Is there a heaven?
But don’t expect the likes of Kareena Kapoor or Sunny Leone to perform item dances there. For, the Apsaras – Rambha, Urvashi, Menaka and Tillotama – do not know cinematic dances. They are well-versed only in classical dances.
So, if you prefer item dance, a Hindu heaven is not a suitable place for you.
If you are an alcoholic, well, a Hindu heaven is flooded with “Sura” (alcohol). Again, don’t except today’s branded ones or Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL).
For females also there are lots of fun. There are handsome males (Gandharvas). They could be your six-pack muscle Gigolos.
Girls, if you need modern chunks who show the brand name of the innerwear outside the buttocks popping out of the extremely low waist pants, then Hindu heaven is not a place for you. For, Gandharvas wear only dhotis in Pancha Kachcham or Vrindavan style or Sovale!
Semitic heavens are mostly for men. Some of those heavens promise 72 virgin girls to serve each man. They are like robots created only for the purpose of fulfilling men’s desire. The deal doesn’t end there. Those girls will still be intact virgins even next day morning!
But there is no much scope for a female in those heavens.
The heaven description doesn’t say anything about females getting 72 virgin boys. At the best a female would get entry only if she lives her earthy life as per whims and fancies of men. What a gender bias!
Heaven and hell came into being during the time of Puranic stories in Indian sub-continent and later in the Holy books in all other religions. Billions of people might have reached the heaven by now.
Millions of crusaders might have migrated to heaven by great deeds like Holy Cross War. Millions who waged Jihadi War against Kafirs might also be in the heaven. Those who participated in the wars of certain Hindu Kings may also have gone to heaven.
There were few thousand religions; hence there should be few thousand heavens up above the sky.
Going by elementary math, there should be trillions in the heaven! Wow! Can’t imagine such a huge populous place above the sky! I wonder what measures are taken for population control there?
Is it a planet? Nobody knows. It cannot be found by astronomers and physicists. Because, it can be seen only when you are dead. And dead man doesn’t come back and describe his experiences! (Please do not ask stupid questions like if a dead man has eyes or power of vision.) Don’t say that there is no oxygen above the sky. What does petty science know? Everything is in Holy books. The heavenly Gods will get angry at you if you ask any logical question. And what makes you think that God needs oxygen to breath? They are living up above the sky without air!
During my pre-degree course (today’s plus one and two), my good friend Abdul Gafoor used to tell me: “Uday, you should believe in Allah and follow the path of Islam. Only a good Muslim would reach heaven.”
He was my good friend- a pious boy. And his intention was good. He blindly believed in the Islamic concept of heaven. He cares for me, so he wanted me also to have a great life after death!
“Abdul, I don’t believe in heaven and hell. Astronomers who explored above the sky (though there is no sky) and geologists who drilled inside below earth didn’t find any heaven and hell…”
Yes – the normal reply of any believer came: “Science cannot answer everything….”
“Yes. That doesn’t mean your beliefs are truth….” I replied.
“But Uday, I want you to go to heaven after death, we can live there happily…” Abdul said.
I can understand his kind concern and care for me. So, I fired another salvo which I used to do with blind believers. “Abdul, where did Gandhiji go after death?”
He gave me an angry look and said: “I know you will always have kutharkka (reverse logic)” He cannot say Gandhiji went to heaven – it contradicts with his Holy book’s teaching – only good Muslims can go to heaven. Gandhiji was not even a Muslim.
I had used the same question with a Christian pastor who desperately was trying to sell a ticket to heaven. Gandhiji was not baptized. Hence he is a sinner, according to their beliefs.
So, he wouldn’t get the entry pass to Christian heaven.
However, Christianity has now stopped marketing heaven. It doesn’t sell in modern and developed markets.
By this time you might have got your answer for your question. Heaven and hell are just kiddish concepts.
Once, while discussing on the same subject, a friend of mine, Arpita Mohan, said: “All religions say that there is a heaven…”
“I can analyze only the concepts in Hinduism as I am not an expert in other religions.”
“No. My question was that, if there is no heaven how come all religions have almost same concept of a heaven – a place where you will have all comforts, pleasure and happiness after death,” she asked. According to stories, heaven is where one can enjoy sensual pleasures as he/she wants.
“To enjoy any pleasure you need sensory organs. After your death, there are no sensory organs that work. It gets decayed or burned to ashes. Without any senses, brain and organs how will you enjoy your pleasure and comforts?” Pleasure and pain are the interpretations of the brain based on electric messages passed through the nerves. When those electric impulses go off and nerves die, what messages it will pass?
It’s not only kiddish but also idiotic to think that heaven and hell exists outside your realm of conditioned mind.
“But Hindu Puranas say about Yama and Chitragupta who would send you to heaven or hell.”
“According to our sages, after death, the human body will disintegrate back into panchabootha (Everything in nature is made up of five basic elements or panchabootha: earth, water, fire, air, and space). After death of your body and mind, only the subtle energy (life energy) may exist- it is inert and cannot feel anything. Our ancestors called this life energy as ‘jeevatma’ in Sanskrit.
