|You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : March 1996|
Date: Mon Mar 11 1996 - 18:43:54 PST
Sri Gurubhyo Namah: Mani was correct in saying that this earth can itself be Vaikuntham for one surrendered to Sriman Narayana and also hell for one steeped in materialism. However for His own purposes, Sriman Narayana has created other hells and heavens, just as there are other lokas and Sri Vaikuntham. The only difference between leading a hellish life on earth and suffering in hell, is that in the former case, one continues to accrue Karma while this is not so in the latter case. (This based on one of Ramanujacharya's works either Geetabhasya or Vedartha Sangraha, I do not remember which one.) Even in hell one can get relief by resorting to the Lord just as one can on earth. Yudhishthira was an example of a Prapanna. When he was shown Swarga, he found that to be hell because of the presence of Duryodhana, who was an enemy of Krishna and His closest Bhaktas. However when Yudhishthira was taken to hell, he chose to stay there because he found his Bhagavata brothers in hell. Also other residents of that hell found relief from their suffering because of the saintly presence of Yudhishthira. Residents of Swarga sent all kinds of impediments in the way of Dhruva's meditation, because they were afraid that if Dhruva earned enough "punya" he would dethrone them. So even though they were in Swarga they were not able to enjoy peacefully. This is why Lord Krishna says in the Geeta "Antavatu phalam tesam..." describes these pleasures as trivial and extremely temporary. Since they do not help one get true happiness. The latter is possible only by surrendering to the will of Sriman Narayana. There are thus two descriptions of heaven and hell. For one in a state of forgetfulness of Sriman Narayana heaven is what is pleasurable to the senses and hell is what is painful. For a prapanna heaven is rememberence or contact with Sriman Narayana in any of the nine forms of sravana, kirtana etc and hell is forgetfulness of Sriman Narayana. For the former category there is a big difference between going to heaven and hell or going through pleasure and pain on this earth. The latter (the Prapanna) is not concerned with either since Sriman Narayana protects him under all circumstances. Jaganath.