Tag Archives: Hell

HELL IS EARTH

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HellAldous Huxley, English novelist (1894 – 1963), Author of “Brave New World”

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Seriously, what if Planet Earth really was nothing more than a “hell” established by another planet, or star system, or intergalactic government?  It would really explain a lot about the state of affairs on Earth.  For example, why are we subjected to continual pain, suffering, death, disease, starvation, chronic war, violence, stupidity, hatred, chaos, greed, earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanoes?  These are just a few of a plethora of pandemic pestilences that plague the population on this planet!  If you read the Top Secret military transcripts published in the book ALIEN INTERVIEW, you will understand that Earth IS Hell, and the the reasons why.

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LIVING BEINGS

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DEAD BEINGS ARE ALIVE

Excerpt from the book 1,001 THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU’RE DEAD, by Lawrence R. Spencer:

“PRETEND YOU ARE SAINT PETER  AT THE PEARLY GATES PASSING JUDGMENT ON PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GET INTO HEAVEN. (See Footnote) [i]

A lot of people die every day. Recent global estimates of deaths are as follow: 53 million people die each year, 146,357 people die each day, 6,098 people die each hour, 102 people die each minute.

Simple arithmetic, based on these figures, makes two things apparent: 1) a lot of people die 2) at this time, a lot more people are being born than dying. In fact, there are 128 million births per year. That’s 353,015 births per day or 14,709 births each hour! The numbers get larger every day.

One good theoretical question to ask is this: if each soul or spirit gets only 1 body per lifetime, (even if every single one was reincarnated) where are all of the extra spirits coming from?

If you read the book ALIEN INTERVIEW, as suggested earlier, the answer to this question is covered there.

PRETEND YOU ARE THE DEVIL AT THE GATES OF HELL COUNTING YOUR NEW RECRUITS.

The Gates of Hell must be a very, very busy place. Think of the paperwork! Historically, killing each other has been the second most popular pastime on Earth. (Apparently, having sex is number one.) In fact, in all of recorded human history there has been only 11 years when a war was NOT being fought somewhere on Earth.

Either way, tons of people arrive at the Gates of Hell for a good reason, i.e. murder. It probably won’t take you long to figure out that Earth IS Hell.

For example, during World War II about 70,000,000 people were killed in only 4 years! Here are a few more statistics concerning man’s favorite sport:

105 Million: Total 20th century war deaths

100 Million: Africans killed by “good” Christian Europeans during the African slave trade

90 Million: Native Americans slaughtered by “good” Christians, i.e. European invaders

60-80 Million: Murdered by Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong and his minions

40 Million: People slain by Genghis Khan and his minions in Asia

30 Million: Slaughtered in the Taiping Rebellion (See Footnote) [ii]

30 Million: Deaths caused by Joseph Stalin and his minions in Purges / Famines in Communist Russia

30 Million: Deaths caused by minions of Mao Tse Tung due to Famines in Communist China

Etc., etc., etc..

This makes your job of handing out punishment for the sins of those arriving at the Gates of Hell pretty easy: tell everyone to go back to Earth and try not to kill so many people next time — including all the other life forms on 1001 THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU'RE DEADthe planet! In fact, dare them not to kill anyone or anything.

This situation raises an odd question: if more than twice as many people are being born each year than are dying, “Where are all the spirits coming from that are creating the global  population boom on Earth?”

Fortunately, as suggested earlier, the Top Secret transcripts published in the book ALIEN INTERVIEW answer this question also.”

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

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FOOTNOTES:

[i] Saint Peter The pearly gates is an informal name for the gateway to the Heaven of Christian belief. It is inspired by the description of the New Jerusalem in Book of Revelation 21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate being made from a single pearl.

The image of the gates in popular culture is a set of large, white or wrought-iron gates in the clouds, guarded by Saint Peter (the keeper of the “keys to the kingdom”); those not fit to enter heaven are denied entrance at the gates, and thus descend into Hell.

[ii] The Taiping Rebellion was a widespread civil war in southern China from 1850 to 1864, led by heterodox Christian convert Hong Xiuquan, against the ruling Qing Dynasty. About 20 million people died, mainly civilians, in one of the deadliest military conflicts in history.

Hong established the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (Chinese: 太平天囯 pinyin: Tàipíng Tiān Guó), officially the “Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace”, with its capital at Nanjing. The Kingdom’s Army controlled large parts of southern China, at its height containing about 30 million people. The rebels attempted social reforms and the replacement of Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion with a form of Christianity. Troops were nicknamed the Long hair (長毛, pinyin: cháng máo).

