As they breathe their last, sinners and scoundrels are not consigned to burn in hellfire for all eternity. Hell is not a physical reality; it is a delusionary state of consciousness produced by our belief that we are separate from God—and the reflection of that consciousness in the life we create for ourselves here on earth.
I like the way that Paramahansa Yogananda got that point across to a man who had fundamental views about heaven and hell. This story is from the book, Finding the Joy Within You, by longtime Self-Realization Fellowship president Sri Daya Mata.
Master was once talking to a man who had very dogmatic notions about truth. He said to Master, ” Do you not believe in hellfire and damnation?”
Guruji said, “No, except that man creates a hades right in the here and now. He makes out of this world and his own life a heaven or hell, depending upon his behavior; and this is where we suffer.”
The man persisted with his dogmatic arguments. Guruji was very intuitive; he changedthe subject, andthen after a while he said, “Isn’t it true that you have a son who is (more…)