Here is a piece from DR GURU DEWA, Spiritual Head of the Vedanta Mission. I couldn’t agree more that Hell is torture and torture is not any sort of divine love no matter how you slice it. God IS love, and for him/her to be serving out eternal punishments just doesn’t ring true.

It really does seem that karma and reincarnation are more in line with the type of wisdom we would like in our versions of God.


Love is the answer, not Hell

I WOULD like to offer a few words in clarification of the recently raised issues of Hinduism, Christianity and Hell.

The concept of Hell has its origin in ancient Zoroastrian belief that there are two mutually opposed powers in the universe, the power of good (God) and the power of evil (Devil or Satan).

But the Bible gives us a clearer picture of its own concepts of God, Heaven, Hell, Satan, etc.

Although, from the Hindu point of view, Jesus is a manifestation of God’s love in many of his teachings (such as the Sermon on the Mount), from an objective perspective, we have to say that Jesus advocates a very narrow and intolerant ethical code of belief and behaviour.

Sir Bertrand Russell, one of the beacon lights of rational thought in the modern age, says of Jesus Christ as depicted in the New Testament:

“There is one very serious defect, to my mind, in Christ’s moral character, and that is that he believed in Hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can ever believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to Jesus’ preaching. You will find that in the Gospels, Christ says: ‘Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?’

“Then Christ says: ‘The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.’ And he goes on about the wailing and gnashing of teeth. It comes in one verse after another.

“I think all this doctrine, that hell fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture. I cannot myself feel that either in the matter of wisdom or in the matter of virtue Christ stands quite as high as some other people known to history. I think I should put Buddha and Socrates above him in those respects.”

The Hindu answer to the Christian concept of Hell must be clarified. In Hinduism, there is no concept of a permanent hell. Karma and reincarnation form two of the major principles of Hindu thought.

Sir William Jones, one of the early Indological researchers, says about reincarnation: “I hold the Hindu doctrine of reincarnation to be infinitely more rational and more likely to deter men from vice than the horrid opinions inculcated by Christians on punishments without end.”

Hinduism totally rejects the idea of a permanent Hell, a place where damned souls are supposed to burn and be tortured eternally to satisfy the primitive concept of justice of a vengeful God.

In Hinduism, God is Pure Love, Saccidananda. Hinduism teaches that love for God, and therefore love of all humanity as the children of God, is the supreme type of karma that leads to salvation in God’s Holy Being.

Therefore, Love is the answer, not Hell.

— DR GURU DEWA, Spiritual Head, The Vedanta Mission

For the original version of this article, click here.