The Taiping areas were besieged by Qing forces throughout most of the rebellion. The Qing government defeated the rebellion with the eventual aid of French and British forces.

In the 20th century, China’s communist leader Mao Zedong glorified the Taipings as early heroic revolutionaries against a corrupt. More recently, a total rethinking has occurred in China on the destruction that the rebellion had caused to the Chinese nation, plus the dangers of radical religiosity.

LIVING HERE

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prison-planet-hell

“…Earth, inherently, is a highly unstable planet. It is not suitable for settlement or permanent habitation for any sustainable civilization.  This is part of the reason why it is being used as a prison planet.  No one else would seriously consider living here for a variety of simple and compelling reasons:

1) The continental land masses of Earth are floating on a sea of molten lava beneath the surface which causes the land masses to crack, crumble and drift continually. [i] (Footnote)

2) Because of the liquid nature of the core, the planet is largely volcanic and subject to earthquakes and volcanic explosions.

3) The magnetic poles of the planet shift radically about once every 20,000 years. [ii] (Footnote)  This causes a greater or lesser degree of devastation as a result of tidal waves, and climatic changes.

4)  Earth is very distant from the center of the galaxy and from any other significant galactic civilization.  This isolation makes it unsuitable for use, except as a “pit stop” or jumping off point along the way between galaxies.  The moon and asteroids are far more suitable for this purpose because they do not have any significant gravity.

5) Earth is a heavy gravity planet, with heavy metallic soil and a dense atmosphere.  This makes it treacherous for navigational purposes.  That fact that I am in this room, as the result of an in flight accident, in spite of the technology of my craft and my extensive expertise as a pilot, are proof of these facts.”

— Excerpted from the book ALIEN INTERVIEW, edited by Lawrence R. Spencer


ALIEN INTERVIEW AUDIOBOOKFOOTNOTES:

[i]  “The land masses continually crack, crumble and drift.”

Plate tectonics (from Greek τέκτων, tektōn “builder” or “mason”) is a theory of geology that has been developed to explain the observed evidence for large scale motions of the Earth’s lithosphere. The theory encompassed and superseded the older theory of continental drift from the first half of the 20th century and the concept of seafloor spreading developed during the 1960s.

The outermost part of the Earth’s interior is made up of two layers: above is the lithosphere, comprising the crust and the rigid uppermost part of the mantle. Below the lithosphere lies the asthenosphere. Although solid, the asthenosphere has relatively low viscosity and shear strength and can flow like a liquid on geological time scales. The deeper mantle below the asthenosphere is more rigid again. This is, however, not because of cooler temperatures but due to high pressure.

The lithosphere is broken up into what are called tectonic plates — in the case of Earth, there are seven major and many minor plates. The lithospheric plates ride on the asthenosphere. These plates move in relation to one another at one of three types of plate boundaries: convergent or collision boundaries, divergent or spreading boundaries, and transform boundaries. Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation occur along plate boundaries. The lateral movement of the plates is typically at speeds of 5 – 10 centimeters / yr.”

— Reference:  Wikipedia.org

[ii] The magnetic poles of the planet shift radically about once every 20,000 years”.

“The pole shift theory is a hypothesis that the axis of rotation of a planet has not always been at its present-day locations or that the axis will not persist there; in other words, that its physical poles had been or will be shifted. Pole shift theory is almost always discussed in the context of Earth, but other solar system bodies may have experienced axial reorientation during their existences.

Pole shift theories are not to be confused with plate tectonics, the well-accepted geological theory that the Earth’s surface consists of solid plates which shift over a fluid asthenosphere; nor with continental drift, the corollary to plate tectonics which maintains that locations of the continents have moved slowly over the face of the earth, resulting in the gradual emerging and breakup of continents and oceans over hundreds of millions of years.

Pole shift theories are also not to be confused with Geomagnetic reversal, the periodic reversal of the earth’s magnetic field (effectively switching the north and south magnetic poles). Geomagnetic reversal has more acceptance in the scientific community than pole shift theories.”

— Reference:  Wikipedia.org

One more, from “1001 Things To Do While You’re Dead”

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GO TO HELL.

