Do Heaven and Hell Exist?
Sanatana Dharma recognizes
that the soul or reincarnating consciousness is one with the Divine
and Eternal Reality. The soul is immortal and by its very nature
ever blissful, free and happy. However, veiled by ignorance, it
falls into darkness and confusion and through misconceptions about
the nature of Reality makes various mistakes about life which lead
to suffering in different incarnations.
Souls by their karma, the
power of their own actions, create their own destiny, which leads to
various happy or unhappy states of existence. A very happy state
could be called heaven and a very unhappy state, hell. Yet there is
no eternal or absolute heaven or hell. Any embodied state being
bound by time must be transient and come to an end after a certain
period of time. Nor does any realm contain such extremes of pleasure
and pain that the ordinary idea of heaven and hell portrays. All
embodied states must bring some degree of both pleasure and pain,
joy and sorrow.
Moreover an unlimited result
cannot arise from a limited action, any more than a limited seed can
produce an unlimited plant. Therefore an unlimited or eternal heaven
or hell can never result from limited creaturely actions, such as
occur in an ordinary human life, which must lead to repeated
incarnations, not to any final heaven or hell.