How to Repay the Karmic Debt? (The Concept of Rinanubandh)

There is a concept called Rinanubandh. What this concept says is that two people come together because of a cosmic debt and there happens an energetic exchange between them based on that.

The relationship can be pleasant or unpleasant. Unless and until the karmic debt is repaid the association continues to exist. Only when the debt is repaid the association breaks apart and two people move their own way.

Now this concept sounds very simple in theory but it has some deep implications. It has a very deep meaning when it is understood in totality. You see, sometimes it so happens that we do everything for a loved one, we take care of them, we dedicate our life to them, but despite everything we have done for them, in the end we find ourselves isolated.

We find ourselves left alone and then it really hurts because then I say that I have done so much for the other person and this is how they repay me. It may happen that you shower unconditional love on another person but that person would never value it, but in return, be deceitful.

It is the tendency of the ego mind to blame the other person because when I am hurt, I also want the other person to be hurt as well, and I think that hurting others will give me satisfaction. That is the unconscious trait of the ego. It wants to get back.

We keep repeating that story in our minds. We keep saying, “I did so much for them but they did not reciprocate,” and what Rinanubandhan says is that it was meant to be like that.

Now traditional concept says that it is because of the karmas of the previous birth that such an association happens, but I recall Ramesh Balsekar’s teaching where he says that it is not that the ego takes birth and then continues in the next birth.

Once the body dies the ego also dies but there is something that continues from one birth to another. These are very subtle energy strands called the samskaras, which are deep internal traits and tendencies.

Samskaras continue from one birth to another and what type of body they form and what type of association happens between the two bodies is determined by the cosmic law and based on that a debt is set. Now the thing to note here is that our limited human intellect cannot make sense of this cosmic debt.

We cannot dictate and say it should be like this or why it is like this. We do not decide how to dissolve our energy strands. The dissolution happens through the played-out relationship dynamic. What remains unresolved goes back into the pool of consciousness, and then again it comes out of the pool of consciousness and creates another life.

So there is a debt that needs to be repaid and it may happen that sometimes you are in such a position where despite everything you’ve done for the other person you don’t get anything in return. Even the least of what you expect, you do not even get that.

It may also happen the other way around, where you may take constant advantage of somebody and they would allow you to do whatever you’re doing. This is not to say that you have to put yourself in a difficult situation, if you think that you have a resolution to a particular situation, you definitely can act on it, but sometimes despite all you’re “doing,” despite all your actions, the result is not what you truly desire.

This is where this concept of Rinanubandh helps because you cannot make sense of the cosmic debt. You may do everything for your loved ones, you may build expectations, but still, everything falls flat, your life breaks apart and you find yourself helpless and not in a position to do anything more.

But you see, you are none of this. The true nature of you is the consciousness, the unaffected witness of the phenomenal world, and once you know that you are already out of the influence of all karmic debts.

The associations may still continue, and the equation with your relatives or your loved ones will still play out the way it is meant to play out but with this understanding that I am not the doer and neither the other person is the doer, I completely accept Rinanubandh, the word “rin” means debt, and “bandh” means the bond.

Even when in bondage, I am free. Who am I to say, “I did this or that for them,” and therefore, I must reap the reward. Who is this “I?” Who is this “me” that says that I did all of this? That is the main question.

We just prolong our suffering by incessantly thinking about all this (trying to make sense of the karmic debt). “I did this for them, I did that for them, and now when it is my turn, when I need help from them, they have turned their back on me.” It was meant to happen this way and it is a part of the resolution of the samskaras that the cosmic law is resolving.

All you can do is surrender to “What-Is” (the unaltered reality of this moment) without trying to interfere in anything, because then, the pain may still be there, but it does not become your suffering because what is happening does not become your story.

I know a lady who’s in her 60s. She was raised with her sibling an elder brother with whom she had a fallout. This lady did a lot for her brother over the years including taking care of their ailing old mother, but despite all her doing, something happened, some misunderstanding happened between them and the brother decided not to speak to her for many years, and that really broke her heart.

She saw her elder brother like a father figure and she wanted that validation and that acceptance from him like all of us do. We want that validation and acceptance from our elders. But her brother was busy with his life and he did not care to attend to his sister.

Now she complains saying, “See I did so much for him but he did not reciprocate, he has forgotten me.” It is not that she has to keep pushing this relationship in one direction, or that she has to constantly communicate with him or try to make him feel this or that way. That would be a waste of time.

What is meant to happen will happen. Whatever she did in the past was because of the karmic debt, whatever understanding or misunderstanding she had with her brother was a part of this karmic debt and maybe that debt is now finished so now she has the capacity to move on with her life, and look ahead at what life has to offer now in this very moment rather than constantly dwelling on the dead past.

In this way, the basic understanding of Rinanubandh frees us from bondage. It is not that one has to feel trapped or stuck in a particular situation. In fact, with this deeper understanding, one feels free to move ahead without carrying the load of guilt or shame for anything.

“Why did I do this? Why did I have to do this for them?” You did that because it was meant to be this way. It could not have happened the other way. It is only the mind that brings up these stories and you’re continuing with this never-ending action-reaction loop.

“if I did this, that would have happened, if I did that, this would have happened,” you see how the mind creates all this entanglement and causes pain. Suffering is the continuation of thinking in horizontal time.

When you totally accept that this is the way it was meant to be, something had to be done from your end and now that association is finished, now that that bandhan or debt is repaid, you can move on with your life. You never know maybe if something is left, they may again come back, but with this renewed understanding, there won’t be an expectation that they should come back.

If they come back, it is accepted as God’s will, and if they don’t come back, that is also accepted as God’s will, but you are always free because you are the unaffected witness of the phenomenal world. You cannot be tied up. You cannot be bound. All the boundation is just an idea in your mind. Free yourself from these boundaries and see the nature of reality, here and now.

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Jagjot Singh
Jagjot Singh

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