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Reincarnation and Karma – Hell and Heaven: Heaven and hell and release of wisdom

Cannes 1937 France

Different souls start with different degrees of intuitive wisdom as their initial capital for the experiments and adventures of their earthly careers. This intuition may seem to have been the product of past  experiences, thus adding to the equipment of the psyche; but it is more truly an unfoldment of what was already latent in the individualized soul. From this deeper point of view, the experiences of earthly life as well as the reflective and consolidating processes they are subjected to in life after death are merely instrumental in gradually releasing to the surface the intuitive wisdom already latent in the soul from the very beginning of creation. As is true of the earthly career and its experiences, the states of hell and heaven in the life after death are also integral parts of and incidents in that journey of the individualized soul, which is ultimately meant to reach the Source of all things.

-Discourses 7th Ed, p312

Reincarnation and Karma – Hell and Heaven: Analogy of cinema

BabaAtFilmCamera

Analogy of cinema: The fret and fury of immediate responses to the changing situations of earthly life is replaced in life after death by a more leisurely mood, freed from the urgency of immediately needed actions. All the experiences of the earthly career are now available for reflection in a form more vivid than is possible through memory in earthly life. The shots of earthly life have all been taken on the cinematic film of the mind, and it is now time to study the original earthly life through the magnified projections of the filmed record on the screen of subjectivized consciousness.

Assimilation of earthly experiences: Thus the hell state and the heaven state become instrumental in the assimilation of experiences acquired in the earthly phase; and the individualized soul can start its next incarnation in a physical body with all the advantages of digested experience. The lessons learned by the soul through such stocktaking and reflection are confirmed in the mental body by the power of their magnified suffering or happiness. They become, for the next incarnation, an integral part of the intuitive makeup of active consciousness, without in any way involving detailed revival of the individual events of the previous incarnation. The truths absorbed by the mind in the life after death become in the next incarnation a part of inborn wisdom. Developed intuition is consolidated and compressed understanding, distilled through a multitude of diverse experiences gathered in previous lives.

-Discourses 7th Ed, p311

Reincarnation and Karma – Hell and Heaven: Retrospective survey of earthly experiences

BabaRealxing4

Termination of hell and heaven: Just as a phonograph record is set aside after the needle has traveled through each groove, the hell state and the heaven state terminate after consciousness has traversed the imprints left by earthly life. Just as the song produced by the record is strictly determined by the original song recorded on it, the quality of intensified and magnified experiences the soul passes through after death is strictly determined by the kind of life that was led on earth in the physical body. From this point of view, heaven and hell are shadows cast by one’s earthly life.

Retrospective survey of earthly experiences: Heaven and hell would, however, serve no specially useful purpose in the life of the individual soul if they were to consist merely of mental revival of the earthly past. That would mean bare repetition of what has already occurred. Consciousness in these after-death states is in a position to make a leisurely and effective survey of the animated record of earthly life. Through intensification of experiences, it can observe their nature with better facility and results. On earth, the consciousness of most persons is predominantly objective and forward-looking and under the pressure of unspent sanskaras. It is mostly concerned with the possible fulfillment of sanskaras through the present or the future. In life after death the consciousness of most persons is predominantly subjective and retrospective. With the absence of forward-goading sanskaras, it is, as in reminiscences, mostly preoccupied with reviewing and assessing the significance of the past.

-Discourses 7th Ed., p311

Reincarnation and Karma – Hell and Heaven: Time in semi-subtle world

Baba_with_puppy_1930s

Time in semi-subtle world: Hell and heaven are both states of bondage, however, and subject to the limitations of the opposites of pleasure and pain. Both are states whose duration is determined by the nature, amount, and intensity of the accumulated impressions. Time in the semi-subtle world is not the same as time in the gross world due to the increased subjectivity of the states of consciousness. Though time in the semi-subtle world is thus incommensurable with time in the gross world, it is strictly determined by the impressions accumulated in the gross world. However, the important fact is that the hell state and the heaven state are far from being lasting; and after they have served their purpose in the life of the individualized soul, they both come to an end.

Vivification of impressions: The coarser sensual desires, like lust and their emotional products like hate and anger, all contribute to the life of delusion and suffering prevalent in the hell state. The finer desires-like idealistic aspirations, aesthetic and scientific interests, goodwill toward neighbors and others, and their emotional products like personal love or fellow-feeling-contribute to the life of enlightenment and pleasure prevalent in the heaven state. These states for most souls consist in reliving the experiences of the earthly life by vivification of the impressions left by them. Their duration and nature are dependent upon the duration and nature of the experiences undergone by the soul while in the physical body.

-Discourses 7th Ed, p310

Reincarnation and Karma – Hell and Heaven: Sufferings of hell and pleasures of heaven

Baba_1920s

Bodily sensations of coarser desires: Thus in the finer desires, the actual sensations play a subordinate role to the derivative aspects based upon the sensations. In the coarser desires the chief element is provided by the actual sensations connected with the physical object and the sensations aroused by them through bodily response to their possession. The organic sensations of the physical body play the greatest part in experiences connected with the coarser desires. Through them the individualized soul feels its own existence as the gross body much more effectively and vividly than through experiences connected with finer desires.