They said it will dissolve into the whole universal energy (cosmic energy or in Sanskrit Paramatma) when you die. It is so simple an explanation. Not only human beings, all living creatures and non-living matter are the same energy with different forms. So, beyond any doubts it clearly revealed that there is no heaven and hell as told in those stories. Any feeling of pleasure (heaven) or pain (hell) is only with the body. Those are earthly feelings. So why would any sensible God come with the stupid idea of sending the dead man to heaven or hell?”
“But what about all those things said in the Puranas? You only said in many articles that there are facts and truth in Puranas…”
“Yes. But I have not said everything in Puranas is facts. It is a fact plus fiction scriptures. There are exaggerated things in Puranas. Yes, at story level Puranic scriptures tell you about heaven and hell. But those are just, plain stories.”
Even in Puranas, heaven is a state to be avoided. There are many heavens but all of them are temporary states of intense pleasure in which your stay is limited by the degree of good works. You then return to earth to continue the journey. It is a state reachable by everyone regardless of gender, race, creed, caste, religion differences. However, when you go further into Puranas, you will see all scriptures talk about control on your senses. This being the case, how can heaven be treated as a place of having sensual pleasures. This is a total misconception among some sections of the Indian society. This is a misinterpretation of the myths.
– In Bhagavad Gita 2.28, Krishna clearly says, we really do not know what was there before our birth and what will happen after death.
“But, then, why do all Indian Puranas say that those who do papa (sin) will go to hell and those who follow virtue (punya) will go to heaven. It says if you are a devotee of God also, you will go to heaven…” Arpita asked.
“Arpita, you are telling me two different things here. First, you need to define papa and punya. But before that, you should also know that our scriptures are not God’s words or commandments. All Vedic verses were written by great sages. Even sages were found advising the Gods in our Puranas. According to Sanatan Dharma, a person’s punya and papa have nothing to do with God. It is decided by his/her Karma.”
“How will you define Punya then?”
“A Vedic Shanti Mantra (Ashtanga Yoga) says: loka samastha sukhino bhavanthu… It says the world will be like heaven if all creatures live happily. The energy that exists everywhere belongs to the cosmos. There is nothing other than cosmos. We see things in different perspective based upon species reality and conditioning.”
“Okay, point taken. But what’s punya? Can you explain it in a way that today’s generation understands it?”
“Going by the verses, whatever you do to support environment and nature to sustain the ecology to spread happiness to all – it is Punya. Those who kill the nature and environment are doing Papa. In short, if you follow the path of Dharma by doing punya, the world will turn into heaven. If you are greedy and not compassionate towards other creatures and environment you are doing adharma (papa) hence the world will be like hell – that’s what the sages said…”
“Right, that’s logically true too…”
“Our sages didn’t teach us to pray to God to take us to heaven. They taught us in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad to pray, starting with ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah…’ that means: May all become happy, may all be free from illness, may all see what is auspicious, may no one suffer. Let peace prevail. That’s heaven. So follow good karma, the entire world will be in heaven. There is no other solution to be happy. There is nothing called individual happiness. If everyone around you are suffering from pain and you are smiling with happiness, you are definitely a sick person. So, pray for happiness of all. Religions that promote the pipe dream like exclusive heaven only for their supporters won’t teach you this basic truth.”
“So there is no external heaven in Sanatan Dharma…”Arpita asked again.
“Aha – then tell me what’s Swargam?”
“Good question. The word “Swargam” means, “Sugathi ethra bhavathi thatra eva Swargaha” – the state of mind where no sadness, no difficulties etc. exists. Sugathi meaning wellness, good or happy condition. I don’t know if there is any other meaning for the word.”
“Okay. So, heaven and hell are just kiddish dreams of tribal, irrational men.”
“Yes. Having said that, there is a social background for the development of these concepts. The idea of heaven in all religions is introduced by few lustful men (who are engaged in satisfying carnal desires). But few good men in the religions used the idea of heaven in those tribal communities (shepherds and desert dwellers) in order to engage them in good works. It is like offering an ice cream to a child to do some good work.”
“Oh, okay. So those concepts were good for the mankind…”
“Actually it didn’t work that way, though the intention was good. Because the human greed, those concepts were used to empower on others – millions were killed by those religious followers. They created hell in the earth. Still they are trying to convert earth into hell by violence.”
“Hmmm. That’s true. They kill innocent people due to ignorance. Don’t you think the concept of heaven helped lot of people to do good?”
“I don’t know. Even hardcore religious follower wants to extend his life in the earth and refuses to die. Open your eyes, whoever promotes heaven – whether Swamijis, Pope, Priests, Mullas, Imams – will run to a doctor and spend everything to extend few more days of life in this earth. If they believe in heaven why can’t they accept death happily?”
“Hmm…,” Arpita thought for a while and suddenly said: “You are right Uday. The concept of heaven was derived from the fear of death and as a tool to seduce lustful men. There is nothing good in those concepts. I understand that it’s just a superstitious belief.”
“There is a Malayalam couplet: ‘ namukku naame panivathu nakam narakavumathupolea’, meaning we ourselves build the Heaven for us and same with Hell also,” I concluded. And, if you really want to know about the mystery of death, read Kathopanishad.
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