120. Does hell exist?
Years ago (probably twenty-five), somebody casually remarked, “There is no hell, just heaven. God is kind and merciful; therefore, there cannot be a hell”. That remark gnawed on my mind for years. The more I thought, the more I was convinced that there cannot be a hell.
Few years ago, I came across the book; ‘Finding the joy within you, by Sri Daya Mata’ and found this story:
“Master (Swami Yogananda) was once talking to a very dogmatic man. He said to Master, “Do you not belief in hellfire and damnation?”
Guruji replied, “No, except that man creates a Hades right in here and now. He makes out of this world and his own life a heaven or a hell, depending upon his behavior…..”
The man was not convinced and kept on arguing. Master changed the subject. After a few moments Guruji said:
“Isn’t it true that you have a son who is causing you great suffering because he drinks and indulges in bad behavior………”
The man’s jaw dropped “How did you know? Yes this has been the greatest sorrow of my life”
“Then may I make a suggestion”
“Yes”. The man was eager for a solution.
“All right take him out for a walk in the hills, and have two trusted friends waiting there for you. They should pounce upon him and bind him. Then let them build a huge roaring fire. Let them throw your son in the fire”
The man was flabbergasted. “Are you mad to make such a suggestion?”
“Exactly so! Yet you ascribe such behavior to God, who created you and instilled in you that love for your child. How dare you attribute to Him feelings so callous and punitive that He will take all of His children that have done wrong and cast them in eternal flames?”
Swami Ramdas (blog 82-85) writes:
“In one place, a school master came for discussion. The schoolmaster was in favor of Shuddhi movement (reconversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism) while Ramdas was against it, as Ramdas opposed every effort on the part of anybody to create differences in religious faiths. That all faiths lead to the same goal is a most beautiful and convincing truth. At the end the friend exceeded the limits of decent talk.
Next day at the same time, the friend came again. He could scarcely talk, he could only whisper. His throat was choked up.
‘O Maharaj, he exclaimed, falling at the feet of Ramdas, “God has punished your slave for using such rough words to you yesterday…..’
‘O friend, Ramdas is really sorry to hear this, but be assured of this; God never punishes. God is love and is always kind…………the so called evil is of our own making.’
At once, pulling Ramdas’s right hand the friend rubbed the palm on his throat, and strange to say, his throat cleared and he began to talk more clearly and in a few minutes he was alright!
‘Behold Maharaj, how powerful you are!”
‘You make a mistake, dear friend; Ramdas is a poor slave of Ram, possessing no powers at all. Your faith alone has cured you, and nothing else.”