Sufferings of hell and pleasures of heaven: Almost the entire significance of experiences brought about by the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of coarser desires is constituted by the bodily sensations themselves. Therefore they can rarely yield the full experience of fulfillment achieved through finer desires merely by the exercise of thought and imagination. It is characteristic of the coarser desires to insist on the possession and assimilation of the gross objects them selves. Any imaginative idea of the gross objects merely serves the purpose of accentuating the urge to reach out to them. Since the gross objects of the coarser desires are not available in the semi-subtle world, these desires are mostly productive of an intensified experience of the suffering of non-fulfillment. Just as in the gross world the presence of coarser desires leads to the preponderance of suffering over pleasure, in the life after death the revived experiences connected with these coarser desires also lead to a preponderance of suffering over pleasure-thus bringing into existence the hell state. Similarly, in the life after death the revived experiences connected with the finer desires lead to a preponderance of pleasure over suffering, thus bringing into existence the heaven state.

-Discourses 7th Ed., p309

Reincarnation and Karma – Hell and Heaven: Coarser vs finer desires

Baba_1937_Nasik-300x227

Coarser desires contribute to hell state:

Some desires have a direct relation to the possession and assimilation of gross objects through the gross body. The coarser desires such as lust, gluttony, or the craving for alcohol or drugs are of this type. These desires are specifically earthly because they are possessive and they involve an element of clinging to the physical object. In these desires there is not only a preponderance of sensations derived from contact with the object but also of those sensations that constitute the response of the body itself. These coarser desires contribute to the hell state.

Difference between coarser and finer desires:

In contrast with the finer desires, the coarser desires place an infinitely heavier premium on mere sensations, quite independently of any intellectual meaning or moral value. In the finer desires, such as the desire for music, there is of course an element of wanting sense contact with the physical sounds. But these sounds become important not so much in their own right as in their capacity to express beauty. In the same way, a desire to hear discourses has a hold upon the mind, not so much because of the sensations of sound, but because of the intellectual meaning and emotional appeal they convey.

-Discourses 7th Ed., p309

Reincarnation and Karma – Hell and Heaven: Heaven on earth

Baba_1930s

In fact, even in the earthly sphere of existence some individuals develop this capacity of making their pleasure independent of possession of a gross object. Beethoven, for example, was completely deaf; and yet through the exercise of imagination alone, he was able to enjoy intensely his own compositions of music. In a sense, even on earth he might figuratively be said to have been in the heaven state. In the same way, a person who meditates on the Beloved with love derives happiness merely through the thought of the Beloved, without requiring His physical presence. After death, in the heaven state, the enjoyment of such imaginative fulfillment is infinitely greater since consciousness is then unburdened of the outermost veil of the gross body.

-Discourses 7th Ed, p308

Reincarnation and Karma – Hell and Heaven: Fulfillment of desires through thought

Baba_1930s_4

In the heaven state the fulfillment of desires is not, as in the gross sphere, dependent upon having the object of desire. Fulfillment of desire comes merely through thinking of the object desired. For example, if a person wishes to hear exquisite music, he experiences this pleasure merely by thinking about it. The imaginative idea of exquisite music becomes, in this state, a substitute for the physical sound vibrations in the gross sphere. The pleasure he derives from the thought of exquisite music is much greater than the pleasure he derived in his earthly career from the actual hearing of physical sounds. In the heaven state there are no obstacles between desires and their fulfillment; the pleasure of self-fulfillment through thought or feeling is always at hand.

-Discourses 7th Ed., p308

Reincarnation and Karma – Hell and Heaven: Desires and experiences intensified after death

Baba_1930s_2

In the hell state as well as in the heaven state, desires become much more intense since they no longer require expression through the gross medium. Like desires, the experiences incurred in their fulfillment or non-fulfillment also become greatly intensified. In the earthly career desires, as well as the pleasures and the sufferings they bring, are experienced through the medium of the gross body. The soul is of course actually using its higher bodies at the same time, but in the earthly career its consciousness is bound up with the gross body. Therefore the processes of consciousness have to pass through an additional veil that lessens their force, liveliness, and intensity just as rays of light are dimmed when they are required to pass through a thick glass. During habitation in the body, desires and experiences suffer a deterioration in intensity; but when that habitation is given up, they undergo a relative increase of intensity.

-Discourses 7th Ed., p308

Reincarnation and Karma – Hell and Heaven: Hell and heaven states

BabaRealxing6

In life after death the experiences of pain and pleasure become much more intense than they were in earthly life. These subjective states of intensified suffering and joy are called hell and heaven. Hell and heaven are states of mind; they should not be looked upon as being places. And though subjectively they mean a great deal to the individualized soul, they are both illusions within the greater Illusion.

Desires and experiences intensified after death:

In the hell state as well as in the heaven state, desires become much more intense since they no longer require expression through the gross medium. Like desires, the experiences incurred in their fulfillment or non-fulfillment also become greatly intensified. In the earthly career desires, as well as the pleasures and the sufferings they bring, are experienced through the medium of the gross body. The soul is of course actually using its higher bodies at the same time, but in the earthly career its consciousness is bound up with the gross body. Therefore the processes of consciousness have to pass through an additional veil that lessens their force, liveliness, and intensity just as rays of light are dimmed when they are required to pass through a thick glass. During habitation in the body, desires and experiences suffer a deterioration in intensity; but when that habitation is given up, they undergo a relative increase of intensity.

-Discourses 7th Ed., p307