- PUNISHMENT IN 28 NARAKA HELLS -
An account of punishment for sinful living entities

Naraka (Sanskrit: नरक) meaning Hell, is a place of punishment for sinful living entities, where sinners are tormented after death.

Court of Yamaraja - God of death
Court of Yamaraja - God of death      

Every body is afraid of hell. But nobody performs good activities to avoid hell. Man should know the bad activities because of which he goes to hell. In many scriptures we find details about hells and sufferings therein. The Srimad Bhagavatam Purana describes different hells called Naraka.

Naraka, as a whole, is known by many names conveying that it is the realm of Yama called Yamaloka or Mṛtyuloka – the plane of Death.

Naraka or Naraka-loka is also the abode of Yama, the god of Death. After death, the messengers of Yama called Yamadutas bring all beings to the court of Yamaraja, where he weighs the virtues and the vices of the living beings and accordingly passes the appropriate judgement.

Yama-raja, as Lord of Justice, is also called Dharma-raja. Yama sends the virtuous to Svarga-loka, the heavenly planets, to enjoy the luxuries of paradise. He also assesses the vices of the sinful and accords judgement, assigning them to appropriate hells as punishment commensurate with the severity and nature of their sins.

The god of Death, Yama, employs Yama-dutas (messengers of Yama), who bring souls of all beings to Yama for judgement. The Yamadutas punish and torment souls on the orders of their master Yamaraja. Generally, all living beings, including humans and animals, go to Yama's abode upon death where they are judged. However, very virtuous beings and saintly people, who have fully dedicated their lifes to god, are taken directly to Svarga-loka (heavenly planets). People dying in holy places like Kurukshetra are also described as avoiding Yama. Those who get moksha (salvation) also escape from the clutches of yamadutas.

Yama is aided by his minister Chitragupta, who maintains a record of all good and evil actions of every living being. Yama-dhutas are also assigned the job of executing the punishments on sinners in the various hells.

 

punishments in naraka hells
Various sins and corresponding
punishments in hells, carried out by
the Yama-dutas, attendants of Yama-raja
Yama, Chitragupta and Yamadutas
The central panel portrays Yama, aided by
Chitragupta and Yamadutas, judges the dead.
Other panels depict various realms/hells of Naraka.

It is believed that people who commit sins go to Hell and have to go through punishments in accordance with the sins they committed. The god Yamarāja, who is also the god of death, presides over Hell. Detailed accounts of all the sins committed by an individual are kept by Chitragupta, who is the record keeper in Yama's court.

Chitragupta reads out the sins committed and Yama orders appropriate punishments to be given to individuals. These punishments include dipping in boiling oil, burning in fire, torture using various weapons, etc. in various Hells. Individuals who finish their quota of the punishments are reborn in accordance with their balance of karma.

All created beings are imperfect and thus have at least one sin to their record; but if one has generally led a pious life, one ascends to svarga-loka, a temporary realm of enjoinment similar to Paradise, after a brief period of expiation in Hell and before the next reincarnation according to the law of karma.

The stay in Svarga or Naraka is generally described as temporary. After the quantum of punishment is over, the souls are reborn as lower or higher beings as per their merits and karma. Thus a person is subject to samsara (the cycle of birth-death-rebirth) and must take birth again after his prescribed pleasure in Svarga or punishment in Naraka is over.

 

Seven Levels of Jain Hell
17th century cloth painting depicting seven levels
of Jain hell and various tortures suffered in them.
Left panel depicts the demi-god and his animal
vehicle presiding over the each hell.
Punishment in the Naraka Hell
Various sins and corresponding
punishments in hells, carried out by
the Yama-dutas, attendants of Yama-raja

The Bhagavata Purana describes Naraka as beneath the earth: between the seven realms of the underworld (Patala) and the Garbhodaka Ocean, which is the bottom of the universe.

SB 5.26.4: King Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī: My dear lord, are the hellish regions outside the universe, within the covering of the universe, or in different places on this planet?

