. So, I don't think the desire to have such a life is legitimate
    – Rickross
    May 3, 2019 at 13:24
  • Yes, we can defend.Sannyasa is banned for kali-yuga.Also, several scriptures are aginst marriage and procreation as I have quoted.
    – user17294
    May 3, 2019 at 13:25
  • None of the scriptures condemn marriage or procreation .. all the Vedic Samskaras are woven around marriage and birth of child ..that is directly against God's wish because he only wants to be many .. The quotes found in ur answer are talking about clutches of maya and u have used them to prove something else .. Sruti's dictum is that a man is a half being and so is a woman .. only when they come together in marriage they complete the unit .. @commonman
    – Rickross
    May 3, 2019 at 13:32
  • No, I differ.All do not have the mentality to marry and procreate.Our scriptures are inclusive enough.I hv not used in any wrong way as these are not sannyasa scriptures.
    – user17294
    May 3, 2019 at 13:34

Bhagavatam says about one way:

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

(41) Oh King when someone forsakes his material duties and takes to the shelter of Mukunda, the One Affording Shelter, he is neither the servant nor the debtor of the gods, the sages, ordinary living beings, friends and relatives, society or of the forefathers .

But the most important thing is to take shelter of Mukunda here(which is not easy), else one will have to face sinful reactions for neglecting the duties. If this is difficult, one has to look at other alternatives and dharma shastras may provide some such advices.


Good question.

The Manu-Samhita defines 'Dharma' as

वेदः स्मृतिः सदाचारः स्वस्य च प्रियं आत्मनः ।एतच्चतुर्विधं प्राहुः साक्षाद्धर्मस्य लक्षणम् । । 2/12

vedah smritih sadAchArah svasya cha priyam Atmanoh/ etat chaturvidham prAhuh sAkshAd dharmasya lakshanam//

the vedas, the smritis, the good conduct and that what is pleasing to oneself is 'Dharma'.

If one is not willing to marry or to procreate, that is what his choice. Forcing oneself to marry or to procreate to follow the scriptures is not advised by the scriptures as his own Atma does not want it and he is not doing any harm to anybody else by such behaviour

How to get rid of the pitri-rina then? One must try his best to please God. Sri Hari is always pleased with His genuine devotees, as mentioned in the Gita. None of the ninefold paths of bhakti mention that one must be married.

A very well-known mantra chanted in almost every puja reads:

priyatAm pundarikAkshah sarva-jajnesvaro Harih/ tasmin tushte jagat tushtam prinite prinitam jagat//

May the lotus-eyed Lord, who is goal of all the worships be pleased. If He is satisfied, the entire world is satisfied. If He is pleased, ALL are pleased.

As ALL are pleased, the real devotee is no more bound by any obligations to any party including the 'pitri'-s. So he is automatically freed from the pitri-rina and does not have to marry or to procreate any longer.


The Garuda-Purana supports the decision of not marrying or having children:

lauha-dAru-mayaih pAshaih pumAn baddho vimuchchyte/putra-dAra-mayair pAshair naiva baddho vimuchchyate//(13/14)

Meaning : A person can be freed from the shackles made of iron or wood, but can never be freed if bound by the shackles of wife and children.

The Brihat-Naradiya-Purana says

aho valavati mAyA mohayati akhilam jagat/ putra-mitra-kalatrArtham sarvadukkhe niyojati (35/38)

Meaning : Alas, Maya is very powerful.She deludes the entire world. It fills life with all types of pains because of wife, wards and friends.

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