Once the great rishi Agastya was on a visit to heaven. On reaching there he saw that his ancestors were suspended in the air, heads down. Dismayed by this site, the rishi realized that this state of his ancestors meant only one thing, that very soon they will be residing in hell.
“What could you all possibly have done to gain such painful repercussions?, he questioned them. “It’s not us but you, greatest of all rishis, who has brought his own ancestors to such pitiful state”, they answered angrily.
Disbelief flickered on the rishi’s face, “that cannot be possible, since the day I was born I have led a strict ascetic and celibate way of life. I have always helped those in need. Even the devtas worship me”.
“Oh! We know all about your greatness and we know you too will be headed to heaven after you die, and just like us you will end up in hell, because you not married and haven’t bore any children. There is no one to perform prayers for us and make offerings for us in the month of pitrupaksha.” Agastya was aghast, why didn’t he think of this before. He immediately left to earth promising his ancestors that he would marry soon and have children.