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Hinduism

Religious Beliefs

Does that mean Hindus do not believe in Heaven or Hell?

Traditional Hindu cosmologies speak of three realms of existence or lokas. One scheme describes an “in-between realm” (antarloka), where individual souls abide both during sleep and between incarnations. This reflects the persistence of important features of ancient Vedic views of the cosmos. A version of Hell called naraka (literally, “referring to humankind”) is a thoroughly unpleasant lower part of the antarloka that functions rather like a Purgatory. In any of its seven (or even as many as twenty-one) levels souls can overcome through suffering some of the effects of bad karma. A multilevelled region called anandloka (“realm of bliss”), also called svarga (“region of light”), is roughly equivalent to a paradise or Heaven. It is a temporary abode in which people who have died approaching liberation acquire knowledge that can assist them toward greater spiritual progress in their next life. Hindu cosmology includes multiple levels, both in this in-between realm and in the uppermost realms beyond that reserved for those who have achieved moksha. Most Hindus regard the intermediate equivalents of Heaven and Hell as temporary, although some smaller sects teach the existence of more or less permanent abodes of punishment in the next life.



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