The Forum dedicated to Arunachala and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: rajan on February 22, 2008, 07:40:21 PM

Title: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: rajan on February 22, 2008, 07:40:21 PM
Is heaven and hell real or myths created to induce fear in wrongdoers?
Pain is a sensation experienced by the brain and science says that the brain ceases all activity at the time of death. Therefore, when the body and soul or Self, detach when death occurs, how is the soul going to experience pleasure or pain at heaven or hell.
Has Bagawan Maharishi talked on this subject?
Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: sonagiri on February 23, 2008, 07:49:02 PM
From Guru Vachaka Kovai, translated by Sadhu Om


O men, do not argue and quarrel amongst yourselves about the reality of heaven and hell. As long and as far as this present world is real, till then and to that extent heaven and hell are also real.


If those geniuses who assert 'Yes, this world and this body which we see do really exist' would sit and scrutinize [this matter] with me, I would certainly point out the them, 'Yes, not only does this world really exist, but also do other worlds such as heaven and hell.'


Only those who do not know the nature of misery are terrified by the tortures of hell. But if one understands what misery is, one will know the way to end it, and will certainly attain one's natural state of bliss.

pages 47, 48 and 49 of Guru Vachaka Kovai. The same idea is found on page 286 of Padamalai, verses 40 and 41, where Bhagavan says:

'To whatever extent this world is real, to that same extent are other worlds real. Only this much can be said about heaven and hell without giving rise to arguments.'
Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: rajan on February 25, 2008, 04:23:05 PM
Thank you for your response "sonagiri".

I am not arguing or making a statement. My doubt is over the purported pain or pleasure in the hearafter as extolled by all scriptures.  This does not square off with medical science which asserts that brain ceases all activity at point of death and the body will not experience any stimuli. Here, the body ceases to exist and the Self or Atma detaches itself. The Self is independent of pain or pleasure, as these are exclusive to the body. If at all the Self is to be punished for the sins of the body that it had cast off, then it (ie the Self) has to be re-incarnated in another body to suffer the punishement. Hence, it appears heaven or hell plays no role while the Self  is bodyless.

These are just my wandering thoughts.
Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: sonagiri on March 01, 2008, 04:41:43 PM
In my earlier posting I noted that Bhagavan's position on this subject was that the heavenly realms were as real (or as unreal) as the one we live in. That is to say, if you take this world to be real, then there is also a heavenly realm in which one can live; and while one is there, it will appear to be real. However, once the 'I' that creates this world has been eradicated, then these heavens and hells also disappear along with it. Here are four explanations by Bhagavan. The first two accept that heavenly realms will be real to those who take our own world to be real, while the third and fourth, coming from the standpoint of the Self, denies them a real, independent reality :

Question: People talk of Vaikunta, Kailasa, Indraloka, Chandraloka [the heavenly realms of the Hindu gods], etc. Do they really exist?

Bhagavan: Certainly. You can rest assured that they all exist. There also a swami like me will be found seated on a couch and disciples will also be seated around him. They will ask something and he will say something in reply. Everything will be more or less like this. What of that? If one sees Chandraloka, one will ask for Indraloka, and after Indraloka, Vaikunta and after Vaikunta, Kailasa, and so on, and the mind goes on wandering. Where is shanti [peace]? If shanti is required, the only correct method of securing it is by self-enquiry. Through self-enquiry Self-realisation is possible. If one realises the Self, one can see all these worlds within one’s Self. The source of everything is one’s own Self, and if one realises the Self, one will not find anything different from the Self. Then these questions will not arise. There may or may not be a Vaikunta or a Kailasa but it is a fact that you are here, isn’t it? Who are you here? Where are you? After you know about these things, you can think of all those worlds.   

(Letters from Sri Ramanasramam, 31st January, 1946)
Question: Are the gods Iswara or Vishnu and their sacred regions Kailasa or Vaikunta real?

Bhagavan: As real as you are in this body.

Question: Do they possess a vyavahara satya, i.e., phenomenal existence, like my body? Or are they fictions like the horn of a hare?
Bhagavan: They do exist.

Question: If so, they must be somewhere. Where are they?

Bhagavan: Persons who have seen them say that they exist somewhere. So we must accept their statement.
Question: Where do they exist?

Bhagavan: In you.

Question: Then it is only idea – that which I can create and control?

Bhagavan: Everything is like that.

