HELL in Rig Veda and Tamil Veda!(Post No.4405)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 17 NOVEMBER 2017

 

Time uploaded in London- 20-33

 

 

Post No. 4405

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.

 

Hell and Heaven figure prominently in Hindu mythology. We read about in the oldest book in the world Rig Veda! There is not a single religious scripture without a reference to the hell. References to Hell are found in the Sangam Tamil literature and post Sangam Tamil book Tirukkural, the Tamil Veda.

 

Though later Hindu scriptures refer to various hells, Rig Veda only one hell is mentioned. It is a dark place; but no mention of torture or suffering is there. We read, “knowing he beholds all creatures; he hurls the hated and the irreligious into abyss” (RV 9-73)

 

In Manu Smrti, the Hindu Law Book, 21 hells are enumerated. Some of the name of the hells are: Darkness, Frightful, Burning, Place of Spikes, Frying Pan, Thorny Tree, Sword Leaved Forest and Place of Iron Fetters.

A liar would go to Raurava (dreadful) hell. He who kills a cow would go to the Rodha hell (hell of obstruction).

A horse stealer falls into the red hot iron hell. The wicked person who eats food before offering it to gods or ancestors or guests falls into where, instead of food, saliva is given to him. ( My comments: If people followed this rule and shared their food there woudn’t be any poverty, any beggar or communism in the world!).

TREE CUTTING – A SIN!

He who cuts down trees goes to the Hell of Sword Leaved Trees. So much environmental awareness was there during Manu’s days! Manu has listed the hells to fit each crime perfectly. He is a great law maker.

 

I have already the Bhavishya Purana story” about tortures in the heaven:–

“Yama was exceedingly pleased with a girl named Vijaya, a Brahmin’s daughter. When she first saw him she was greatly alarmed, alike at his appearance and on learning who he was. At length he allayed her fears and he consented to marry him.

 

On her arrival at Yama’s city, her husband cautioned her and assured her all would be well if she never visited the southern portion of kingdom. After a while curiosity overpowered her, and thinking that a rival wife may live in the Southern region and that is why Yama asked her never to visit that area, she visited the forbidden region.

 

There she saw the torments of the wicked, and alas! amongst these she recognised her own mother. Greatly distressed she appealed to Yama to release her mother but Yama told her that was impossible unless someone living on earth perform a certain sacrifice, and transfer the act of the merit of the act to this poor woman then suffering. After some difficulty, a woman was found willing to perform the sacrifice, and Vijaya obtained her release.”

 

Siva Purana gives a list of 28 types of hell. Each one has five levels!

 

A Scene from Heaven

 

HELL in Tamil Literature

Tamils have pure Tamil words for the hell, not Tamilized Sanskrit words. This shows that the belief was very old and independent of any Puranic influence. Alaru and Nirayam are found in Tirukkural (Tamil Veda) and Pura Nanuru (Sangam Tamil Book).

NIRAYAM (hell) – Aka Nanuru-67, Pura Nanuru -5

There are more references to Heaven in Tamil. They looked more at the positive side of the life.

From the Tamil Veda Tirukkural

ALARU (hell):- Kural 255, 835 and 919

“Abstinence from meat-eating contributes to this maintenance of life. Therefore if  a man has once committed the sin of eating meat the HELL which swallowed him will not open its mouth again to release him _ Kural 255

In one brief birth a fool can gain

Enough HELL for seven births pain- Kural 835

The delicate shoulders of harlots with fine jewels are a HELL into which are plunged the ignorant vile- 919

 

Jeevaka Chintamani, one of the Five Tamil Epics, also has reference to hell in several places (E.g.1235)

 

Tamil and Sanskrit inscriptions curse those who defile or harm the inscriptions or the things mentioned in it to go to hell.

 

Scriptures like Bhagavad Gita have lot of references and one of them is as follows:

The gateway of this HELL leading to the ruin of the soul is three fold, lust, anger and greed Therefore these three, one should abandon. The man who is released from these, the three gates to darkness, Arjuna, does what is good for his soul and then reaches the highest gate.

It is very interesting to see the belief of sinners going to hell is found from the Rig Veda to latest poems in Tamil.

 

(Mr Rajendra Gupta has commented that NIRAYA for hell is a Sanskrit word. Thanks)

–Subham–

 

 

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