Naraka is the Hindi name for hell. Hell as we all know is the place where souls go after death. It is said that when one does a lot of sins in this life then they are sent to hell. In the hell the souls are punished and tortured for the sins that they have done during their life time. We will now discuss what is naraka? In more detail so that you get a better idea as to what our scriptures have to say about it.
What Does Naraka Mean?
This is primarily a Sanskrit word. It means the underworld. The concept is present in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.
The concept has basically come from the Vedas. The Vedas clearly mention that the naraka is the place where the souls are sent to get rid of the sins that they have done during their life time. When you read the vedas and the Upanishads you will find the mention of naraka many a times. It is described as a place that is dark. It is very close to the core of the earth as a result it is very hot.
The lord of death Yama decides what would be the appropriate punishment for the souls. There are many punishments that are designed like putting the soul in burning water or oil. Once after these tortures the souls are made free of all the sins. These souls are set free and they can get Moksha.
Moksha means salvation. Other souls once they are purified of the sins are born again and they live another life on earth. The reincarnation also depends on the deeds. A person who did good deeds will get a better life and vice versa.
The duration of the punishment and the tortures are decided by the lord of death Yama. When the sins are more the duration of the torture is longer and vice versa. Yama has an assistant named Chitragupta. He keeps a track of all the sins and the good deeds that one commits during life time.
When a dead person goes to Chitragupat he decides if the person should be sent to haven (swarg) or hell (naraka). He also decides what should be the duration of the punishment or torture. There are many characters from the epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana who have spent some time in hell. This was just to ensure that they are purified of the sins that they have committed.
The same concept of naraka is found in Buddhism and Jainism. Interesting perhaps this was one of the ways that the saints in the olden days thought would ensure that people don’t get into wrong deeds. The fear of naraka would also ensure that no one does or commits any sins. This would help people live a better and pure life.
This would make people more religious. I hope we have been able to explain what Naraka is. This is basically an idea about the naraka as it is explained in the scriptures. However, with time people really don’t fear about going to naraka. That is exactly why there are so many sins that are happening around. Some people also say that heaven and hell are on earth itself.