Question: But I can create pure fictions e.g., hare’s horn or only part truths, e.g. mirage, while there are also facts irrespective of my imagination. Do the gods Iswara or Vishnu exist like that?

Bhagavan:  Yes.

(Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 30.)

Question: What about Kailas and all the other worlds? Do they really exist?

Bhagavan: All are the concoctions of maya.   

(The Power of the Presence, part one, p. 27.)

Bhagavan: What is meant by moksha? Do the heavenly world and heavenly bliss exist somewhere in the sky? Are these to be experienced in some other body and in some other world after leaving this world and this body? The supreme world is only the Heart. Tranquillity in the form of supreme silence is supreme bliss, the happiness of liberation. Cessation of worries is the attainment of the supreme state. Through the state of being-consciousness, the life of supreme bliss can be attained at all times and in all states in this very world and in this very body. 

(Sri Ramana Darsanam, p. 62.)

Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: Chandra on March 05, 2008, 12:43:48 AM
Hello Rajan,
You doubt is that pain cannot exist when this body/mind dies. Please note the following conversation with Bhagavan:
Question: Then when we leave this body, that is when the ego leaves it, will it (the ego) immediately grasp another body? Bhagavan: Oh, yes, it must. It cannot exist without a body.

Question: What sort of a body will it grasp then? Bhagavan: Either a physical body or a subtle-mental body.

Question: Do you call this present physical body the gross body? Bhagavan: Only to distinguish it-to set it apart in conversation. It is really a subtle-mental body also.

Subtle/Casual bodies also must have subtle/casual brains
Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: ccpoax on March 06, 2008, 12:31:27 AM
Well.... It seem to me that the very important issue on your question is the WHY are you interested on it. What makes you, deep inside you, to be worried about it....? It does not matter whether hell or heaven really exist, but seems to me the important issue here is why are you worried about it...? What would be your reaction if you assume there is no heaven, nor hell...? And would be your reaction of you assume, believe, there is hell and heaven....? Why is it important....?
Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: rajan on March 11, 2008, 08:58:50 AM
Hi ccpoax

The existence of heaven and hell is a core point in nearly all religious beliefs. However, understandably, their existence cannot be proved or disproved empirically. Of course, one can choose to accept whatever has  been laid down by the elders. But going against the grain of norm will open up new vistas of knowledge, be it in the spiritual or material spheres. Hence my question.
Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: UMESH PRASAD on March 17, 2008, 06:41:38 PM
 Dear Rajan,

As long as we do not see or experience heven or hell we should not beleive in them.But certainly we exist & therefore we must try to abide in the pure awareness. Seeking  to know hell or heven would dilute our effort towards knowing our true nature.

Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: rajan on March 26, 2008, 06:08:45 PM
Thank you all for the enlightening views and quotes from Bhagawan.
Let's assume a dreadful tyrant like Hitler dies and his soul is relegated to hell to suffer for the misdeeds. Eventually when  the soul is reincarnated will the new self have to undergo suffering again?
Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: Subramanian.R on May 24, 2008, 01:42:17 PM
As Bhagavan said on several occasions, the heaven and the hell
are only in the mind, as this "jagat" (world) is in the mind.  Still,
if you want to know, when the body is lost, how can one feel
the pleasure of heaven and pain of hell, the puranic answer is
the mind and prana, which go out together, takes up a 'Yadana
sarira" only to feel the pleasure and pain of the heaven and hell.
I think you can stop with this answer and come back to Bhagavan's
advice of keeping the Real within you and shedding all the unreal.
Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: SANKAR on July 17, 2008, 05:47:07 AM


Title: Re: Is heaven and hell real?
Post by: Subramanian.R on July 17, 2008, 04:15:30 PM
Dear rajan, sonagiri and others,  the concept of hell and heaven is
there in all religious beliefs.  It is only for those who believe in such
things.  It is the mind, which causes, happiness, sorrow, pleasure,
pain, good and evil.  When the mind and breath leave the body, they
also carry the latencies, vasanas, and it is the vasanas that cause a
reibirth.  If the mind is killed, there are no vasanas, there are no dyads and triads, no birth becuase one then merges in the Self and it is just is.
Talking about Hitler, it is again a fevered imagination, to think as to
what could have happened to him!  Perhaps this mental exercise
will  result in thinking that he must have a suffered in hell, with his
vasanas and a "yadana sarira', after which he must have been born as
an AIDS virus, a shark, a poisonous serpent, a ferocious tiger or as
Saddam Hussein or George Bush!    Arunachala Siva.