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Heaven or Hell

One day a sage was deep in penance in a forest inside a cave. His prayer attracted the God towards him. God appeared before him and asked him what he wishes to have.

"Oh! God, this humble sage wants to see how people live in heaven and in hell. Whether the lord would take me there for me to see".

"O.K, which one you want to see first heaven or hell".

"Oh, God, take me to hell first and then to heaven. When I return back I should have sweet memories heaven lingering in me so let me see heaven lastly.

"O.K., come with me". So the sage is lifted up and into the sky they vanish. Sage is taken to the hell and is left out there. "Here it is" now you can go around this hell and see yourself". Thus God leaves him.

The sage finds a beautiful palace, there is good fragrance of sandal wood, flowers etc. The saint wonders whether this is hell or heaven. Have been left at a wrong place, this looks to be heaven. Thinking so he meets a watchman before the palace who is having a big and think wood-cutter like sword held over his shoulder. He has big moustache and looks very fiercesome. The sage explains to him that he has come to see heaven and hell. And asks him, "Is this a hell it seems to be heaven?".

The watchmen grumbles in a roaring voice. "I know for what you have come, this is the hell", replies the watchman. "Come with me I will show more what is in this hell".

By this time a bell rings and there are lot of people who rush towards a big hall pushing one another. They occupy the row seats and sit before a lengthy table, just as you see in any Kalyana Mantapa-marriage function. A big plaintain leaf is put before them. Then comes white hot rice with steam emitting from them. The fragrant smell of rice could be felt by the sage. Then comes the hot sambar, the plaintain leaf then filled up with all varities of vegetables and colourful sweets. For the first time the saint sees such a wonderful lunch with such a variety of dishes.

The sage asks the watchman, is this hell or heaven? People are getting so good a food here. At this the watchman roars with a coarse voice. Can't you simply watch. Just keep quiet and watch what is happening here". Some other workers come there with big sticks three feet in length and ropes. "What are those for" asks the sage. "Jjust keep quiet and watch, mutters the watchman in a commanding voice". . The sage obeys the orders of watchman and looks about what really is happening. The workers keep the three feet lengthy stick on everybody's hands and it is tied with a rope. Now no one is able to bend their hands. Everyone are able to mix the rice and sambar but they are unable to take the food to their mouth. Even though food is in plenty no one is able to eat it. Sage now thinks, what a hell is it. You have plenty of food before you but you are unable to eat it. This really is HELL.

Sage then says to the watchman, "it is enough watching hell, now I know what really hell is, take me to the heaven.

So he is transported to heaven. There too he finds the same type of palace same type of hall and also same type of foods are served. The sage thought, Oh, how nice it is to spend our life here having such a good hot delicious variety of food and sweets.

Just then the sage sees workers coming with the same type of three feet lengthy sticks with rope and they tie the hands of all the people sitting before the food.

The sage asks the watchman, "why in heaven too people hands are tied?"

"Don't you ever ask questions, wait and see".

The sage suddenly could see everyone eating food. Though they are unable to bend their hands. How! they take the food and they feed the other person beside them. Each one does the same and all are able to finish their lunch.

So this is the difference between people in the hell and heaven. In heaven people have this helping tendencies and they help each other. But in hell their mind never works in this way since they have no helping tendencies. They lived their life so in the earth and thus suffer in hell.

Thus helping others you would profit everone. Having learnt this lesson the sage comes back to the earth and spends rest of his life helping others and preaching them how by helping others you could help yourself.


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