Sometimes back, I used to think that a ‘will’ simply meant how my finances would be controlled by my wife and my children after my death. As I started acquiring Vedic knowledge, my interpretation changed. Following is the gist for writing a Will, as I understand it the Vedic way. Of course, writing a will requires a sound state of mind, two witnesses, signed registered paper with accompanying, if possible audio-visual link.

  • The first step is to calculate your life earnings. Your earnings are not only your finances earned but also the respect, dignity and image that you have earned in the society.
  • The next step then is to pay off your unpaid debts (Hrins). Apart from actual loans we have taken from banks, friends and others, there are three more debts (Hrins) which we need to pay before we die and define in our Will to be paid from our earning if we die unexpectedly. These as per mythology are Pitra Hrin, Dev Hrin and Rishi Hrin and mean that we have not been able to fulfil the committed desires of our ancestors and commitments made to our GOD and teachers, respectively. All these debts, if unpaid, need to be paid out of the finances you are leaving at the time of death. A percentage of your finances, therefore, should be kept to pay these debts. These commitments are usually fulfilled by the eldest son and eldest daughter, if there is no son or wife till she is alive.
  • Rest of the finances need to be divided to fulfil your Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha or purpose for which you were born.
    • Artha: A percentage of your finances should go and be equally divided within your immediate family. A percentage of this amount should be converted into a family trust account to be used for children below 18 years of age in future.
    • Dharma: Dharma in literal meaning is to hold. A percentage of your finances should be kept into a reserve account and this account interest can be used by the family only if they stick to the code of family conduct (includes rituals, religious activities etc.) you have created in your life and mentioned in the will or this amount may be given for charity as defined in your will.
    • Kama and Moksha: Kama means the unfulfilled desires at the level of intellect and ego and Moksha the same at the level of our soul.

We must enlist both our desires at the level of mind and at the level of soul and a percentage of our finances should be converted into a trust or defined to fulfil these desires. The examples of desires at the level of soul are to do some charitable work without any publicity. The same at the level of ego are to open some dispensary, dharamshala etc. in our own name. You also need to fulfil and document your desired rituals at the time of death. These rituals must answer the following questions:

  1. Should my death be celebrated (band, lunch) as I have completed all my purposes of life?
  2. How should my death anniversary be celebrated or observed?
  3. How should my last rites be done?

Final Note: If my children and wife are not willing to take care of the finances other than Artha, I nominate the following persons to manage my finance to look after my other desires……

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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