god and eternal hell

Eternal hell always worried me. It brings with it associated images of unbridled punishment. No amount of penitence would suffice to efface the bad deeds that lead you to this pathetic condition! It is like you are in front of a vengeful God who decides to spare nothing out of his omnipotence to wreak the maximum damage on you. And the best part is that he was the one who was supposed to have created you in the first place and hence directly or indirectly responsible for all your misdeeds – a weird conundrum indeed!

It is almost like God did a bad job of creating you and does not want to take responsibility.  There are a few problems with such a proposition. One is that God is considered “All-Knowing” and hence incapable of creating an imperfect being. The second is that God is considered Perfect and hence would take accountability for his actions which is the least he can do. Third he is considered “all-merciful”! To me, an all merciful God is simply antithetical to an eternal hell. Eternal Hell smacks of irrepressible tyranny.

So in my mind we have two options to choose which are mutually exclusive – one is the option of an All-Merciful, Omnipotent,Perfect God and the second is eternal hell. I would choose the first option and be done with it! The second one simply makes no sense.

But what happens to the prevailing imperfection? If God is All-Knowing, why would he create beings with so many vices to their credit! The law of karma is much better at explaining this seemingly contradictory phenomenon. It just tells us something what is morally compatible with our ethics. It makes an individual responsible for his own deeds so that we don’t have to fabricate eternal hells to exact vengeance on “bad” people. This law is more like a “law of physics”. It is impartial and applies universally. No prophet can “save” a person.  He has to reap the rewards of his past Karma – irregardless. A law like that seems more “impartial” and does not smack of nepotism.

raja shankar kolluru

To describe myself as a manifestation of the supreme spirit may sound too bombastic. But that is what we all are. I am reminded of the story of a great sage who was reading the Upanishads. He was asked as to what he was reading. To which he replied that he is reading about his own glories. This blog especially is an offshoot of all my religious ruminations over the years.

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2 Responses

  1. I am not very comfortable with the Karma theory.The theory has many inherent contradictions, and puts you in a fait accompli hopeless situation, from which wriggling out is impossible.For example,how long do you go back in the sequence of janmas to explain your condition in this janma, or is it just the result of previous janma? If according to you I commit horrendous sins in my previous janma, it is natural that my present janma is going to be terrible.Living in terrible situations in the present janma can coax me to commit more sins, and get into a doom and bust cycle from which there is no redemption.Or else I must get a noble janma despite the sins of the previous janma, so that I get penitent,remorseful of the alleged sins committed in my previous janma.But as per the theory, a present noble janma should not be possible.

    Viewed from a higher plane, where there is only unalloyed consciousness,the very concepts of sin,right and wrong become meaningless.

  2. Thanks for your comment. It is indeed profound.

    I would not want to use the law of Karma to establish morality. As we know, morality is completely temporal and geographical. It varies with time and space. Hence such an ephemeral construct cannot be the basis of a law that we can use since it then depends on who the morality magistrate will be.

    Instead, I think of the law of Karma as somewhat akin to Newton’s III law – the law of action and reaction. To me there is only one goal and that is to attain the realization of equality of Atman and Paramatman. The law of Karma sends you on a spin. It keeps you spinning the cycles of birth and rebirth based on what you have done and what is due to you as a consequence thereof. This would deter you from your actual pursuit. The only solution is to go beyond Karma and that is how I think about the great teachings of the Gita and Upanishads.

    Isavashya Upanishad give you one possible route to get out of the clutches of the law of Karma. It says “Kurvanneveha Karmani jijivisec chatam samaha. Evam tvai nanya tetosthi na karma lipyate nare”. Basically, it is stating that be so happy doing your karma (or to be more precise, be so happy enjoying the fruits of your karma) that even if you were to take a 100 births you should still be happy doing it. By having such a mindset, you obviously make karma inconsequential. It does not affect you and hence you can pursue higher goals such as self realization.

    So , in short, I would not equate the law of karma to a law of morality. It is just an inescapable law that makes you spin. The only way to escape from its clutches is to make it inconsequential.

    In fact a close look at the Upanishads reveals that they don’t even make a judgement of “good” and “bad” karma. They just state that the law of karma gives you the fruits of the karma (this is never used as a proposal for punishment for bad deeds)

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