Heaven and Hell are closer than you think

Acharya Prashant
12 min readMar 25, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Acharya Prashant (AP): The best thing would have been a non-dual state in which no association holds any meaning. There exists nobody else to associate with. There is nobody else at all and that state is blissful beyond all imaginations of the best of heavens. Even heaven is confined by the depiction and definition of what heaven means.

Therefore, liberation is a place higher and better than heaven. Heaven has a depiction and definition and therefore heaven has its boundaries and where there are boundaries there is sorrow. Liberation has neither depiction nor definition and liberation is freedom from all boundaries and therefore all sorrow.

Theoretically, it is possible to be liberated even from hell but difficult. Therefore, this is a graded approach; Heaven, and above heaven is… and below heaven is? Hell. We live in? Hell. We live in hell; we are being told how to graduate to heaven and if you make good use of heaven then you’ll be liberated even from heaven.

What is heaven? The company of holiness is heaven. Company of holiness is heaven. Be with someone who will not solve your problem but will demonstrate your problem to be false. That is heaven. Heaven is a place where you get no sympathies for being problemed. Hell is a place where your problemed self is ratified. Do not think of hell as a place where you would be cruelly dealt with. All the usual, comic book depictions of hell are exactly that. A kid’s fantasy or nightmare. Immense scoundrels, full of boiling oil, and slaves being dealt with whiplashes. Right? Monsters out to suck your blood that’s what we think hell is. Hell is not that.

Hell is a place where you get a lot of sympathy, consolation, condolence, commiseration. You’re told that we agree that you are in a miserable state. Your neighbor comes to you, puts his hand on your shoulder, and with a grave face tells you that you are indeed in deep trouble. That’s hell. What has been done? Your belief in your problemed existence has been deepened. Your problem is not that you have problems. Your problem is that you think you are the one who can have problems and these two are very different things. Very different things.