When I say Heavens – What picture comes to your mind?
A serene place with beautiful natural elements like mountains, lakes, flowing river, greenery and chirping of the birds etc! Actually all things good. As humans, we believe that heavens is a perfect place. Heaven or heavens is believed to be a place where God ,angels, spirits and saints live. It’s a transcdent supernatural place and almost every religion has endorsed this place.
It’s a belief that heavenly beings do come to earth as incarnations and earthlings go to heaven in afterlife. Heavens is supposed to be the good place, a paradise and accessible to humans after life if they have accrued enough good deeds. In short, we can say that heavens is believed to be the Kingdom of God.
There are many versions explained by philosphers based on the religious books . But more or less, they all describe it as the most beautiful place where the God lives.
In Christianity , heavens is described as a place where a crystal clear river flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb [Jesus] down the middle of the city. On each side of the river there is a tree of life, yielding twelve kinds of fruit every month. The streets are made of pure gold. The walls of the city are adorned with every kind of jewel, emerald, onyx, amethyst, topaz, etc. The Lord is present as light.
According to the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagvad Gita and the Puranas , heaven or hell is situated somewhere up there. The king of gods, Indra reigns in heaven and the Lord of death, Yama rules hell.
What’s heaven like?
Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh, India described heaven based on the Puranas: “The “Swarg” of the Hindus is called heavens. It is a place where the departed souls go to reap the fruits of their virtuous deeds. They remain there for some time till the fruits of their virtuous actions are exhausted. Then they come back to this earthly world. They eat in heaven the divine feasts of the Devas. They move in celestial cars. Indra is the Lord of heaven or Swarg. Various kinds of Devas (gods) dwell here. Celestial damsels like Urvasi, Rambha dance here. The Gandharvas sing. There is no disease here. There is no trouble of hunger and thirst. The inhabitants are endowed with a brilliant subtle body. They are adorned with shining garments. Heaven is a thought-world, a realm of intense ideations. Whatever one wishes, he gets it at once, by immediate materialization. So it is a happier world than the earth-plane.
Although the above descriptions of heaven very much resemble like their descriptions in the western religions, there is one fundamental difference. Hindu heaven (or hell) is not a final dwelling place for an individual soul as stated in the western religions. After the term of good or bad deeds are over, even the most pious or the most evil person is turned out of heaven or hell as the case may be to once again participate in the cycle of reincarnation until he or she reaches moksha or liberation from the endless chain of deaths and rebirths.
Has any human being ever visited heavens and came back to earth to tell us the details?
Yes. I will share two instances and share the first hand experience.
My father had a very clear memory of his visit to heaven when he was in his thirties. He was a scientist in a veterinary vaccine institute. One day, while working in the laboratoty, an ampule pierced through his finger. As this is nerve rich area, he immediately fainted. After that, he saw two persons in white clothes held his arms and started rising above with the speed of light. As he saw below, he saw his own body lying on a table top of the laboratory, his colleagues and a doctor examining him. The two angels took him in front oa a very bright light. Papa said that the light was so bright as if thousands of suns are shining. But it was a very soothing light and the whole place has very unusual calmness and peace. He could not see the face as the light was very strong and he could barely open his eyes. The light asked papa’s name from the angels. On hearing his name, light said in a very deep voice, no he is not the person to be brought. They dropped papa and he came down with still higher speed. As soon as he entered his body, he could hear what doctor and others were talking. When he came to senses, the doctor was giving papa CPR. It’s a miracle Dr. Vinay, there was no heart beat , no pulse for some time. The experience remained with papa all through his life. He still vividly remembered every detail even at 89 years.
I have recently seen a movie – ” Heaven is for Real” which is made on real incident based on the experience of based on Pastor Todd Burpo. In this a four year old went to heaven while he was being operated upon. He met Jesus, the elder relatives of his family whome he had never met or even heard about. He even met his unborn sister, who had no name.
I have read about many near death experience. They usually meet their dead relatives and God according to their belief here on the earth.
Are there separate heavens for different religions?
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