Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 5 Chapter 26:1-11

Book 5: Chapter 26

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 5: Chapter 26: Verses 1-11
A description of the infernal regions

The king (Pariksit) asked : How is this heterogeneity in the universe (to be accounted for), O great sage? The sage (Sri Suka) replied : A doer being swayed by (one of) the three Gunas (modes of Prakrti), the destinies reached through the various actions (done by him) vary according to the (nature of) faith (by which those actions are prompted, and which is also of three kinds according as it is Sattvika, Rajasika or Tamasika in character), and all (those) destinies are attained, more or less, by everyone (at different times). Exactly in the same way, the fruit of action accruing to a perpetrator of sin-which is (only) distinguished by the interdiction attaching thereto-varies according to the diverse types of faith. Accordingly, we shall now describe the more prominent of the thousands of (infernal) states, ordained by God, and resulting from sins committed by those who cherish desires (of various kinds) through (the darkness of) ignorance prevailing (in their heart) from time without beginning. The king inquired : Are the infernal regions referred to by you, O divine sage, particular sports on the face of the earth or are they located outside the egg-shaped universe or inside it (between some spheres)? The sage replied : They lie within this universe below the earth and above the water (filling the rest of the space up to the shell of the mundane egg) on the southern side. In that quarter reside the groups of the manes called the Agniswattas and so on, contemplating on the Lord through supreme concentration of mind and invoking only real blessings on their scions (on the earth).

There also, it is said, resides the glorious Yama (son of Vivaswan, the sun-god), the ruler of the manes, along with his attendants, and inflicts punishment in the same form as the crime itself on the departed Jivas (embodied souls)-brought to his realm by his servants-strictly in proportion to the sin attaching to their (evil) deeds, taking care not to violate the commands (the penal code) of the almighty Lord (neither showing any favour to the evil-doers by remitting the rigour of his rod nor inflicting a penalty heavier than what they deserve, thus holding the scales even). Some (learned men) actually declare the number of hells (the departments of punishment) in that region as twenty-one. Now, we are going to describe them to you, O king, in order along with reference to their name, appearance (the forms of punishment inflicted in each) and character (the nature of sins that are sought to be expiated through them). They are named as Tamisra, Andhatamisra, Raurava, Maharaurava, Kumbhipaka, Kalasutra, Asipatravana, Sukaramukha, Andhakupa, Krmibhojana, Samdarimsa, Taptasurmi, Vajrakantakasalmali, Vaitarani, Puyoda, Pranarodha, Visasana, Lalabhaksa, Sarameyadana, Avici and Ayahpana. Including seven more, viz., Ksarakardama, Raksoganabhojana, Sulaprota, Dandasuka, Avatanirodhana, Paryavartana and Sucimukha, there are (all told) twenty-eight hells, places where tortures of various kinds are gone through (by the sinful). Of these, he who takes away (by force or fraud) another's wealth, child or wife is indeed bound with the cords of Death and forcibly thrown by the most dreadful servants of Yama into the hell called Tamisra. Being tormented in that utterly dark region by being deprived of food and water, belaboured with cudgels, and severely scolded and with other (such) tortures, the Jiva is filled with dismay and falls into a swoon that very moment. Even so he, indeed, who enjoys the wife etc., of another by deceiving the man is cast into (the hell called) Andhatamisra. (As it is) being thrown into that hell and (while) undergoing the tortures (peculiar to it), the Jiva (embodied soul) is deprived, through agony, of its consciousness and vision, like a tree which is being cut at the root. Hence they call this (particular) hell (by the name of) Andhatamisra (that which is full of blinding darkness). Again, he indeed who fondly nourishes from day to day his own family exclusively through hostility to (other) living beings in this world, regarding the body alone as his self and the objects of this world (viz., his wife, children, house and other belongings) as his own, leaves them (the body and everything else) here and himself alone (accompanied by none) falls into (the hell called) Raurava because of the sin resulting from such hostility. (10) Further, the very creatures that were killed by him here are born as Rurus in the other world (in that hellish region) and kill the same fellow-when he goes through the tortures inflicted by Yama-in the same way as they were killed by him. Hence they speak of that region as Raurava (the abode full of Rurus), Ruru being the name of a creature more ferocious (even) than a snake.



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