Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


(from a lecture of Swami Tirtha, May 2013, evening, Sofia)

(continues from the previous Monday) 

Question of Ramvijay: We have heard, Gurudev, from you and I have heard that even Bhakti Abhay Narayan Maharaj was saying that there is no hell. I don’t know if this is correct, but can you please tell us what exactly is not there – the suffering is not there, the place is not there or the state of consciousness is not there?

Somebody: Or the devils?

Ramvijay: Can you please elaborate a bit on this?

Swami Tirtha: Hell does exist. Shall I go into more details?

Ramvijay: Please!

Swami Tirtha: What is hell? Hell is when we are bereft of our divine worshipable sacred objects. If we are far away from our Lord, from our Krishna, it’s a hellish suffering. If we have to leave the divine company of the devotees – it’s a torture, it’s a hell. So in that sense it exists. That is a place, circumstance, environment of suffering. We can say that it is a state of lack, something is missing. We cannot really give a positive definition of hell; there is only a negative definition – where there is no divine consciousness, that is hell.

So hell does exist. Although that is another type of illusion. Because show me one thing that is independent of Krishna?! None! None! Everything is connected to Him. Some things are connected directly, other things are connected indirectly. And in this indirect connection you might find this conception of hell. It looks like not connected, but it is. Shrila Shridhara Maharaj says that the background is consciousness and all the different conceptions are like dust in the air.

Have you ever experienced hell?

Answer: Yes. Definitely.

Swami Tirtha: Many say that the descriptions given in our scriptures are very close to that reality. But there is a joke: there was an atheist person on his death bed. And two priests were waiting outside. One said: “What to do with this guy? He will reject us!” The second answered: “No, just leave it up to me” and he went in. After five minutes the guy was asking for the last sacrament. The other priest was astonished and asked: “How come! Did you convert him by describing heaven so nice?” “No, what do you think!? I was describing hell to him.” I think that’s enough.

But when we are not with Krishna, when we are not with vaishnavas, when we are not with guru – this is a hellish condition. Therefore always try to submit yourself under the protection of the divine energy. Mahatmanas tu mam partha dayvim prakritim ashritah[1] – “The great souls have surrendered themselves under the protection of the divine energy.”

This is a great transformation and a mystery in our life that we can perceive. Just think deeply how much your spiritual practices have upgraded your life and then you will see that not only hell exists, but heaven is also a reality.


[1] Bhagavad Gita 9.13

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