speak of three worlds: devaloka ( world of the celestials ),
manusyaloka ( this world of ours ), and naraka ( hell ). The
first has nothing but pleasure; in the second it is a mixture of
happiness and sorrow; and in the third there is nothing but pain
and sorrow. According to our sastras a man who has committed
terrible sins goes through torments of hell before taking lowly
birth again in this world.
sastras also have it that this world of ours is better than the
others. How? From here we may make the journey to any other
world. If a man is condemned to hell he cannot escape from it and
will be forced to stay there until he has paid for his sins. If
we go to paradise we cannot extend our stay there however much we
may wish to do so. When the fruits of our meritorious acts are
executed we will have to tumble down to earth. It is only here
that we have some freedom and we may earn merit or demerit by our
actions. We may use our hands to perform puja - or we may use
them to hurt others. We may sing the praises of Isvara - or we
may speak ill of people. We have the power to do good and evil in
this world. For each of our faculties of action ( karmendriya )
God has given us this twin capacity.
is not this kind of freedom in the other worlds. Is a cow capable
of earning merit? The devas are like cows. So far as the cow is
concerned there is neither merit nor sin in its life. On this
earth (bhuloka) only those like us human beings can win
liberation - we can do so through good actions. Other worlds are
like hotels where the denizens eat what we harvest here. There
you may enjoy the fruits you have merited here by your actions in
proportion to the punya you have earned or the papa you have
piled up. Our world alone is karmabhumi (world of works). And
even in this world only human beings are capable of thinking and
acting on their own. All other creatures live by instinct. Those
who live in the other worlds have no right for karma.
man's actions, his works, together with his character, determine
his passage to other worlds. Only in this karmabhumi can we
perfect our character by performing virtuous acts and thus
qualify to go to another world.
is a proper time and a proper place for the conduct of a
religious rite. Do you think a sraddha can be performed at
midnight? There is a right time for it as well as a proper place.
It is in India particularly, that is Bharatavarsa, the Vedic
karma must be performed, but even in this land it is not
permitted during certain periods. It has to be carried out in
hallowed places and during sanctified hours.
About "Hindu Dharma"
"Hindu Dharma" is a book
which contains English translation of certain invaluable and
engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at
various times during the years 1907 to 1994).
For a general background, please see here