The word Karma means action.  It comes from the Sanskrit root 'KRI'.which means to act. It refers to the result of past actions, present actions and actions we will perform  in the future. The karmas of the past, present and future are called Sanchita, Prarabdha and Agaami respectively.

SANCHITHA:  These are the result of actions that  have been gathered in this birth  and all other previous births.

PRARABDHA: These are the present actions what we are doing now in this life time and its results.

AGAMI:            These are future actions that result from our present actions.

Lord Srikishna in Bhagavat Githa  said that every one is   forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature and  therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment. Even for the most highly educated person on the mundane plane, it is impossible to get out of the entanglements of Maya, simply by theoretical knowledge.
When a living entity is without attraction or hatred, he becomes flawless and eligible to enter into the spiritual sky. Such persons are to be considered already liberated, and their symptoms are that he is not illusioned by the false identification of the body with his true self.  He knows perfectly well that he is not this body, but is the fragmental portion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  He is therefore not joyful in achieving something, nor does he lament in loosing anything which is related to his body.

Our holy books emphasize that a good action has its reward and a bad action leads to punishment. If the bad actions do not yield their consequences in this life, the soul begins another existence and in the new environment undergoes suffering for its past deeds.

Actually the Vedas and Puranas do mention Swarga (Heaven)  and Naraka(Hell).  If we do good deeds in this life, we will be sent to Heaven(Swarga), where we are endowed with subtle celestial  bodies, adorned with shining garments, , move one place to another without any conveyance, allowed to sit in the Hall when  celestial beautiful  dancers  like Rambah, Ursavi, Menaka, Tilothama etc., dance before Indra, the Ruler of Heaven,  no suffering from  diseases, no trouble of hunger and thirsty etc., Heaven is a place  where whatever one wishes, he gets it at once by immediate materialization.  So it is a higher world than the earth plane.

It is said that if you do bad  deeds in this life, you will be sent to Hell(Naraka), where the soul will be given a sukshma(subtle) sareera(body) and put to endless tortures till the punishment period. Several types of punishments are mentioned in Garuda Purana, Maha Shiva Purana, Bhagavatha Purana and other Puranas.    As per Garuda Purana, the following are some out of 28 types  of punishments  imposed in the Hell.

TAMISRAM: Intended for those who rob others of their wealth are bound with ropes by Yama's servants and cast into this  Naraka known as Tamisram. There they are given a thrashing until they bleed and faint and when they recover their senses, the beating is repeated.

SALMALI: Intended for men and women who have committed adultery.  A figure made of ion, heated red hot is placed there.  The sinner is forced to embrace it, while Yama's( the ruler of Hell) servants flog  the sinner from  behind.

VAITARENI: Intended for the  Rulers who abuse their power and Adulterers are thrown here.  It is a river which is filled with human excreta, blood, hair, bones, nails, flesh  and all kinds of dirty substances. There are various kinds of beasts as well. The sinners are mauled by these beasts from all sides. The sinners have to spend their punishment by eating the contents of the river.

PRANARODHAM: Intended for those who  kill animals for food. Here the servants of Yama, cut them limb to limb while subjecting them to constant insult.

AVICI: This is for those who are guilty for false witness and false swearing.  They are hurled from a great height and they are utterly smashed into dust when they reach the ground.  They are again restored to life and punishment is repeated till the end of the punishment period.

AYAHPANAM: Those who consumed alcohol and other intoxicating drinks.  They are forced to drink melted iron in liquid form.

SUCIMUKHAM: This is intended for proud and miserly people who refuse to spend money even for the basic necessities of life like better food or  buying food for their relations or friends will find their place in this hell and those who won't repay money they have borrowed. Here their bodies will be constantly be pricked and pierced by needles

ANDHAKUPAM: This is intended for those who oppress the good people and not helping them if requested despite having the resources. They will be pushed into a well, where there are  beasts like Lions, tigers, eagles and venomous creatures like snakes and scorpions.  The sinners have to endure the constant attacks of this creatures until the expiry of the period of their punishment.

According to our Puranas, the Hell and Heaven are  temporary states in which our Karma is fast tracked either good or bad. There are some  other Planes  where the pious  people go after death according to their deeds in the present life. But since these are compounded states and temporary  and are undesirable, since once exhausted our credit or deficit, we have to return back to earth to continue our spiritual evolution.

Nobody is  sure of the existence of Hell or Heaven to invite after death but it is certainly in our own hands to make a Hell or Heaven of our lives by the way we live. So far no one  came back and explained to   us that what is happening after death and where the soul goes and about its journey  after leaving the physical  body.

If we keep aside for a while about Hell and Heaven concept, and if we  live pious life like King Janaka( father of Sitha,  wife of Lord Rama, the  hero of Indian epic Ramayana),who is said to be a self realised soul, and  that if we earn  honestly for our family without deceiving or hurting others and do good deeds by helping the poor and other beings  without expecting anything in return and  that we  at  bed time  feeling the presence of God repent  for the wrongs committed and beg forgiveness in a supplicant mood, resolving  not to allow repetition of the same, it is sure that after leaving our body,  we can escape going to the  Hell,  if it is in existence as stated in our Puranas. If we lead such a life throughout, go to bed and have good sleep at nights, it is Heaven.

 If we live like  Duryodhana( the son of Dhritarashtra),  the villain,   who is Greedy, jealous,  cheater etc.,towards Pandavas  in an Indian epic Mahabharath,  and if we won't get good sleep during nights even on  cushion beds,   it is Hell.

At the time of death one gets a reel of pictures relating to his past happenings at which he has acted rightly or wrongly i.e, with selfish motives or as selfless service, now for which the mind responds. Therefore what we want is, we should not be in a condition of repentance at the time of death for the bad Karma committed during the course of life and subjected to undergo tremendous punishments as aforesaid in the Hell.


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