We Punish Ourselves

By wrong living one can create a physical and mental hell even worse than the fiery hell that vengeful people imagine for others after death. By good living one can create within himself a place even sweeter than people imagine for themselves in the after-death state.

Man, influenced by delusion, ascribes to the all-loving God a vindictive spirit that creates hells and purgatories.

God, in his infinite love, is calling the soul continuously to come back to His eternal kingdom of Bliss. But souls, when they misuse their God-given independence, wander away from God and wallow in the mire of suffering, punishing themselves by the effects of their own errors.

Does Hell Exist? Can A Soul Be Eternally Punished?

The idea of an eternal heaven is true, though most people’s ideas of heaven are very limited.

We are made in the image of God and, at the end of the long trail of incarnations, our wandering actuated by material desires, we will find the blissful heavenly Father waiting to receive us, His prodigal children, and to entertain us with everlasting, ever-new joy.

But the idea of eternal damnation for souls made in the image of God is untenable and should be exploded and banished as a superstition from the minds of men.

A loving father could never eternally burn a soul made in His own image for its temporary mistakes on earth. The idea of eternal punishment is illogical.

A soul is forever made in the image of God. Even a million years of sin could not change its essential, divine character. Man’s unforgiving wrath against the evil actions of his brethren has created this misconception of eternal hell-fire.

Good Things Come from Good Karma

This life is like a movie, and just like in an exciting movie, there has to be a villain so we will learn to love the hero.

If you imitate the villain’s behavior, you will receive his punishment. It’s all a dream, but ask yourself, “Why live a bad dream by creating bad karma?”

With good karma, you get to enjoy the dream. Good karma also makes you want, in time, to wake up from the dream. Bad karma, on the other hand, darkens the mind and keeps it bound to the dreaming process.

From a mountaintop, one sees clearly the whole countryside, and also the open sky above. From the heights, it is natural to want to soar even higher, far above the earth.

In the fog-bound valley below, however, the most that one aspires to may be only to climb a little bit higher.

Excerpted from Karma and Reincarnation by Paramhansa Yogananda.

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