Is hell is real! Is hell real? Do hindus really believe in it? Why would a loving God send people to hell forever? These and other questions about the doctrine of hell may not be pleasant to address, but they often come up as objections to Hinduism, even puzzling hindus at times.
This article will address some key questions related to hell, explore and evaluate some objections to it, look at what the puranas has to say about hell, and touch on how the doctrine relates to the nature of God as well as human nature.
Before delving into the topic, it will help to understand what is meant by the term. Theologically speaking, the doctrine of hell relates to personal eschatology. While eschatology is popularly known in relation to end-times events and various interpretations of the book of Revelation, it also encompasses what may be termed the “final state” of individual souls.
The various hells
There are several hells. Each hell is earmarked for a specific type of sinner. A killer of
Brahmins, a false witness, a liar and a drinker of wine is sent to the hell named
‘Shukara’ hell is meant for thieves and killers of cattle. Killers of Kshatriyas and
Vaishyas are also sent there.
Those who commit infanticide are sent to ‘Taptalouha’—the hell where hot iron
rods are used to beat the sinner.
A person who insults his teacher or criticizes the Vedas goes to the hell known as
Those who insult Gods, Brahmins or kings are sent to ‘Krimibhaksha’.
The hell known as ‘Lalabhaksha’ is reserved for those who eat without offering
food to the Gods.
A Brahmin who eats what he should not goes to ‘Vishasana’.
Sellers of wine are to be found in the hell known as Rudhirandha’, and killers of
bees in the hell called ‘Vaitarani’.
Cheats are sent to ‘Krishna’, and destroyers of trees to ‘Asipatravana’.
A hunter of deer goes to ‘Vahnijvala’; the hell called ‘Agnimaya’ is reserved for
arsonists; and the one known as ‘Sandamsha’ for those who fail to complete a Vrata
(religious fasting; promises; vows; sacraments).
If you accept your son as a teacher, you are sure to go to ‘Shvabhojana’ hell.
The punishment is strictly in proportion to the crime committed. But penance
diminishes the severity of the sin. The best form of penance is prayer to Shiva. Even if
one merely remembers Shiva, that is enough.