“If you really do go to heaven it might turn out to be really boring. (See Footnote[i])

Who could actually stand to live in a place that is eternally “nice”. Really…. Besides, chances are pretty good that you did enough “bad” stuff during your life on Earth that “they” won’t let you “in” to heaven anyway.

Besides, there may not actually be any heaven.  So, if this turns of to be the situation, then what do you have to lose?  However, if “hell” isn’t a “place” either, then you may have to go searching for it. If the only place you can find is Earth you have arrived. Welcome back, asshole!”

Excerpted from the book “1001 THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU’RE DEAD” by Lawrence R. Spencer


FOOTNOTES:

[i] “Hell” in many religious traditions is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict Hell as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict Hell as an intermediary period between incarnations. Typically these traditions located Hell under the external core of the Earth’s surface and often included entrances to Hell from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations included Heaven, Purgatory, Paradise, Nirvana, Naraka, and Limbo.

Other traditions, which did not conceive of the afterlife as a place of punishment or reward, merely described it as an abode of the dead—a neutral place located under the surface of Earth (for example, see sheol and Hades).

Modern understandings of Hell often depict it abstractly, as a state of loss rather than as fiery torture literally underground, but this view of hell can, in fact, be traced back into the ancient and medieval periods as well

Hell is often portrayed as populated with demons, who torment the damned. Many are ruled by a death god, such as Nergal, Hades, Yama or the

“Hel” (1889) by Johannes Gehrts. The modern English word Hell is derived from Old English hel, helle (about 725 AD to refer to a nether world of the dead) reaching into the Anglo-Saxon pagan period, and ultimately from Proto-Germanic *halja, meaning “one who covers up or hides something”. The word has cognates in related Germanic languages such as Old Frisian helle, hille, Old Saxon hellja, Middle Dutch helle (modern Dutch hel), Old High German helle (Modern German Hölle), Danish, Norwegian and Swedish “helvede”/helvete (hel + Old Norse vitti, “punishment” whence the Icelandic víti “hell”), and Gothic halja. Subsequently, the word was used to transfer a pagan concept to Christian theology and its vocabulary.

The English word hell has been theorized as being derived from Old Norse hel but the cognate does appear in all the other languages and has a Proto-Germanic origin. Among other sources, the Poetic Edda, compiled from earlier traditional sources in the 13th century, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, provide information regarding the beliefs of the Norse pagans, including a being named Hel, who is described as ruling over an underworld location of the same name. This is envisioned as a “misty” place (rather than the fire envisioned by Christianity) where go all women and in addition, some men. Punishment for wrong deeds is not mentioned.

Religion, mythology, and folklore

A vision of Hell from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Illustration by Gustave Doré.

Hell appears in several mythologies and religions. It is commonly inhabited by demons and the souls of dead people. Hell is often depicted in art and literature, perhaps most famously in Dante‘s Divine Comedy.

Punishments

Punishment in Hell typically corresponds to sins committed during life. Sometimes these distinctions are specific, with damned souls suffering for each sin committed (see for example Plato’s myth of Er or Dante’s The Divine Comedy), and sometimes they are general, with sinners being relegated to one or more chamber of Hell or level of suffering.

In many religious cultures, including Christianity and Islam, Hell is traditionally depicted as fiery and painful, inflicting guilt and suffering. Despite these common depictions of Hell as a place of fire, some other traditions also portray Hell as cold. In Buddhist, and particularly in Tibetan Buddhist, descriptions of hell, there are an equal number of hot and cold hells. Among Christian descriptions Dante‘s Inferno portrays the innermost (9th) circle of Hell as a frozen lake of blood and guilt, But cold also played a part in earlier Christian depictions of hell beginning with the Apocalypse of Paul, originally from the early third century; “The Vision of Drythelm” by the Venerable Bede from the seventh century; “St Patrick’s Purgatory”, “The Vision of Tundale” or “Visio Tnugdali”, and the “Vision of the Monk of Enysham”, all from the twelfth century; and the “Vision of Thurkill” from the early thirteenth century.