SB 5.26.5: The great sage Śukadeva Gosvāmī answered: All the hellish planets are situated in the intermediate space between the three worlds and the Garbhodaka Ocean. They lie on the southern side of the universe, beneath Bhū-maṇḍala, and slightly above the water of the Garbhodaka Ocean. Pitṛloka is also located in this region between the Garbhodaka Ocean and the lower planetary systems. All the residents of Pitṛloka, headed by Agniṣvāttā, meditate in great samādhi on the Supreme Personality of Godhead and always wish their families well.

SB 5.26.6: The King of the pitās is Yamarāja, the very powerful son of the sun-god. He resides in Pitṛloka with his personal assistants and, while abiding by the rules and regulations set down by the Supreme Lord, has his agents, the Yamadūtas, bring all the sinful men to him immediately upon their death. After bringing them within his jurisdiction, he properly judges them according to their specific sinful activities and sends them to one of the many hellish planets for suitable punishments.

Hells are also described in various Puranas and other scriptures. Garuda Purana gives a detailed account of Hell, its features and enlists amount of punishment for most of the crimes like a modern day penal code.

 

Hell - detail from a fresco
Hell - detail from a fresco in the medieval
church St. Nicolas in Raduil, Bulgaria
Medieval illustration of Hell in the Hortus deliciarum
Medieval illustration of Hell in the Hortus deliciarum manuscript of Herrad of Landsberg (about 1180)

Muslim depiction of Naraka Hell
Mohammed, along with Al Buraq and
Gabriel, visit Hell, and see a demon
punishing "shameless women"

Yamadutas punnish sinful living beings
according to their deeds

 

Burmese depiction of Naraka Hell
A Burmese depiction of Naraka. Hell guards
throw sinners into a cauldron and fry them in oi
l
Buddhist depiction of Naraka Hell
19th century Burmese temple
painting portrays Buddhist Hell


The Bhagavata Purana, the Vishnu Purana and the Devi Bhagavata Purana enlist and describe 28 hells, however, they end the description by stating that there are hundreds and thousands of hells. The Bhagavata Purana enumerates the following 28 main Hells:

 

1. Tāmisra 11. Sandaṁśa 21. Ayaḥpāna
2. Andhatāmisra 12. Taptasūrmi 22. Kṣārakardama
3. Raurava 13. Vajrakaṇṭaka-śālmalī 23. Rakṣogaṇa-bhojana
4. Mahāraurava 14. Vaitaraṇī 24. Śūlaprota
5. Kumbhīpāka 15. Pūyoda 25. Dandaśūka
6. Kālasūtra 16. Prāṇarodha 26. Avaṭa-nirodhana
7. Asi-patravana 17. Viśasana 27. Paryāvartana
8. Sūkaramukha 18. Lālābhakṣa 28. Sūcīmukha
9. Andhakūpa 19. Sārameyādana  
10. Kṛmibhojana 20. Avīci  

SB 5.26 Summary: "The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature." The foolish person thinks he is independent of any law. He thinks there is no God or regulative principle and that he can do whatever he likes. Thus he engages in different sinful activities, and as a result, he is put into different hellish conditions life after life, to be punished by the laws of nature. The basic principle of his suffering is that he foolishly thinks himself independent, although he is strictly under the control of the laws of material nature. These laws act due to the influence of the three modes of nature, and therefore each human being also works under three different types of influence. According to how he acts, he suffers different reactions in his next life or in this life. Religious persons act differently from atheists, and therefore they suffer different reactions.

SB 5.26.15, Translation: If a person deviates from the path of the Vedas in the absence of an emergency, the servants of Yamarāja put him into the hell called Asi-patravana, where they beat him with whips. When he runs hither and thither, fleeing from the extreme pain, on all sides he runs into palm trees with leaves like sharpened swords. Thus injured all over his body and fainting at every step, he cries out, "Oh, what shall I do now! How shall I be saved!" This is how one suffers who deviates from the accepted religious principles.

