Naraka (Hinduism)

Hindu equivalent of Hell

Naraka (Hinduism) (Sanskrit: नरक) is the Hindu equivalent of Hell, where sinners are tormented after death. It is also the abode of Yama, the god of Death. It is described as located in the south of the universe and beneath the earth.

The central panel portrays Yama, aided by Chitragupta and Yamadutas, judging the dead. Other panels depict various realms/hells of Naraka.
The astral spheres - Nehemiah Davis: The subastral plane is Naraka consisting of seven hellish realms corresponding to the seven chakras belwo the base of the spine. In the astral plane, the Soul is enshrouded in the astral body, called Sukshma sharira.

Quotes edit

  • Those who are guilty of them [fearful crime] expiate them after death, by one or more transmigrations of the soul into some vile animal, or by the torments of Naraka, i.e., hell.
    • Bhagavata, in "Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies: The Classic First Hand Account of India in the Early Nineteenth Century", p. 197
  • ..the hellswhich are situated beneath the earth and beneath the waters, and into which sinners are finally sent are the different Narakas known as Raurava, Śúkara, Rodha, Tála, Viśasana, Mahájwála, Taptakumbha, Lavańa, Vimohana, Rudhirándha, Vaitaraní, Krimíśa, Krimibhojana, Asipatravana, Krishńa, Lálábhaksha, Dáruńa, Púyaváha, Pápa, Vahnijwála, Adhośiras, Sandansa, Kálasútra, Tamas, Avíchi, Śwabhojana, Apratisht́ha, and another Avíchi. These and many other fearful hells are the awful provinces of the kingdom of Yama, terrible with instruments of torture and with fire; into which are hurled all those who are addicted when alive to sinful practices.
Various sins and corresponding punishments in hells.
  • The gods in heaven are beheld by the inhabitants of hell, as they move with their heads inverted; whilst the god, as they cast their eyes downwards, behold the sufferings of those in hell.
    • Vishnu Purana, in "The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840] CHAP. VI.
  • Heaven (or Swarga) is that which delights the mind; hell (or Naraka) is that which gives it pain: hence vice is called hell; virtue is called heaven.
    • Vishnu Purana, in "The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840] CHAP. VI.
  • That sinner goes to Naraka who neglects the due expiation of his guilt.
    • Vishnu Purana, in "The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840] CHAP. VI.
  • The man who thinks of Vishńu, day and night, goes not go to Naraka after death, for all his sins are atoned for.
    • Vishnu Purana, in "The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, [1840] CHAP. VI.
  • Naraka is abode of darkness. Literally, “pertaining to man”. The nether world, equivalent to the Western term hell, a gross region of Antarloka. Naraka is a congested, distressful area where demonic beings and young souls may sojourn until they resolve the darksome karmas they have created. Here being suffer the consequences of their own misdeeds in previous lives. Naraka is understood as having seven regions, called talas, corresponding to the states of consciousness of the seven lower chakras.
The seven principal chakras...
  • The seven principal chakras are situated along the spinal cord from the base to the cranium chamber. Besides seven chakras exist below the spine. They are seats of instinctive consciousness, the origin of jealousy, hatred, envy, guilt, sorrow etc. They constitute the lower or hellish world, called Naraka or pâtâla. Thus, there are 14 major chakras in all. The seven upper chakras are: 1) mûlâdhâra (base of spine): memory, time and space; 2) svâdhish†hâna (below navel): reason; 3) manipura (solar plexus):will power, 4) anahata (heart center): direct cognition; 5) vishudha (throat): divine love; 6) ajna (third eye): divine sight; 7)sahasrara (crown of head): illumination, godliness. The seven lower chakras are 1)atala (hips):fear and lust; 2)vitala (thighs): raging anger; 3)sutala (knees): retaliatory jealousy; 4) talatala (calves): prolonged mental confusion; 5)rasatala (ankles): selfishness; 6)'mahatala' (feet): absence of conscience; 7) patala (located in the soles of the feet): murder and [[malice.

The Big Picture Making Sense Out of Life and Religion edit

Yama's Court and Hell. The Blue figure is Yama with his consort Yami and Chitragupta.
A 17th-century painting from the Government Museum in Chennai.

Hinduism, in Sean Williams The Big Picture Making Sense Out of Life and Religion, 1 June 2009

  • Hells are also described in various Puranas and other scriptures. Garuda Purana gives a detailed account of Hell, its features, and enlists amount of punishment for most of the crimes like modern day penal code.
    • p.89
  • It is believed that people who commit sins go to Hell and have to go through punishments in accordance with the sins they committed. The god Yamaraj, who is also the god of death, presides over Hell (Satan). Detailed accounts of all the sins committed by an individual are kept by Chitragupta, who is the record keeper in Yama’s court. Chitragupta reads out the sins committed and Yama orders appropriate punishments to be given to the individual...These punishments include dipping in boiling oil, burning in fire, torture using various weapons, etc, in various hells. Individuals who finish their quota of the punishments are reborn in accordance with their balance of Karma.
    • p.89

About Hindu Hell edit

Hell, in About Hindu Hell, Hell-On-Line

  • The earliest evidence for notions of hell related to Hinduism are found in the Vedic texts, which date from c. 1500–1000 BCE. In the long tradition of Hindu literature there was a significant development in the concept of hell from the period of the Vedas through the period of the Puranas (c. 300–1500 CE).
  • Hindu hell, originally one space in Vedic literature, became segmented in the epic literature and Puranas, until approximately 80 names for different hells could be identified.
  • Rivers are generally prominent features of hell, and one usually forms the infernal border. Hindu hell descriptions enumerate six, seven or as many as 99 rivers.
  • Punishments can be graphically described, but often the Sanskrit names for different hells substitute for descriptions, ranging from Ambarisa: a hell associated by its name with a frying pan; to Lohapinda, a hell associated with red-hot iron balls; and Vinmutra: feces and urine hell. Each hell is simply one of many places where a soul might find itself, with or without connection to a particular deed.
  • One of the unusual features of Hindu hell is that as often as not there are no punishing agents specifically mentioned. Those who suffer often act out their own punishments, forced to endure a destiny or undertake some course of action, rather than being the object of torture. As the Ramayana explains, they eat the fruit of their own acts.

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