Ancient Egypt

With the rise of the cult of Osiris during the Middle Kingdom the “democratization of religion” offered to even his humblest followers the prospect of eternal life, with moral fitness becoming the dominant factor in determining a person’s suitability. At death a person faced judgment by a tribunal of forty-two divine judges. If they led a life in conformance with the precepts of the Goddess Maat, who represented truth and right living, the person was welcomed into the Two Fields. If found guilty the person was thrown to a “devourer” and didn’t share in eternal life. The person who is taken by the devourer is subject first to terrifying punishment and then annihilated. These depictions of punishment may have influenced medieval perceptions of the inferno in hell via early Christian and Coptic texts.  Purification for those who are considered justified may be found in the descriptions of “Flame Island”, where they experience the triumph over evil and rebirth. For the dammed complete destruction into a state of non being awaits but there is no suggestion of eternal torture; the weighing of the heart in Egyptian Mythology can lead to annihilation. Divine pardon at judgment was always a central concern for the Ancient Egyptians.

Our undertsanding of Egyptian notions of hell are based on six ancient texts: The Book of Two Ways (Book of the Ways of Rosetau), The Book of Amduat (Book of the Hidden Room, Book of That Which Is in the Underworld), The Book of Gates, The Book of the Dead (Book of Going Forth by Day), The Book of the Earth and The Book of Caverns.

Ancient Near East

The cultures of Mesopotamia (including Sumeria, the Akkadian Empire, Babylonia and Assyria), the Hittites and the Canaanites or Ugarits reveal some of the earliest evidence for the notion of a Netherworld or Underworld. From among the few texts that survive from these civilizations, this evidence appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the “Descent of Inanna to the Netherworld,” “Baal and the Underworld,” the “Descent of Ishtar” and the “Vision of Kummâ.”[15]

Greek

In classic Greek mythology, below Heaven, Earth, and Pontus is Tartarus, or Tartaros (Greek Τάρταρος, deep place). It is either a deep, gloomy place, a pit or abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering that resides within Hades (the entire underworld) with Tartarus being the hellish component. In the Gorgias, Plato (c. 400 BC) wrote that souls were judged after death and those who received punishment were sent to Tartarus. As a place of punishment, it can be considered a hell. The classic Hades, on the other hand, is more similar to Old Testament Sheol.

Europe

The hells of Europe include Breton Mythology’s “Anaon”, Celtic Mythology‘s “Uffern”, Slavic mythology‘s “Peklo”, the hell of Lapps Mythology and Ugarian Mythology’s “Manala” that leads to annihilation.

Asia

The hells of Asia include Bagobo Mythology’s “Gimokodan” and Ancient Indian Mythology‘s “Kalichi”.

Africa

African hells include Haida Mythology’s “Hetgwauge” and the hell of Swahili Mythology (kuzimu).

Oceania

The Oceanic hells include Samoan Mythology’s “O le nu’u-o-nonoa” and the hells of Bangka Mythology and Caroline Islands Mythology.

Native American

The hells of the Americas include Aztec Mythology‘s “Mictlan”, Inuit mythology‘s “Adlivun” and Yanomamo Mythology’s “Shobari Waka”. In Maya mythology , Xibalbá is the dangerous underworld of nine levels ruled by the demons Vucub Caquix and Hun Came. The road into and out of it is said to be steep, thorny and very forbidding. Metnal is the lowest and most horrible of the nine Hells of the underworld, ruled by Ah Puch. Ritual healers would intone healing prayers banishing diseases to Metnal. Much of the Popol Vuh describes the adventures of the Maya Hero Twins in their cunning struggle with the evil lords of Xibalbá.

The Aztecs believed that the dead traveled to Mictlan, a neutral place found far to the north. There was also a legend of a place of white flowers, which was always dark, and was home to the gods of death, particularly Mictlantecutli and his spouse Mictlantecihuatl, which means literally “lords of Mictlan”. The journey to Mictlan took four years, and the travelers had to overcome difficult tests, such as passing a mountain range where the mountains crashed into each other, a field where the wind carried flesh-scraping knives, and a river of blood with fearsome jaguars.

Judaism

Daniel 12:2 proclaims “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Judaism does not have a specific doctrine about the afterlife, but it does have a mystical/Orthodox tradition of describing Gehenna. Gehenna is not Hell, but rather a sort of Purgatory where one is judged based on his or her life’s deeds, or rather, where one becomes fully aware of one’s own shortcomings and negative actions during one’s life. The Kabbalah explains it as a “waiting room” (commonly translated as an “entry way”) for all souls (not just the wicked). The overwhelming majority of rabbinic thought maintains that people are not in Gehenna forever; the longest that one can be there is said to be 12 months, however there has been the occasional noted exception. Some consider it a spiritual forge where the soul is purified for its eventual ascent to Olam Habah (heb. עולם הבא; lit. “The world to come”, often viewed as analogous to Heaven). This is also mentioned in the Kabbalah, where the soul is described as breaking, like the flame of a candle lighting another: the part of the soul that ascends being pure and the “unfinished” piece being reborn.