 

Yamaduta Punishment for sinful living beings
SB 5.26.15, Purport: There is actually only one religious principle: dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. The only religious principle is to follow the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Unfortunately, especially in this age of Kali, everyone is an atheist, people do not even believe in God, what to speak of following His words. The words nija-veda-patha can also mean "one's own set of religious principles." Formerly there was only one veda-patha, or set of religious principles. Now there are many. It doesn't matter which set of religious principles one follows: the only injunction is that he must follow them strictly. An atheist, or nāstika, is one who does not believe in the Vedas. However, even if one takes up a different system of religion, according to this verse he must follow the religious principles he has accepted. Whether one is a Hindu, or a Mohammedan or a Christian, he should follow his own religious principles. However, if one concocts his own religious path within his mind, or if one follows no religious principles at all, he is punished in the hell known as Asi-patravana. In other words, a human being must follow some religious principles. If he does not follow any religious principles, he is no better than an animal. As Kali-yuga advances, people are becoming godless and taking up so-called secularism. They do not know the punishment awaiting them in Asi-patravana, as described in this verse.

Śukadeva Gosvāmī describes the following twenty-eight hells: Tāmisra, Andhatāmisra, Raurava, Mahāraurava, Kumbhīpāka. Kālasūtra, Asi-patravana, Sūkaramukha, Andhakūpa, Kṛmibhojana. Sandaṁśa, Taptasūrmi, Vajrakaṇṭaka-śālmalī, Vaitaraṇī, Pūyoda, Prāṇarodha, Viśasana, Lālābhakṣa, Sārameyādana, Avīci, Ayaḥpāna. Kṣārakardama, Rakṣogaṇa-bhojana, Śūlaprota, Dandaśūka. Avaṭa-nirodhana, Paryāvartana and Sūcīmukha.

 

1. Tāmisra - My dear King, a person who appropriates another's legitimate wife, children or money is arrested at the time of death by the fierce Yamadūtas, who bind him with the rope of time and forcibly throw him into the hellish planet known as Tāmisra. On this very dark planet, the sinful man is chastised by the Yamadūtas, who beat and rebuke him. He is starved, and he is given no water to drink. Thus the wrathful assistants of Yamarāja cause him severe suffering, and sometimes he faints from their chastisement. (SB 5.26.8, Translation) Men and women whose lives were built upon indulgence in illicit sex life are put into many kinds of miserable conditions in the hells known as Tāmisra, Andha-tāmisra and Raurava. In the Vedic civilization sex life is allowed only in a restricted way; it is for the married couple and only for begetting children. But when sex life is indulged in for sense gratification illegally and illicitly, both the man and the woman await severe punishment in this world or after death.

2. Andhatāmisra - The destination of a person who slyly cheats another man and enjoys his wife and children is the hell known as Andhatāmisra. There his condition is exactly like that of a tree being chopped at its roots. Even before reaching Andhatāmisra, the sinful living being is subjected to various extreme miseries. These afflictions are so severe that he loses his intelligence and sight. It is for this reason that learned sages call this hell Andhatāmisra, blinding darkness. After suffering there, when he who has had many types of hellish bodies, like those of dogs and hogs, is to come again to the human form, he is given the chance to take his birth in the same type of body from which he degraded himself to hell. Atheists who destroy the world by exploiting the earth natural resources are also put into the Hell known as Andha-tāmisra. Atheist think that after death everything is finished, so they need not account their sinful life. (SB 5.26.9, Translation)

3. Raurava - In this life, an envious person commits violent acts against many living entities. Therefore after his death, when he is taken to hell by Yamarāja, those living entities who were hurt by him appear as animals called rurus to inflict very severe pain upon him. Learned scholars call this hell Raurava. Not generally seen in this world, the ruru is more envious than a snake. The person in the second class, however, not only thinks his material body to be his self, but also commits all kinds of sinful activities to maintain his body. He cheats everyone to acquire money for his family and his self, and he becomes envious of others without reason. Such a person is thrown into the hell known as Raurava. If one simply considers his body to be his self, as do the animals, he is not very sinful. However, if one needlessly commits sins to maintain his body, he is put into the hell known as Raurava. This is the opinion of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. Although animals are certainly in the bodily concept of life, they do not commit any sins to maintain their bodies, mates or offspring. Therefore animals do not go to hell. However, when a human being acts enviously and cheats others to maintain his body, he is put into a hellish condition. (SB 5.26.10-11, Purport)

