Just as there can be no sorrow in heaven, there can be no true and lasting happiness in hell. All people believe the former to be true, but in the case of the latter, most people think that there can be and is some joy in hell.
We can examine if that is true. Heaven is said to be a place where sorrow is unheard of. Its inhabitants enjoy health, wealth and happiness. They have loving relationships, all the comforts they need, and no wants or worries.
But even in heaven, everyone is happy according to their status. The ruler or a nobleman will certainly possess more wealth and means of comfort than an ordinary citizen. While all will be free from pain or distress, their standing in society, lifestyle, possessions, etc. will be different. In other words, each one will be happy in his or her own way and to a different degree.
Similarly, people in today’s world experience sorrow in various ways. As a result, those with less sorrow feel happier than those who have more woes. It is widely held that the more money one has the happier one can be. At the same time it is recognised that money cannot buy happiness.
Wealth does give us more means of comfort that make life easier and more enjoyable. It also widens one’s choices with regard to education, training, career and lifestyle.
If one has money, one can live in relative security and comfort, avoiding hardship and privations, and with some luck have a career of one’s choice. Lack of financial resources puts many things beyond one’s reach. An individual born into poverty, particularly in countries that provide no social security to their citizens, is deprived of opportunities from the outset.
He may not have access to adequate health care, which will have an impact on his physical well-being. Lack of resources or awareness can also lead to malnutrition, which affects a child’s physical as well as mental development.
This in turn has an adverse impact on a child’s ability to learn. This, coupled with the handicap of living in a social environment where one’s peers as well as adults may not appreciate the value of formal education, results in poor academic performance. That narrows the child’s prospects of getting higher education, vocational training and employment. Such an individual thus ends up having a poorer quality of life than those who are better off. This, however, does not mean that the well-heeled are guaranteed unalloyed happiness. Far from it.
Happiness is a temporary experience for everyone in this world. Conditions are such that no one can be completely happy all the time unless one trains the mind to remain positive in every situation.
A look at the headlines of newspapers on any day gives one an idea of what kind of world one is living in. Crime, corruption, violence, insecurity and the political, economic, environmental and moral crises afflicting mankind hardly give cause for comfort. While wealth can buy material comforts and help one weather some of the vagaries of life, it cannot end the insecurity and anxiety that often crop up in a world where uncertainties are increasing.
Those who are rich, powerful, influential, intelligent or exceptionally talented are as likely to fall ill or meet with an accident as anybody else. Almost anyone can fall victim to a terrorist attack or natural calamity. And even if one is fortunate not to experience any of the above misfortunes, one’s relationships can be a source of grief or vexation.
Happiness is a temporary experience for everyone in this world. Conditions are such that no one can be completely happy all the time unless one trains the mind to remain positive in every situation. In order to be able to enjoy lasting joy, we need to address the root cause of unhappiness.
Nothing in life happens without a reason. All our experiences are the product of our thinking and actions. Thoughts, words and actions are seeds, and they bear fruit of the same quality as the seed. Unpleasant and painful experiences are the result of negative actions performed under the influence of vices. In heaven all souls are free from vices and therefore they know no suffering. This is the secret of eternal joy.
Liberating the self from the influence of vices is made possible by remembrance of God, the Merciful, Loving Purifier. His divine energy cleanses the soul of all the dirt it has accumulated in the course of its journey in the world. It strengthens the soul so that it no longer resorts to vices to deal with situations, and instead acts on the basis of its original qualities of peace, love, purity, truth, happiness, power and bliss.
This process of purification ultimately makes the soul divine. Such a soul can do no wrong and experience no sorrow. When a critical number of members of the human family reach this status, a transformation takes place whereby the world becomes heaven – the land of everlasting joy.