According to Jewish teachings, hell is not entirely physical; rather, it can be compared to a very intense feeling of shame. People are ashamed of their misdeeds and this constitutes suffering which makes up for the bad deeds. When one has so deviated from the will of God, one is said to be in gehinom. This is not meant to refer to some point in the future, but to the very present moment. The gates of teshuva (return) are said to be always open, and so one can align his will with that of God at any moment. Being out of alignment with God’s will is itself a punishment according to the Torah.

Christianity

Gehenna“, Valley of Hinnom, 2007

The Christian doctrine of hell derives from the teaching of the New Testament, where hell is typically described using the Greek words Tartarus or Hades or the Arabic word Gehenna.

These three terms have different meanings and must be recognized.

Hades has similarities to the Old Testament term, Sheol as “the place of the dead”. Thus, it is used in reference to both the righteous and the wicked, since both wind up there eventually.

Gehenna refers to the “Valley of Hinnon”, which was a garbage dump outside of Jerusalem. It was a place where people burned their garbage and thus there was always a fire burning there. Bodies of those deemed to have died in sin without hope of salvation (such as people who committed suicide) were thrown there to be destroyed. Gehenna is used in the New Testament as a metaphor for the final place of punishment for the wicked after the resurrection.

Tartaro (the verb “throw to Tartarus“) occurs only once in the New Testament in II Peter 2:4, where it is parallel to the use of the noun form in Enoch as the place of incarceration of 200 fallen angels. It mentions nothing about human souls being sent there in the afterlife.

In many Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, most Protestant churches (such as the Baptists, Episcopalians, etc.), and some Greek Orthodox churches, Hell is taught as the final destiny of those who have not been found worthy after they have passed through the great white throne of judgment, where they will be punished for sin and permanently separated from God after the general resurrection and last judgment. The nature of this judgment is inconsistent, with many Protestant churches teaching the saving comes from accepting Jesus Christ as their savior, while the Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches teach that the judgment hinges on both faith and works. However, many Liberal Christians throughout Liberal Protestant, Anglican, Catholic and some Orthodox churches believe in Universal Reconciliation (see below) even though it might contradict the “official” teachings of their denomination.

Some Christian theologians of the early Church and some of the modern Church subscribe to the doctrines of Conditional Immortality. Conditional Immortality is the belief that the soul dies with the body and does not live again until the resurrection. This is the view held by Orthodox Jews and a few Christian sects, such as the Living Church of God, The Church of God International, and Seventh Day Adventist Church. Annihilationism is the belief that the soul is mortal unless granted eternal life, making it possible to be destroyed in Hell.

Jehovah’s Witnesses hold that the soul ceases to exist when the person dies and therefore that Hell (Sheol or Hades) is a state of non-existence. In their theology, Gehenna differs from Sheol or Hades in that it holds no hope of a resurrection. Tatarus is held to be the metaphorical state of debasement of the fallen angels between the time of their moral fall (Genesis chapter 6) until their post-millennial destruction along with Satan (Revelation chapter 20).

Universal Reconciliation is the belief that all human souls (and even Demons) will be eventually reconciled with God and admitted to Heaven. This view is held by some Unitarian-Universalists.

Islam

Muslims believe in jahannam (in Arabic: جهنم) (which is related to the Hebrew word gehinnom and resembles the versions of Hell in Christianity). In the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, there are literal descriptions of the condemned in a fiery Hell, as contrasted to the garden-like Paradise (jannah) enjoyed by righteous believers.

In addition, Heaven and Hell are split into many different levels depending on the actions perpetrated in life, where punishment is given depending on the level of evil done in life, and good is separated into other levels depending on how well one followed God while alive. The gate of Hell is guarded by Maalik who is the leader of the angels assigned as the guards of hell also known as Zabaaniyah. The Quran states that the fuel of Hellfire is rocks/stones (idols) and human beings.

