Editor’s Note: The Mother illuminates in these passages that heaven and hell were invented by religions to control people and also to make them wise. She adds that the creative power of human thought gives an illusory existence of heaven and hell to people who believe in them but only the psychic world can be a true paradise.
Inventions to make people wise
Question: After death people enter the vital world, but those who do good go to paradise?
The Mother: [. . .] It is generally what religious priests say to the faithful to encourage them to do good. For it is a notorious fact that life is not more easy for the good than for the wicked; usually it is the contrary: the wicked succeed better than the good! So people who are not very spiritual say to themselves: “Why should I take the trouble of being good? It is better to be wicked and have an easy life.”
It is very difficult to make them understand that there are many kinds of good and that sometimes it is worth the trouble perhaps to make an effort to be good. So to make this intelligible to the least intelligent, they are told:
There, it is very simple. If you are quite obedient, quite nice, quite unselfish, if you always do good deeds, and if you believe in the dogmas we teach, well, when you die, God will send you to Paradise.
If you have sometimes good will, sometimes bad, if, sometimes you do good, sometimes you don’t and if you think very much of yourself and very little of others, then when you die, you will be sent to Purgatory for another experience.
And then if you are thoroughly wicked, if you are always doing harm to others, doing all kinds of bad things and you do not care about the good of anyone and particularly if you do not believe in the dogma that we teach you, then you will go straight to Hell and for eternity.
This is one of the prettiest inventions I have ever heard of: they have invented eternal hell.
That is to say, once you are in hell, it is for eternity…. You understand what that means, for eternity? You will be tortured and burnt (in the hot countries you are burnt, in the cold countries you are frozen), and that for eternity. That is it. So I do not know who taught you those pretty things; but they are simply inventions to make people obey, to keep them under control.
There are teachings which are not like that. There are religions which are not like that.
But still one can, in a poetic, picturesque, descriptive manner speak of a paradise; because this paradise means a wonderful place where there is utmost joy and happiness and comfort…. And yet that depends upon the religion to which you belong. For there are heavens where you pass your time singing praises to God, you do nothing else—but in the end that must be somewhat wearisome; however, there you pass your time playing music and singing the praises of God.
There are other heavens, on the contrary, where you enjoy all possible pleasures, all that you desired to have during your life, you have in heaven. There are heavens where you are constantly in blissful meditation but—for people who are not keen on meditating, that must be rather tiresome. However, that depends, you know: they have invented all kinds of things so that people may really want to be wise and obey the laws given to them.
Psychic world – the true paradise
And man’s imagination is so creative, such a form-maker, that there really are in the world places like these heavens. There are places also like these hells and there are places like these purgatories. Man creates out of nothing the things he imagines.
If your consciousness is enlightened, then you can be pulled out of these places; otherwise you are shut up, imprisoned there by the very belief you had when alive. You will tell me that it is equal to a life, but it is an altogether illusory and extremely limited existence.
It is real only for those who think like that.
As soon as you think differently, it does not exist for you any longer; you can come out of it. You can pull a person out of these places, and immediately he perceives that he was imprisoned in his own formation.
Man has an extraordinary power of creation. He has created a whole set of godheads in his own image, having the same faults as himself, doing on a bigger scale, with greater power whatever he does. These beings have a relative existence, but still it is an independent existence, just like your thought.
[. . .]
In any case, to come back to our paradise, it is a childish deformation—ignorant or political—of something which is true in a sense but not quite like that.
[. . .]
If you have united your consciousness with the psychic consciousness, when you die you remain conscious of your psychic being and the psychic being returns to the psychic world which is a world of bliss and delight and peace and tranquillity and of a growing knowledge.
So, if you like to call that a paradise, it is all right; because in fact, to the extent to which you are identified with your psychic being, you remain conscious of it, you are one with it, and it is immortal and goes to its immortal domain to enjoy a perfectly happy life or rest.
If you like to call that paradise, call it paradise.
If you are good, if you have become conscious of your psychic and live in it, well, when your body dies, you will go with your psychic being to take rest in the psychic world, in a blissful state.
But if you have lived in your vital with all its impulses, each impulse will try to realise itself here and there…. For example, a miser who is concentrated upon his money, when he dies, the part of the vital that was interested in his money will be stuck there and will continue to watch over the money so that nobody may take it. People do not see him, but he is there all the same, and is very unhappy if something happens to his precious money.
~ The Mother, (CWM, Vol. 5, p. 129-134)
Heaven and hell – at once real and unreal
Question: Do Heaven and Hell exist?
The Mother: Heaven and Hell are at once real and unreal. They both exist and do not exist.
Human thought is creative; it gives more or less lasting forms to mental, vital and even subtle physical substance. These forms are appearances rather than realities; but for those whose thoughts they are, and still more for those who believe in them, they have a concrete enough existence to give them an illusion of reality.
Thus, for the believers of religions which assert the existence of a hell, a paradise, or various heavens, these places do exist objectively, and when they die they can go there for a longer or shorter period. But still these things are only impermanent mental formations; they carry no eternal truth in themselves.
– The Mother (CWM, Vol. 10, p. 64-65)
Question: Is there such a thing as hell?
The Mother: Yes, there are hells that are formed by human thought which exist in certain regions of the vital world.
~ The Mother (CWM, Vol. 17, p. 105)
In these invisible worlds there are also regions which are the result of human mental formations. One can find there all one wants. In fact, one very often finds there exactly what one expects to find.
There are hells, there are paradises, there are purgatories. There are all sorts of things in accordance with the different religions and their conceptions. These things have only a very relative existence, but with a relativity similar to that of material things here; that is to say, for someone who finds himself there, they are entirely real and their effects quite tangible.
One needs an inner liberation, a wideness of the consciousness and a contact with a deeper and higher truth to be able to escape from the illusion of their reality.
But this is something almost similar to what happens here: human beings here are mostly convinced that the only reality is the physical reality―the reality of what one can touch, can see―and for them, all that cannot be seen, cannot be touched, cannot be felt, is after all, problematical; well, what happens there is an identical phenomenon.
People who at the moment of death are convinced, for one reason or another, that they are going to paradise or maybe to hell, do find themselves there after their death; and for them it is truly a paradise or a hell. And it is extremely difficult to make them come out of it and go to a place which is more true, more real.
~ The Mother (CWM, Vol. 8, p. 217-218)
~ Design: Raamkumar