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In the question "Is the length of a man's life predetermined?" I asked on whether the length of a man's life has already been determined in advance, even before a person is born, and now I ask the question which is related to it.
The answer to this preceding question was that "Yes, it is predetermined", and the answer was furnished with quotations from the scriptures and explanation of how the quotes give the answer to the question. Here I expect the same, to answer this question, please be sure to furnish quotations from the scriptures and explain how you see your quotes give the answer to this question.

So, the question here is the following one: If the length of a man's life has already been determined in advance, even before a person is born, then can it happen that the length of a man's life somehow becomes reduced during a man's lifetime, and so one has to die before he was destined initially?
If the answer to the question is "Yes", then give an explanation of what are the possible reasons for the reducing of a man's destined length of lifetime.

  • You have asked 2 exactly opposite questions in same topic. If 1 of them is answered then the other one will be inversion of it. e.g. If the answer to your 1st question is Yes, then the answer to this question will be No. Because, if the answer to this question is also "Yes" then, both will become contradictory. Hence it makes this a duplicate of Is the length of a man's life predetermined?. – iammilind Aug 12 '15 at 9:01
  • @iammilind No, not quite so. My question has a perfect sense! – brahma jijnasa Aug 12 '15 at 23:41
  • Yes. akala maranam is a real thing – user1195 Dec 5 '15 at 14:21
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Let me preface this by stating my view that your question, as stated, doesn't make sense; that which is preordained by Vishnu is guaranteed to happen no matter what. There are certainly cases, like the story of Markandeya, where Yama god of death assumes that a person is destined to die at a particular time but the person does not end up dying. But that's not a case of destiny failing to be correct; rather, it's a case of Yama being mistaken about what is actually destined to occur. Vishnu would still know all along when the person is actually destined to die.

Now having said all that, I think this excerpt from the Garuda Purana addresses the intent behind your question. Garuda asks Vishnu why the Rig Veda says that humans live for hundred years, when humans in the Kali Yuga often live for shorter than that. Vishnu responds that there are various sinful actions that a human can do that reduce his length of life below a hundred years:

It is true that a man lives for a hundred years as stated in the Vedas, but due to the influence of his misdeeds he dies a premature death. Now, people do not make a regular study of the Vedas; they do not follow the traditional conduct; they commit sins and due to idleness forsake their duties. They take food from any house they visit. They are fond of other men's wives. All these reduce their longevity....

When the actions of previous birth ripen, man succumbs to death. From the time of conception to the fifth year even a slight sin may cause death. It is due to major sins that man dies after the fifth year. Usually, he completes the allotted span of life, dies and is born again. It is as a result of sacred rites and gifts that he is able to complete his life's term.

Let me reiterate that this is about the kind of actions which can reduce a person's life relative to the 100 years allotted by the Vedas. These action do not reduce the length of life relative to what is destined to occur, however; as I discuss in my answer to your previous question, the person's actual length of life is predetermined at birth.

  • Now even Vishnu says that man lives for a "hundred years" and not thousand of years. – Chinmay Sarupria Nov 14 '16 at 19:10
  • @ChinmaySarupria This is all in the context of the Kali Yuga. In any case, the Vedas also contain instructions for Yagnas that take a thousand years to perform. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 14 '16 at 19:36
  • Nope, Vedas never say that this life span is of Kali Yuga, in fact in Chandogya Upanishad, it is specifically mentioned that life span is 116 years so Vedas do not support thousand of years of life span. – Chinmay Sarupria Nov 15 '16 at 6:05
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Yes, lifespan of any being can be reduced or can be more. The lifespan is not measured by the number of years but rather by number of breaths. At birth, every being is given a fixed number of breaths. When they run out of those breaths, death is bound to come.

Swami Sivananda says:

A Yogi measures the span of his life not by the number of years but by the number of his breaths. A man takes fifteen breaths in a minute. The total number of breaths comes to 21,600 times per day.

Kumbhaka is retention of breath. Kumbhaka increases the period of life. It augments the inner spiritual force, vigour and vitality. If you retain the breath for one minute, this one minute is added to your span of life. Yogins by taking the breath to the Brahmarandhra at the top of the head and keeping it there, defeat the Lord of death, Yama, and conquer death. Chang Dev lived for one thousand and four hundred years through the practice of Kumbhaka.

Breathing rate of different species:

  • Mouse: Respiratory rate = 60–230/min and Life span = 1.5–3.0 years
  • Rabbit: Respiratory rate = 30–60/min and Life span = 5.0–6.0 years
  • Monkey: Respiratory rate = 30–50/min and Life span = 20–30 years
  • Human: Respiratory rate = 12–16/min and Life span = 70–80 years
  • Whales: Respiratory rate = 3–5/min and Life span = more than 100 years

As you can see, those who breathe faster have less life span and those who breathe slower have more! This is the reason why yogis are able to live for so long.

Pranayama is the fourth limb of yoga in Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The goal of Pranayama is to be able to control Prana. In Pranayama, there are some deep breathing exercise known as Kumbhaka(breath retention). There are 4 types of Kumbhaka, the last one being Kevali Kumbhaka. In the state of Kevali Kumbhaka, a person no longer breaths. He doesn't exhale nor inhale. If yogis attain this state, they are no longer bound by the fixed number of breaths and hence they are able to live longer.

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    You should cite sources for the claim that every being is given a fixed number of breaths. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 5 '15 at 16:41
  • Yeah, as I said above Here I expect the same, to answer this question, please be sure to furnish quotations from the scriptures and explain how you see your quotes give the answer to this question. – brahma jijnasa Dec 8 '15 at 13:24
  • Yup, turtles breath very slowly and live very long. – Amit Saxena May 18 '16 at 8:37
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Since I am not entirely satisfied with the answers and comments to my question I decided to compose the answer.

Yes it can happen that the length of a man's life somehow becomes reduced during a man's lifetime, and so one has to die before he was destined initially. There are statements in the scriptures about that.

It is said in the Manu-smriti, chapter 5:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/manu.htm

  1. Righteous Bhrigu, the son of Manu, (thus) answered the great sages: 'Hear, (in punishment) of what faults Death seeks to shorten the lives of Brahmanas!'

  2. 'Through neglect of the Veda-study, through deviation from the rule of conduct, through remissness (in the fulfilment of duties), and through faults (committed by eating forbidden) food, Death becomes eager to shorten the lives of Brahmanas.'

See also in the Vishnu Purana, Book III: Chapter XI,
http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp085.htm

"He who commits adultery is punished both here and hereafter; for his days in this world are cut short, and when dead he falls into hell."

In those verses "shorten the lives" and "his days in this world are cut short" talks about the length of a man's life becomes reduced during a man's lifetime, and so one has to die before he was destined initially. This is also evident from the statement "He ... is punished both here and hereafter", namely he is even punished here in this world the way that the length of his lifetime becomes reduced, and thus he will not reach the predetermined duration of a lifetime.
This predetermined duration of a man's life can be reduced if a person commits some kind of offense, fault or a sin during the life.

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