Although generally Hell is often portrayed as a hot steaming and tormenting place for sinners, there is one Hell pit which is characterized differently from the other Hell in Islamic tradition. Zamhareer is seen as the coldest and the most freezing Hell of all; yet its coldness is not seen as a pleasure or a relief to the sinners who committed crimes against God. The state of the Hell of Zamhareer is a suffering of extreme coldness, of blizzards, ice, and snow which no one on this earth can bear. The lowest pit of all existing Hells is the Hawiyah which is meant for the hypocrites and two-faced people who claimed to believe in Allah and His messenger by the tongue but denounced both in their hearts. Hypocrisy is considered to be one of the most dangerous sins, and so is Shirk.

Bahá’í Faith

The Bahá’í Faith regards the conventional description of Hell (and heaven) as a specific place as symbolic. Instead the Bahá’í writings describe Hell as a “spiritual condition” where remoteness from God is defined as Hell; conversely heaven is seen as a state of closeness to God.

Eastern

In “Devaduta Sutta” the 130 th discource of Majjhima Nikaya Buddha teaches about the hell in vivid detail. Buddhism teaches that there are five (sometimes six) realms of rebirth, which can then be further subdivided into degrees of agony or pleasure. Of these realms, the hell realms, or Naraka, is the lowest realm of rebirth. Of the hell realms, the worst is Avīci or “endless suffering”. The Buddha’s disciple, Devadatta, who tried to kill the Buddha on three occasions, as well as create a schism in the monastic order, is said to have been reborn in the Avici Hell.

However, like all realms of rebirth, rebirth in the Hell realms is not permanent, though suffering can persist for eons before being reborn again. In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha teaches that eventually even Devadatta will become a Pratyekabuddha himself, emphasizing the temporary nature of the Hell realms. Thus, Buddhism teaches to escape the endless migration of rebirths (both positive and negative) through the attainment of Nirvana.

The Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha, according to the Ksitigarbha Sutra, made a great vow as a young girl to not reach Enlightenment until all beings were liberated from the Hell Realms or other unwholesome rebirths. In popular literature, Ksitigarbha travels to the Hell realms to teach and relieve beings of their suffering.

Yama’s Court and Hell. The Blue figure is Yamaraja (The Hindu god of death) with his consort Yami and Chitragupta
17th century Painting from Government Museum, Chennai.

Early Vedic religion doesn’t have a concept of Hell. Ṛg-veda mentions three realms, bhūr (the earth), svar (the sky) and bhuvas or antarikṣa (the middle area, i.e. air or atmosphere)). In later Hindu literature, especially the law books and Puranas, more realms are mentioned, including a realm similar to Hell, called naraka (in Devanāgarī: नरक).Yama as first born human (together with his twin sister Yamī) in virtue of precedence becomes ruler of men and a judge on their departure. Originally he resides in Heaven, but later, especially medieval traditions, mention his court in naraka.

In the law-books (smṛtis and dharma-sūtras, like the Manu-smṛti) naraka is a place of punishment for sins. It is a lower spiritual plane (called naraka-loka) where the spirit is judged, or partial fruits of karma affected in a next life. In Mahabharata there is a mention of the Pandavas going to Heaven and the Kauravas going to Hell. However for the small number of sins which they did commit in their lives, the Pandavas had to undergo hell for a short time. Hells are also described in various Puranas and other scriptures. Garuda Purana gives a detailed account of Hell, its features and enlists amount of punishment for most of the crimes like a modern day penal code.

It is believed that people who commit sins go to Hell and have to go through punishments in accordance with the sins they committed. The god Yamarāja, who is also the god of death, presides over Hell. Detailed accounts of all the sins committed by an individual are kept by Chitragupta, who is the record keeper in Yama’s court. Chitragupta reads out the sins committed and Yama orders appropriate punishments to be given to individuals. These punishments include dipping in boiling oil, burning in fire, torture using various weapons, etc. in various Hells. Individuals who finish their quota of the punishments are reborn in accordance with their balance of karma. All created beings are imperfect and thus have at least one sin to their record; but if one has generally led a pious life, one ascends to svarga, a temporary realm of enjoinment similar to Paradise, after a brief period of expiation in Hell and before the next reincarnation according to the law of karma.

17th century cloth painting depicting seven levels of Jain hell and various tortures suffered in them. Left panel depicts the demi-god and his animal vehicle presiding over the each hell.

