Of EMIs and debts that we forget…

Who isn’t familiar with the concept of EMI?

This craze has driven us to over-consume and under-save, and it is only getting worse with ‘solutions’ such as Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) or sometimes, never at all.

We are also familiar with the dark side of credit – those who don’t pay suddenly find the sweet tones of the bankers becoming threats, recovery agents start visiting, and credit scores start plummeting. In short, we do our best to pay back, lest there be adverse consequences.

But do we pay back all that we owe?

Ancient scriptures speak of the ṛṇa trayi, or the three debts that one has to fulfil during one’s lifetime. They are ṛṣi ṛṇa – debt to the sages, deva ṛṇa – debt to the devas and pitru ṛṇa– debt to the ancestors. Some scriptures also speak of a fourth debt – manuśya ṛṇa, or debt to mankind. 

How do we overcome these debts? We can overcome ṛṣi ṛṇa by studying the scriptures, and working on elevating our consciousness beyond mere materialism. 

deva ṛṇa can be overcome by sacrifice – a more spiritual ritual by sacrificing one’s selfishness and negativity, and engaging in positive acts, going about one’s duties and a karma yogi, without the expectation of the result. 

pitru ṛṇa can be overcome by continuing the lineage of the family, being grateful to your ancestors for bringing you into this world and into their family, and ensuring that their name is not tarnished due to bad actions on your part. 

manuśya ṛṇa is overcome by ensuring that you are helpful to the needy, and by treating everyone and everything with courtesy and respect. By believing in the concept of vasudhaiva kutumbakam – the world is one family, by discarding selfishness and embracing selflessness.

We are brought into this world by our parents, we are raised by society, we eat the food that they provide us, and use the facilities that our country makes for us ,yet we forget many of these debts, and continue with our lives ignorant of the fact that we have to give back what we owe them – our parents, society and our country. This is not taught in our education system, but it is essential that we teach this to our children. Let them grow into responsible and sensitive individuals, and not ungrateful ones. Say a prayer before every meal, be thankful for everything you receive, and give back more than you take – a few simple rules of life that help you overcome the debts that you incur.

Unlike bank EMIs, no one comes collecting, but that does not mean we should stop giving:) The credit worthiness still exists, just by a different name. It’s called KARMA.

See you tomorrow!