4. Mahāraurava - This Mahāraurava, or hell, is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as a place meant for persons who are engaged in killing animals, for it is stated there that butchers or animal eaters go to that hell. Punishment in the hell called Mahāraurava is compulsory for a person who maintains his own body by hurting others. In this hell, ruru animals known as kravyāda torment him and eat his flesh. The animalistic person who lives simply in the bodily concept of life is not excused. He is put into the hell known as Mahāraurava and attacked by ruru animals known as kravyādas. (SB 5.26.12, Translation and Purport)

5. Kumbhīpāka - Kumbhī means "pot," and pāka means "boiling." So if a person were put into a pot of oil and the pot were set to boiling, he would have some idea of the suffering in Kumbhīpāka hell. A person who cooks living birds and beasts to satisfy his tongue is brought before Yamarāja after death and punished in the Kumbhīpāka hell. Kumbhīpāka, a type of hellish condition, is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.26.13), wherein it is said that a person who cooks living birds and beasts to satisfy his tongue is brought before Yamarāja after death and punished in the Kumbhīpāka hell. There he is put into boiling oil called kumbhī-pāka, from which there is no deliverance. SB 5.26.13, Translation: For the maintenance of their bodies and the satisfaction of their tongues, cruel persons cook poor animals and birds alive. Such persons are condemned even by man-eaters. In their next lives they are carried by the Yamadūtas to the hell known as Kumbhīpāka, where they are cooked in boiling oil.

6. Kālasūtra - The killer of a brāhmaṇa is put into the hell known as Kālasūtra, which has a circumference of eighty thousand miles and which is made entirely of copper. Heated from below by fire and from above by the scorching sun, the copper surface of this planet is extremely hot. Thus the murderer of a brāhmaṇa suffers from being burned both internally and externally. Internally he is burning with hunger and thirst, and externally he is burning from the scorching heat of the sun and the fire beneath the copper surface. Therefore he sometimes lies down, sometimes sits, sometimes stands up and sometimes runs here and there. He must suffer in this way for as many thousands of years as there are hairs on the body of an animal. (SB 5.26.14, Translation)

7. Asi-patravana - If a person deviates from the path of the Vedas in the absence of an emergency, the servants of Yamarāja put him into the hell called Asi-patravana, where they beat him with whips. When he runs hither and thither, fleeing from the extreme pain, on all sides he runs into palm trees with leaves like sharpened swords. Thus injured all over his body and fainting at every step, he cries out, "Oh, what shall I do now! How shall I be saved!" This is how one suffers who deviates from the accepted religious principles. If one concocts his own religious path within his mind, or if one follows no religious principles at all, he is also punished in the hell known as Asi-patravana. In other words, a human being must follow some religious principles. (SB 5.26.15, Translation, Purport)

8. Sūkaramukha - In his next life, a sinful king or governmental representative who punishes an innocent person, or who inflicts corporal punishment upon a brāhmaṇa, is taken by the Yamadūtas to the hell named Sūkaramukha, where the most powerful assistants of Yamarāja crush him exactly as one crushes sugarcane to squeeze out the juice. The sinful living entity cries very pitiably and faints, just like an innocent man undergoing punishments. This is the result of punishing a faultless person. (SB 5.26.16, Translation)

9. Andhakūpa - By the arrangement of the Supreme Lord, low-grade living beings like bugs and mosquitoes suck the blood of human beings and other animals. Such insignificant creatures are unaware that their bites are painful to the human being. However, first-class human beings—brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas—are developed in consciousness, and therefore they know how painful it is to be killed. A human being endowed with knowledge certainly commits sin if he kills or torments insignificant creatures, who have no discrimination. The Supreme Lord punishes such a man by putting him into the hell known as Andhakūpa, where he is attacked by all the birds and beasts, reptiles, mosquitoes, lice, worms, flies, and any other creatures he tormented during his life. They attack him from all sides, robbing him of the pleasure of sleep. Unable to rest, he constantly wanders about in the darkness. Thus in Andhakūpa his suffering is just like that of a creature in the lower species. (SB 5.26.17, Translation)