In Jain cosmology, Naraka (translated as hell) is the name given to realm of existence having great suffering. However, a Naraka differs from the hells of Abrahamic religions as souls are not sent to Naraka as the result of a divine judgment and punishment. Furthermore, length of a being’s stay in a Naraka is not eternal, though it is usually very long—measured in billions of years. A soul is born into a Naraka as a direct result of his or her previous karma (actions of body, speech and mind), and resides there for a finite length of time until his karma has achieved its full result. After his karma is used up, he may be reborn in one of the higher worlds as the result of an earlier karma that had not yet ripened.

The hells are situated in the seven grounds at the lower part of the universe. The seven grounds are:

Ratna prabha

Sharkara prabha.

Valuka prabha.

Panka prabha.

Dhuma prabha.

Tamaha prabha.

Mahatamaha prabha.

The hellish beings are a type of souls which are residing in these various hells. They are born in hells by sudden manifestation. The hellish beings possess vaikriya body (protean body which can transform itself and take various forms). They have a fixed life span (ranging from ten thousand to billions of years) in the respective hells where they reside. According to Jain scripture, Tattvarthasutra, following are the causes for birth in hell:

Killing or causing pain with intense passion.

Excessive attachment to things and worldly pleasure with constantly indulging in cruel and violent acts.

Vowless and unrestrained life.

Ancient Taoism had no concept of Hell, as morality was seen to be a man-made distinction and there was no concept of an immaterial soul. In its home country China, where Taoism adopted tenets of other religions, popular belief endows Taoist Hell with many deities and spirits who punish sin in a variety of horrible ways. This is also considered Karma for Taoism.

A Chinese glazed earthenware sculpture of “Hell’s torturer,” 16th century, Ming Dynasty

Diyu (simplified Chinese: 地狱; traditional Chinese: 地獄; pinyin: Dìyù; Wade–Giles: Ti-yü; literally “earth prison”) is the realm of the dead in Chinese mythology. It is very loosely based upon the Buddhist concept of Naraka combined with traditional Chinese afterlife beliefs and a variety of popular expansions and re-interpretations of these two traditions. Ruled by Yanluo Wang, the King of Hell, Diyu is a maze of underground levels and chambers where souls are taken to atone for their earthly sins.

Incorporating ideas from Taoism and Buddhism as well as traditional Chinese folk religion, Diyu is a kind of purgatory place which serves not only to punish but also to renew spirits ready for their next incarnation. There are many deities associated with the place, whose names and purposes are the subject of much conflicting information.

The exact number of levels in Chinese Hell – and their associated deities – differs according to the Buddhist or Taoist perception. Some speak of three to four ‘Courts’, other as many as ten. The ten judges are also known as the 10 Kings of Yama. Each Court deals with a different aspect of atonement. For example, murder is punished in one Court, adultery in another. According to some Chinese legends, there are eighteen levels in Hell. Punishment also varies according to belief, but most legends speak of highly imaginative chambers where wrong-doers are sawn in half, beheaded, thrown into pits of filth or forced to climb trees adorned with sharp blades.

However, most legends agree that once a soul (usually referred to as a ‘ghost’) has atoned for their deeds and repented, he or she is given the Drink of Forgetfulness by Meng Po and sent back into the world to be reborn, possibly as an animal or a poor or sick person, for further punishment.

Zoroastrianism has historically suggested several possible fates for the wicked, including annihilation, purgation in molten metal, and eternal punishment, all of which have standing in Zoroaster’s writings.Zoroastrian eschatology includes the belief that wicked souls will remain in hell until, following the arrival of three saviors at thousand-year intervals, Ahura Mazda reconciles the world, destroying evil and resurrecting tormented souls to perfection.

The sacred Gathas mention a “House of the Lie″ for those “that are of an evil dominion, of evil deeds, evil words, evil Self, and evil thought, Liars.” However, the best-known Zoroastrian text to describe hell in detail is the Book of Arda Viraf. It depicts particular punishments for particular sins—for instance, being trampled by cattle as punishment for neglecting the needs of work animals. Other descriptions can be found in the Book of Scriptures (Hadhokht Nask), Religious Judgments (Dadestan-i Denig) and the Book of the Judgments of the Spirit of Wisdom (Mainyo-I-Khard).

Literature

Dante And Virgil In Hell” (1850) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

In his Divina commedia (“Divine comedy”; set in the year 1300), Dante Alighieri employed the concept of taking Virgil as his guide through Inferno (and then, in the second canticle, up the mountain of Purgatorio). Virgil himself is not condemned to Hell in Dante’s poem but is rather, as a virtuous pagan, confined to Limbo just at the edge of Hell. The geography of Hell is very elaborately laid out in this work, with nine concentric rings leading deeper into the Earth and deeper into the various punishments of Hell, until, at the center of the world, Dante finds Satan himself trapped in the frozen lake of Cocytus. A small tunnel leads past Satan and out to the other side of the world, at the base of the Mount of Purgatory.

