SEPARATOR HOTSelect and scroll to see the changes
A holy dip in river Ganga, meditative repetition of mantra or divine name, pouring in fire, death and worship of deities in Kashi are considered to be unfailing.
In Hinduism, rituals inculcate devotion and bring God and spirituality in the lives of human beings. A devout Hindu is expected to perform certain rituals everyday starting from morning till evening. Major types of Hindu rituals include life-cycle rituals (samskara), especially child-birth, marriage, death and ancestor rituals; worship and prayer (puja); Vedic fire sacrifices (yagnya, homa); collective and individual festivals (utsava) and processions (yatra, tirtha yatra); and individual vows (vrata). Highly ritualized is also the giving of a gift (dana).
Mostly the rituals more or less are performed with a motive to fulfill ones dharma, repay certain debts (Rin) or obligatations. In our Hindu Dharma, there are four types of Rin (obligations/debts) that a person acquires and must repay in his lifetime.
Varuna cha nadi chasi tayormadhye Varanasi
Atra snanam japo homam maranam devapujanam
Pitra-Rin (Parental Debt) – Parents are responsible for our birth and upbringing. They take care of us and raise us with love and devotion. To repay this debt, the children are required to take care of their parents in their old age, when they are infirm and need help. After their death, they are obliged to perform their antyeshti sanskar according to vedic scriptures and perform shradha, daan etc for the spiritual progress of the departed souls. Alternately, Pitra-Rin is also considered to be a Rin towards all of one's ancestors, and is repaid by conducting various rituals like shradh, pindpradaan etc.
Dev-Rin (Debt towards the Deities) – Different deities give us food, water, fire, air and provide many other necessities of life, for us to be able to live a normal material life. To absolve ourselves of this Rin, we are to donate items of sustenance to the less fortunate ones amongst us. Devakaryas are to be conducted to please gods for helping us to lead a good moral life.
Guru/Rishi-Rin (Obligations towards Teachers/Sages) – This is our obligation to the Sages who gave us the scriptural knowledge, to the Acharyas who translated it for us, and to the Gurus/Teachers who taught/trained us in different fields of knowledge/spirituality. The debt is repaid by disseminating the acquired knowledge/traditions, both in the realm of matter and spirit, to as many people as possible.
Brahma-Rin (God’s Debt) – We are indebted to God who gave us life. When a baby is born, it is compared to god as it is devoid of worldly attributes. As we grow up, our ‘negative’ quotient tends to rise. To repay this Rin, all that the almighty asks of us is to come back to Him with the mindset that He sent us with – impeccably clean, serene and free of any negativities. It inspires us to not acquire any negative karmic bonds, and to reduce the already present negativity in our lives, so as to reach the stage where we can repay God’s Rin by returning to Him, with the soul in pristine condition.
In order to fulfill ones duties or repay the debts, a person must perform pitrukaryas, devakaryas, Brahman Bhoj, Sadhu Bhojan, Annadananam and other charitable acts for the goodwill of self, family and society as a whole.