10. Kṛmibhojana - Any person who does not receive or feed a guest properly but who personally enjoys eating is put into the hell known as Kṛmibhojana. There an unlimited number of worms and insects continuously bite him. A person is considered no better than a crow if after receiving some food, he does not divide it among guests, old men and children, but simply eats it himself, or if he eats it without performing the five kinds of sacrifice. After death he is put into the most abominable hell, known as Kṛmibhojana. In that hell is a lake 100,000 yojanas [800,000 miles] wide and filled with worms. He becomes a worm in that lake and feeds on the other worms there, who also feed on him. Unless he atones for his actions before his death, such a sinful man remains in the hellish lake of Kṛmibhojana for as many years as there are yojanas in the width of the lake. (SB 5.26.18, Translation)

11. Sandaṁśa - My dear King, a person who in the absence of an emergency robs a brāhmaṇa—or, indeed, anyone else—of his gems and gold is put into a hell known as Sandaṁśa. There his skin is torn and separated by red-hot iron balls and tongs. In this way, his entire body is cut to pieces. (SB 5.26.19, Translation)

12. Taptasūrmi - A man or woman who indulges in sexual intercourse with an unworthy member of the opposite sex is punished after death by the assistants of Yamarāja in the hell known as Taptasūrmi. There such men and women are beaten with whips. The man is forced to embrace a red-hot iron form of a woman, and the woman is forced to embrace a similar form of a man. Such is the punishment for illicit sex. (SB 5.26.20, Translation)

13. Vajrakaṇṭaka-śālmalī - A person who indulges in sex indiscriminately—even with animals—is taken after death to the hell known as Vajrakaṇṭaka-śālmalī. In this hell there is a silk-cotton tree full of thorns as strong as thunderbolts. The agents of Yamarāja hang the sinful man on that tree and pull him down forcibly so that the thorns very severely tear his body. The sexual urge is so strong that sometimes a man indulges in sexual relations with a cow, or a woman indulges in sexual relations with a dog. Such men and women are put into the hell known as Vajrakaṇṭaka-śālmalī. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement forbids illicit sex. From the description of these verses, we can understand what an extremely sinful act illicit sex is. Sometimes people disbelieve these descriptions of hell, but whether one believes or not, everything must be carried out by the laws of nature, which no one can avoid. (SB 5.26.21, Translation and Purport)

14. Vaitaraṇī - A person who is born into a responsible family—such as a kṣatriya, a member of royalty or a government servant—but who neglects to execute his prescribed duties according to religious principles, and who thus becomes degraded, falls down at the time of death into the river of hell known as Vaitaraṇī. This river, which is a moat surrounding hell, is full of ferocious aquatic animals. When a sinful man is thrown into the River Vaitaraṇī, the aquatic animals there immediately begin to eat him, but because of his extremely sinful life, he does not leave his body. He constantly remembers his sinful activities and suffers terribly in that river, which is full of stool, urine, pus, blood, hair, nails, bones, marrow, flesh and fat. (SB 5.26.22, Translation)

15. Pūyoda - One who lives like an animal is put into the hell called Pūyoda. The shameless husbands of lowborn śūdra women live exactly like animals, and therefore they have no good behavior, cleanliness or regulated life. After death, such persons are thrown into the hell called Pūyoda, where they are put into an ocean filled with pus, stool, urine, mucus, saliva and similar things. Śūdras who could not improve themselves fall into that ocean and are forced to eat those disgusting things. Thus there is always the chance that he may be put into the Pūyoda Naraka, the hell named Pūyoda, where one is forced to eat stool, urine, pus, mucus, saliva and other abominable things. It is significant that this verse is spoken especially about śūdras. If one is born a śūdra, he must continually return to the ocean of Pūyoda to eat horrible things. Thus even a born śūdra is expected to become a brāhmaṇa; that is the meaning of human life. Everyone should improve himself. (SB 5.26.23, Translation and Purport)

