Heaven or Hell

I often marvel at how we can find on this material planet, Earth, examples of both Heaven & Hell. Some people and animals are living in “Heavenly Luxury”, while others are suffering what can only be described as “Hellish Conditions”. Someone once told me, that within every man is the keys to the gates of Heaven, but also the keys to the gates of Hell. Or as I sometimes like to joke, its either Rama or Drama.

Lord Kapila continued: My dear mother, it is sometimes said that we experience hell or heaven on this planet, for hellish punishments are sometimes visible on this planet also.(SB 3.30.29)

A Vaisnava is addressed as maha-bhaga, which means “fortunate.” One who becomes a
Vaisnava and is God conscious is understood to be greatly fortunate. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu , the chief exponent of Krsna consciousness in this age, has explained that the living entities in various planetary systems all over the universe are rotating in different species of life. A living entity can go wherever he likes—to heaven or to hell—simply by preparing himself for either place. There are many heavenly planets, many hellish planets, and many species of life. Padma Purana estimates the species of life to be 8,400,000, and the living entity is rotating or wandering through these species and creating bodies according to his mentality in his present life. “As you sow, so shall you reap,” is the law that governs here. Catanya Mahaprabhu says that out of these numberless living entities who are transmigrating in the material world, one may be fortunate enough to take to Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is being distributed freely everywhere, yet not everyone takes to it, especially in this age of Kali. Because of this, Śrīmad-Bhagavatam characterizes people in the age of Kali as unfortunate. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu says that only those who are fortunate take to this Krsna consciousness and thus attain a pleasant and blissful life of knowledge. (The Matchless Gift, from chapter 2)

Heaven or Hell

Srila Prabhupada in New York City

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…The Kṛṣṇa conscious person can go even to hell and still be happy. The pure devotee is never unhappy in any condition of life.

For a devotee, being situated in the heavenly planets and being in the hellish planets are equal, for a devotee lives neither in heaven nor in hell but with Kṛṣṇa in the spiritual world. The secret of success for the devotee is not understood by the karmīs and jñānīs. Karmīs therefore try to be happy by material adjustment, and jñānīs want to be happy by becoming one with the Supreme. The devotee has no such interest. He is not interested in so-called meditation in the Himalayas or the forest. Rather, his interest is in the busiest part of the world, where he teaches people Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started for this purpose. We do not teach one to meditate in a secluded place just so that one may show that he has become very much advanced and may be proud of his so-called transcendental meditation, although he engages in all sorts of foolish materialistic activity.

A Vaiṣṇava is not interested in such a bluff of spiritual advancement. Rather, he is interested in enlightening people in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because that is the only way for them to become happy. One wanders within the universe, life after life, but by the grace of a devotee, a servant of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one can get the clue to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and then not only become happy in this world but also return home, back to Godhead. That is the real target in life… The members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement must be fully convinced that without Kṛṣṇa one cannot be happy. Thus the Kṛṣṇa conscious person avoids all kinds of pseudo spiritualists, transcendentalists, meditators, monists, philosophers and philanthropists. (from Purport to SB 7.9.44)

Full Verse and Purport More

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