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Gateway to Hell

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Gateway to Hell
Geetaa   Chapter 16

In the Bhagawad Geetaa, the Lord has elaborated on both the good and bad qualities. Through Arjun, the Lord exhorts us to cultivate good qualities and habts and to shun all bad qualities and habits. In the 16th chapter, the first three verses list the divine virtues, and from the fourth verse onwards, we find a list of six negative qualities, as well as an elaborate description of people, detailing on how they think, feel, speak, and act. Demonic qualities help to strengthen the bondage of ignorance. Says the Lord-----
"Non-violence (in thoughts, word, and deed), truthfulness, absence of anger, detachment, serenity, aversion to slander, compassion to beings, freedom from greed, gentleness, revulsion to unrighteous acts, absence of fickleness, courage, patience and forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred (contempt) and jealousy, and humility; these are the good qualities, O Bharat, to be found in the one born with divine gifts."

"Ostentation, arrogance, insolence, wrath and ignorance -- these are the works, O Paarth, of the one born with a devilish heritage. The divine heritage leads to Liberation and the devilish to bondage. Be not anxious, O Paandav, for thou art born with Divine heritage."

Now the question arises, what happens to the people of Demonic qualities?
In the 19th and 20th verses, Lord Krishn says that He will throw them into this world of (coming and going, birth and death) again and again and they will fall in lower and lower Yoni (species). Swaamee Chinmayaanand used to say, "We are not punished "for" our sins, but we are punished "by" our sins." In a court of law a judge passes a sentence on the culprit. If we think calmly, we will understand that the culprit committed an act that invited such a result. That particular person is punished by his own action. If we protect the law, the law protects us, but if we break the law, the law will break us. Then ultimately, who is responsible? We are.

So when the Lord says that He "will throw people into "Sansaar", who is this "I"? The Lord is the Law Giver, He creates the entire world, and the Laws are His. If there is a law, we have to follow it. The fruits of actions "Karm Phal" will be determined by the kind of actions we perform. That is the Law of Karm. It is not without redemption; it is not an eternal hell or heaven.

In the Geetaa, the Lord says that these are the laws, and they operate, whether we like them or not. If we are wise, we will abandon the sinful actions and redeem ourselves. If we try to purify our minds and lift ourselves from the state of ignorance, we can break the cycle of life and death. The Lord has elaborated on both the good qualities and the bad. Among the bad qualities are :--

1. Causing injury to others (either through words, deeds or thought). (हिंसा)
2. Anger (Krodh )
3. Talking ill about a person behind his back. (Chuglee Karanaa )
4. Craving for excessive sense pleasures (Vaasanaa )
5. Mental restlessness. (Ashaanti)
6. Betrayal (Dhokhaa)
7. Arrogance and excessive pride (Mad and Matsar )
8. Hypocrisy (Dambh)
9. Arrogance ()
10. Self-concept (Ego)
11. Harsh or sarcastic speech (taunting) and
12. Ignorance (A-Gyaan)

The above-mentioned 12 vices strengthen our bondage to this world. It is left to each one of ourselves to conduct a self-audit of our own self with a view to know whether we stand any chance of attaining liberation or whether we are bound. After the Lord had enumerated these qualities, Lord Krishn noticed Arjun's anxiety to know as to which of these categories he belonged to, as it is very difficult to evaluate oneself objectively. The Lord immediately reassured Arjun that he need not to be anxious about it for he was born into an honorable family with noble traits and virtues. Arjun directly approached Lord Krishn for the Supreme Knowledge and this in itself signified his nobility. We may also be worried about our status.

Of all the bad qualities, the Lord says that there are three negativities in us that are bound to take us to Hell. We have many ideas about Hell. One idea about hell is that it is experienced only after death; others conveniently believe that there is no such thing as hell. Once a man came to Swaamee Chinmayanandaji and fell at his feet crying, "Please save me from going to hell." Swaameeji said, "Do not worry, you will not go to hell." The man replied - "How can you say that? All our scriptures say that if we commit sins, we will go to hell and I have committed many sins". Swaameeji said ,"You will not go to hell because you are already in it, but there is a way of getting out of it." When we have committed many sins of commission and omission, and when we have failed to perform right actions our mind is continually troubled. The actions performed hitherto are responsible for the present sorrow. This is living in hell. We live in perpetual regret and afflictions. Heaven is a place of joy where there is happiness, and hell is its opposite. Now let us take a look at verse 21 of chapter 16 of Geetaa, which describes the three gateways to hell ;-
"Lust, wrath (anger) and greed, these are the gateways of hell, destructive of the Self. Therefore, one should abandon these three."

So what is this hell? Hell is nothing but the destroying of one's own Self; it is one's own perdition (ruin). This does not mean killing ourselves physically. These gates to destruction signify that through negative tendencies, one shatters one's own dignity, happiness, peace, understanding, and the ability to reach a higher goal. Is this not true of some of us at least?


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 3/9/02
Modified on 04/02/11