16. Prāṇarodha - A person who mercilessly kills animals in the forest without sanction is put into the hell called Prāṇarodha. If in this life a man of the higher classes [brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya and vaiśya] is very fond of taking his pet dogs, mules or asses into the forest to hunt and kill animals unnecessarily, he is placed after death into the hell known as Prāṇarodha. There the assistants of Yamarāja make him their targets and pierce him with arrows. (SB 5.26.24, Translation)

17. Viśasana - A person who kills animals in the name of religious sacrifice is put into the hell named Viśasana. A person who in this life is proud of his eminent position, and who heedlessly sacrifices animals simply for material prestige, is put into the hell called Viśasana after death. There the assistants of Yamarāja kill him after giving him unlimited pain. (SB 5.26.25, Translation)

18. Lālābhakṣa - If a foolish member of the twice-born classes [brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya and vaiśya] forces his wife to drink his semen out of a lusty desire to keep her under control, he is put after death into the hell known as Lālābhakṣa. There he is thrown into a flowing river of semen, which he is forced to drink. The practice of forcing one's wife to drink one's own semen is a black art practiced by extremely lusty persons. Those who practice this very abominable activity say that if a wife is forced to drink her husband's semen, she remains very faithful to him. Generally only low-class men engage in this black art, but if a man born in a higher class does so, after death he is put into the hell known as Lālābhakṣa. There he is immersed in the river known as Śukra-nadī and forced to drink semen. (SB 5.26.26, Translation and Purport)

19. Sārameyādana - One who sets a fire or administers poison to kill someone is put into the hell known as Sārameyādana. In this world, some persons are professional plunderers who set fire to others' houses or administer poison to them. Also, members of the royalty or government officials sometimes plunder mercantile men by forcing them to pay income tax and by other methods. After death such demons are put into the hell known as Sārameyādana. On that planet there are 720 dogs with teeth as strong as thunderbolts. Under the orders of the agents of Yamarāja, these dogs voraciously devour such sinful people. Also government members who will impose unnecessary heavy taxes, especially on the mercantile community are described as dasyu, thieves. Their main activity will be to plunder the wealth of the people. Whether a highway robber or a government thief, such a man will be punished in his next life by being thrown into the hell known as Sārameyādana, where he will suffer greatly from the bites of ferocious dogs. (SB 5.26.27, Translation and Purport)

20. Avīci - A man who earns his livelihood by bearing false witness is put into the hell known as Avīci. A person who in this life bears false witness or lies while transacting business or giving charity is severely punished after death by the agents of Yamarāja. Such a sinful man is taken to the top of a mountain eight hundred miles high and thrown headfirst into the hell known as Avīcimat. This hell has no shelter and is made of strong stone resembling the waves of water. There is no water there, however, and thus it is called Avīcimat (waterless). Although the sinful man is repeatedly thrown from the mountain and his body broken to tiny pieces, he still does not die but continuously suffers chastisement. (SB 5.26.28, Translation)

21. Ayaḥpāna - A person addicted to drinking wine is put into the hell named Ayaḥpāna. Any brāhmaṇa or brāhmaṇa's wife who drinks liquor is taken by the agents of Yamarāja to the hell known as Ayaḥpāna. This hell also awaits any kṣatriya, vaiśya, or person under a vow who in illusion drinks soma-rasa. In Ayaḥpāna the agents of Yamarāja stand on their chests and pour hot melted iron into their mouths. (SB 5.26.29, Translation)

22. Kṣārakardama - A lowborn and abominable person who in this life becomes falsely proud, thinking "I am great," and who thus fails to show proper respect to one more elevated than he by birth, austerity, education, behavior, caste or spiritual order, is like a dead man even in this lifetime, and after death he is thrown headfirst into the hell known as Kṣārakardama. There he must great suffer great tribulation at the hands of the agents of Yamarāja. One should not become falsely proud. One must be respectful toward a person more elevated than he by birth, education, behavior, caste or spiritual order. If one does not show respect to such highly elevated persons but indulges in false pride, he receives punishment in Kṣārakardama. (SB 5.26.30, Translation and Purport)

