Every man and woman, irrespective of the religion they follow, seems to be quite fascinated and intrigued by the concepts of hell and heaven. Though all religions might differ from each other in what they preach, but strangely, most religions believe in the concept of Hell and Heaven and even after-life.
Here are some popular religions and their concepts of Hell.
According to Christians, people who commit sins will face eternal pain and suffering in hell
The Christian concept of Hell is believed to be a mix of the Greek’s concept of Hades, a place where there are eternal suffering and the Jewish concept of Gehenna, a place where there is eternal burning.
Many philosophers believe that works like Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante’s Inferno are responsible the graphic idea of Hell that we have in our minds today.
Punishments include liver being eaten by a Vulture or unable to eat the fruit just above one’s head or forced to push a rock up a hill only to have it roll back again for eternity.
Greeks were one of the first people who believed in the so-called concept of Hell. The Greek hell is called Hades after the ruler who rules over the place.
According to the Jews, this is more of a place where the cleansing of the soul takes place than punishments
It is significant to note that some Jews also believe in the existence of a mythical place called Sheol, but you can treat this place as more of a pit stop that anything else.
It is believed that all Jews after their death are supposed to go to this dark and gloomy place before making way to Heaven.
For them, the eternal pain and suffering lie in the fact that one cannot escape the eternal circle of life and death.
Buddhism differs greatly from other religions in their concept of Hell and Heaven. Rather, they believe that these concepts are psychological. Interestingly, they do believe in the after-life.
They believe in the concept of Nirvana, where one becomes free from the cycle of death and rebirth. Well, at the same time, it is interesting to note that some Buddhists do believe in the physical existence of hell.
After they die, they are supposed to walk on a bridge and if one is not righteous, it turns on its side and they fall off the bridge into hell.
These people believe in something called the Chinvat Bridge or the bridge of separation. For the righteous, it broadens and leads to a beautiful maiden. And that’s not all the ancient God Mithra is also there with a scale which balances your good deeds and evil deeds.
But luckily, the suffering is not eternal and one can leave the place after his/her soul is purified.
One is made to wear garments of fire and is lashed with rods of iron, and if they try to escape, they are dragged back and told to taste the torment of the conflagration.
Muslims believe in the concept of Jannat and Jahanum. The sinners are subjected to extreme torture and punishment. Well, I guess it gives you enough reasons to stay away sin and evil.
Well, I guess it gives you enough reasons to stay away sin and evil.
One’s stay in hell is generally not permanent. After the quantum of punishment is over, the souls are reborn as lower or higher beings as per their merits.
Hinduism like most of the religions believes in both Hell and Heaven. Hindus describe Heaven as Swarga and hell as Naraka. Yamraj is the Hindu lord of the underworld and afterlife. He is the one who guides the souls people after they die. He is said to be accompanied by another person called Chitragupt.
Chutragupt keeps a record of all your deeds and accordingly assigns you to hell or heaven.
As they do not have a physical place assigned as hell, so instead you have to go through the cycle of 8.4 million reincarnations, and you are ruined through death and rebirth.
The Sikhs concept of hell and heaven seems quite similar to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Just like Buddhism, Sikhism looks at heaven and hell as a state of consciousness.
When the body is filled with ego and selfishness, the cycle of birth and death does not end.
They believe in a place called Diyu. Sinners are subjected to gruesome tortures. After the first round of torture is over the souls are restored to their original state for the torture to be repeated.
According to Chinese mythology, it is the realm of dead. There is little ambiguity about the exact number of levels or Diyu. Diyu is typically depicted as a subterranean maze with various levels and chambers, to which souls are taken after death to atone for the sins they committed when they were alive. While some speak of three to four courts, others mention about the ten Courts of Hell, each of which is ruled by a judge.
Yomi or Yo-no-Kuni is the place where the dead go. It is believed that once one has eaten at the hearth of Yomi, it is impossible to return to the land of the living.
This religion has co-existed with Confucianism and Buddhism. One can find the influence of both these religions in Japan. One can find some striking similarity between Shinto’s concept of Yomi and the Greek concept of Hades.
Yomi is ruled over by Izanami no Mikoto, the Grand Deity of Yomi.
So, as you can see, no matter what your religion is, if you have sinned, then there is some gruesome punishment awaiting for you.