“I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And by and by my Soul return’d to me,
And answer’d: ‘I Myself am Heav’n and Hell”
-Omar Khayyam

The more I ruminate on these lines the more they pull me into the depths of the elusive wisdom with which these lines were written. It’s only when the mind gets engulfed by quietude and surrenders to the void of the Absolute that such profound words flow through it. Heaven & Hell! What’s the definition of Heaven; and where is that dreaded, torturous and agonizing place called Hell located? What makes us worthy of Heaven and what causes our downfall to the trenches of Hell?

“The mind is it’s own place and in itself, can make heaven of hell, a hell of heaven”

Firstly, it’s imperative that we don’t confuse heaven and hell as places out there where we are sent either to be rewarded or punished based on our deeds and karma. They are just manifestations of our state of mind. Indicators of our heart’s contentment and dissatisfaction, of our non-attachment and attachment. For any person who is satisfied with their circumstances is in heaven, because such a person is free from lust, anger and greed. And where there is dissatisfaction & discontentment; such a person is bound to tread the path that eventually leads to their spiritual downfall. And no matter how many worldly pleasures and opulences such a dissatisfied person is bestowed with, their state of mind will always remain like hell.
Eventually we get to this subtle understanding that neither heaven is the rise of hell, nor hell is the fall of heaven. Because heaven is nothing but the dream of the one who is suffering in hell. The moment the hell within us collapses, the longing for heaven also ends at that very moment.

And the place where the difference between heaven and hell cease to exist is called Liberation. The abode of the Absolute. The cessation of existence, the emergence of simply being. The experience of bliss, the bliss of experiencing..

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Riddhima Sharma

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