John Milton‘s Paradise Lost (1667) opens with the fallen angels, including their leader Satan, waking up in Hell after having been defeated in the war in heaven and the action returns there at several points throughout the poem. Milton portrays Hell as the abode of the demons, and the passive prison from which they plot their revenge upon Heaven through the corruption of the human race. 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud alluded to the concept as well in the title and themes of one of his major works, A Season In Hell. Rimbaud’s poetry portrays his own suffering in a poetic form as well as other themes.

Many of the great epics of European literature include episodes that occur in Hell. In the Roman poet Virgil‘s Latin epic, the Aeneid, Aeneas descends into Dis (the underworld) to visit his father’s spirit. The underworld is only vaguely described, with one unexplored path leading to the punishments of Tartarus, while the other leads through Erebus and the Elysian Fields.

The idea of Hell was highly influential to writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre who authored the 1944 play “No Exit” about the idea that “Hell is other people”. Although not a religious man, Sartre was fascinated by his interpretation of a Hellish state of suffering. C.S. Lewis‘s The Great Divorce 1945) borrows its title from William Blake‘s Marriage of Heaven and Hell(1793) and its inspiration from the Divine Comedy as the narrator is likewise guided through Hell and Heaven. Hell is portrayed here as an endless, desolate twilight city upon which night is imperceptibly sinking. The night is actually the Apocalypse, and it heralds the arrival of the demons after their judgment. Before the night comes, anyone can escape Hell if they leave behind their former selves and accept Heaven’s offer, and a journey to Heaven reveals that Hell is infinitely small; it is nothing more or less than what happens to a soul that turns away from God and into itself.

Piers Anthony in his series Incarnations of Immortality portrays examples of Heaven and Hell via Death, Fate, Nature, War, Time, Good-God, and Evil-Devil. Robert A. Heinlein offers a yin-yang version of Hell where there is still some good within; most evident in his book Job: A Comedy of Justice. Lois McMaster Bujold uses her five Gods ‘Father, Mother, Son, Daughter and Bastard’ in The Curse of Chalion with an example of Hell as formless chaos. Michael Moorcock is one of many who offer Chaos-Evil-(Hell) and Uniformity-Good-(Heaven) as equally unacceptable extremes which must be held in balance; in particular in the Elric and Eternal Champion series.Fredric Brown wrote a number of fantasy short stories about Satan’s activities in Hell. Cartoonist Jimmy Hatlo created a series of cartoons about life in Hell called The Hatlo Inferno, which ran from 1953 to 1958.

Biblical words translated as “Hell”:

Abaddon

The Hebrew word Abaddon, meaning “destruction”, is sometimes used as a synonym of Hell.

Gehenna

In the New Testament, both early (i.e. the KJV) and modern translations often translate Gehenna as “Hell.” Young’s Literal Translation is one notable exception, simply using “Gehenna”, which was in fact a geographic location just outside Jerusalem (the Valley of Hinnom).

Hades

Hades is the Greek word traditionally used for the Hebrew word Sheol in such works as the Septuagint, the Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible. Like other first-century Jews literate in Greek, Christian writers of the New Testament followed this use. While earlier translations most often translated Hades as “hell”, as does the King James Version, modern translations use the transliteration “Hades”, or render the word as allusions “to the grave”, “among the dead”, “place of the dead” and many other like statements in other verses. In Latin, Hades could be translated as Purgatorium (Purgatory in English use) after about 1200 A.D., but no modern English translations Hades to Purgatory

Infernus

The Latin word infernus means “being underneath” and is often translated as “Hell”.

Sheol

In the King James Bible, the Old Testament term Sheol is translated as “Hell” 31 times. However, Sheol was translated as “the grave” 31 other times. Sheol is also translated as “the pit” three times.

Modern translations, however, do not translate Sheol as “Hell” at all, instead rendering it “the grave,” “the pit,” or “death.” See Intermediate state‎.

Tartarus

Appearing only in II Peter 2:4 in the New Testament, both early and modern translations often translate Tartarus as “Hell.” Again, Young’s Literal Translation is an exception, using “Tartarus”.