23. Rakṣogaṇa-bhojana - A person who sacrifices human beings to Bhairava is put into the hell called Rakṣogaṇa-bhojana. There are men and women in this world who sacrifice human beings to Bhairava or Bhadra Kālī and then eat their victims' flesh. Those who perform such sacrifices are taken after death to the abode of Yamarāja, where their victims, having taken the form of Rākṣasas, cut them to pieces with sharpened swords. Just as in this world the man-eaters drank their victims' blood, dancing and singing in jubilation, their victims now enjoy drinking the blood of the sacrificers and celebrating in the same way. (SB 5.26.31)

24. Śūlaprota - A person who kills pet animals is put into the hell called Śūlaprota. In this life some people give shelter to animals and birds that come to them for protection in the village or forest, and after making them believe that they will be protected, such people pierce them with lances or threads and play with them like toys, giving them great pain. After death such people are brought by the assistants of Yamarāja to the hell known as Śūlaprota, where their bodies are pierced with sharp, needlelike lances. They suffer from hunger and thirst, and sharp-beaked birds such as vultures and herons come at them from all sides to tear at their bodies. Tortured and suffering, they can then remember the sinful activities they committed in the past. (SB 5.26.32, Translation)

25. Dandaśūka - A person who gives trouble to others is put into the hell known as Dandaśūka. Those who in this life are like envious serpents, always angry and giving pain to other living entities, fall after death into the hell known as Dandaśūka. My dear King, in this hell there are serpents with five or seven hoods. These serpents eat such sinful persons just as snakes eat mice. (SB 5.26.33, Translation)

26. Avaṭa-nirodhana - One who imprisons a living entity within a cave is put into this hell. Those who in this life confine other living entities in dark wells, granaries or mountain caves are put after death into the hell known as Avaṭa-nirodhana. There they themselves are pushed into dark wells, where poisonous fumes and smoke suffocate them and they suffer very severely. (SB 5.26.34, Translation)

27. Paryāvartana - A person who shows unwarranted wrath toward a guest in his house is put into the hell called Paryāvartana. A householder who receives guests or visitors with cruel glances, as if to burn them to ashes, is put into the hell called Paryāvartana, where he is gazed at by hard-eyed vultures, herons, crows and similar birds, which suddenly swoop down and pluck out his eyes with great force. According to the Vedic etiquette, even an enemy who comes to a householder's home should be received in such a gentle way that he forgets that he has come to the home of an enemy. A guest who comes to one's home should be received very politely. If he is unwanted, the householder should not stare at him with blinking eyes, for one who does so will be put into the hell known as Paryāvartana after death, and there many ferocious birds like vultures, crows, and coknis will suddenly come upon him and pluck out his eyes. (SB 5.26.35, Translation and Purport)

28. Sūcīmukha - A person maddened by possessing riches and thus deeply absorbed in thinking of how to collect money is put into the hell known as Sūcīmukha. One who in this world or this life is very proud of his wealth always thinks, "I am so rich. Who can equal me?" His vision is twisted, and he is always afraid that someone will take his wealth. Indeed, he even suspects his superiors. His face and heart dry up at the thought of losing his wealth, and therefore he always looks like a wretched fiend. He is not in any way able to obtain actual happiness, and he does not know what it is to be free from anxiety. Because of the sinful things he does to earn money, augment his wealth and protect it, he is put into the hell called Sūcīmukha, where the officials of Yamarāja punish him by stitching thread through his entire body like weavers manufacturing cloth. (SB 5.26.36, Translation)


SB 5.26.37: My dear King Parīkṣit, in the province of Yamarāja there are hundreds and thousands of hellish planets. The impious people I have mentioned — and also those I have not mentioned — must all enter these various planets according to the degree of their impiety. Those who are pious, however, enter other planetary systems, namely the planets of the demigods. Nevertheless, both the pious and impious are again brought to earth after the results of their pious or impious acts are exhausted.


way leading to hell - road to Yamas abode

Road leading to Hell - Way to Yamas abode

 

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