Gurbani Defines Hell and Heaven

Many aspects of organized and institutionalized religions (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ) are myths, fantasies, hearsays, impractical, unnatural and laughable that defy commonsense, but we believe anyway.

Gurmat is NOT a religion (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ) like other worldly religions. In fact, Sikhi is a distinct Way of life based on the Gurmat Wisdom of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS).

Hence, often misunderstood, Sikhi is not a combination or offshoot of any other worldly religions. It’s a revolutionary ‘Soch‘ (thinking) of all 35 revolutionary writers whose Baanee (ਬਾਣੀ) or hymns are present in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS). They brought the storm of Wisdom (Giaan-ਗਿਆਨ) to ‘blow away the thatched hut of doubt‘. They hit hard on the self-serving and corrupt clergy (Pujaaree system) of all organized religions (Mazhab-ਮਜ਼ਹਬ).

Gurmat talks about the life in present moment. It teaches us technique how to live life NOW, NOT nonsense such as after death life; after death hell or heaven; after death Sachkhand, separate god from man; illogical religious Karamkaand and paraphernalia, and so on.

History reveals that in any group or country, the organized religion, ruling class, government, judiciary, army or militia, commerce (business, traders etc.) and schooling (teachers etc.) are programmed to work in concert to keep the majority under the control of this small minority.

This control starts with the organized religion which seeks to control human mind. This starts with the idea of an all knowing god who is SEPARATE from man ‘up there’ somewhere!

Using powerful emotions, organized religion through the paid priests and clerics (Pujaaree) constantly bribes the human mind of afterlife rewards in fictitious ‘HEAVEN’, and scares of severe punishments here and hereafter in fictitious ‘HELL’ for non compliance.

This is designed to create fear in people’s minds. Although by doing so the Pujaaree misleads humanity, however, Pujaaree makes an easy living off this business (ਧੰਧਾ, ਰੋਟੀਆਂ ਦਾ ਜਰੀਆ) in the name of god and religion.

  • ਕਾਦੀ ਕੂੜੁ ਬੋਲਿ ਮਲੁ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਾਹਮਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਜੀਆ ਘਾਇ ॥ ਜੋਗੀ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਣੈ ਅੰਧੁ ॥ ਤੀਨੇ ਓਜਾੜੇ ਕਾ ਬੰਧੁ ॥੨॥: Qazi (a judge who makes decisions based on religion, Sharia etc.) tells lies (i.e. collects money taking bribe by making unjust and wrong decisions), which is like eating ‘MALU’ (i.e. eating Haraam-ਹਰਾਮ ਦਾ ਮਾਲ, inner filth / impurity / bonds which limit the mind preventing it from knowing its True Nature or Jot Saroop etc.). The Brahmin priest slays people through his Thug-education (ਠੱਗ ਵਿਦਿਆ), then pretends to be pure by performing Ishnaan (i.e. ritual bathing). The Yogi is (mentally) blind, and does not know the way of life (i.e. the Jogi has left the house and gone into hiding in Jungles, caves, mountaintops etc.). These three (i.e. religious leaders or Pujaaree of all religions) are destroying society (destroying people’s mind, people’s progress and spiritual life etc. by leading them astray from the Way of Truth.) ||2|| (sggs 662).

In order to impart the Truth (ਸਚ) and awaken us from the slumber of foolishness, all 35 contributors of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) have used terms that were already within the use and within the psyche of people of their time.

However, such terms — for example ‘hell’ and ‘heaven’ etc. — have been used in the SGGS as examples (ਹਵਾਲਾ), but explicitly with new meanings and understanding to fit the new spiritual paradigms of Sikhi or Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS.

The Gurbani is NOT meant to regurgitate outdated, irrelevant, illogical, fictitious, stone-age thinking, concocted stories (ਗੱਪ- ਕਹਾਣੀਆਂ) or imaginary nonsense that existed at the time of the Gurus and Bhagats.

  • ਚਾਰੇ ਵੇਦ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੇ ਕਉ ਦੀਏ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਕਰੇ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥ ਤਾ ਕਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਬਪੁੜਾ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਅਵਤਾਰੀ ॥੬॥: Brahma was given four Vedas, to read and reflecting on them. (But) the poor did not understand its Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature), instead he remained stuck in thinking about heaven and hell. ||6|| (sggs 423).

Instead, the Gurbani tells us hell and heaven are right Here and Now, not after death of the physical body.

So, a Sikh (learner-ਸਿਖਿਆਰਥੀ)…) does not have to wait until after death to have a final judgment on hell or heaven. It’s all within, HERE and NOW! BECAUSE, heaven or hell is a state of the mind. By changing thinking (thoughts, ਸੋਚ, ਵਿਚਾਰਧਾਰਾ), one can either suffer hellish life Here and Now or enjoy heavenly life by merging back into our Mool or Jot Saroop or Ocean (Sukh Saagar).

  • ਕਾਇਆ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਜਗਜੀਵਨ ਦਾਤਾ ਵਸੈ ਸਭਨਾ ਕਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਤਿਪਾਲਾ ॥: All (Sukh) of planets, galaxies and nether regions is present in the body/mind. (sggs 754).

Since man is not contented with simplicity, he has made his life complicated and complex. As a result, so many religions have come into existence with their fictitious or imaginary stuff and their own complex, impractical and unnatural adherents and antagonists! Although most of these religions often start good but later turn bad, and fork up into smaller and smaller sub groups or sects when they fall in the hands of those who want name and gain, or when a group or individuals collectively decide that their current version of organized religion does not work for them.

Over time, fictitious or imaginary stuff gets stuck in the mind and becomes the greatest mental ailment. Unfortunately, this mental ailment seems to afflict the intelligent (so called religious scholars and learned etc.) more than the unintelligent! Thus not easy to cure.


From the very childhood we are bombarded with the notion that somewhere ‘up there’ or ‘there yonder’ exist afterlife and otherworldly hell and heaven. Let’s consider this Shabad of Bhagat Kabeer Ji:

  • ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ਚਲਨ ਕਹਤ ਹੈ ਊਹਾਂ ॥ ਨਾ ਜਾਨਉ ਬੈਕੁੰਠੁ ਹੈ ਕਹਾਂ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਆਪ ਆਪ ਕਾ ਮਰਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾਂ ॥ ਬਾਤਨ ਹੀ ਬੈਕੁੰਠੁ ਬਖਾਨਾਂ ॥੧॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਮਨ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਕੀ ਆਸ ॥ ਤਬ ਲਗੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਚਰਨ ਨਿਵਾਸ ॥੨॥ ਖਾਈ ਕੋਟੁ ਨ ਪਰਲ ਪਗਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਾ ਜਾਨਉ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਦੁਆਰਾ ॥੩॥ ਕਹਿ ਕਮੀਰ ਅਬ ਕਹੀਐ ਕਾਹਿ ॥ ਸਾਧਸੰਗਤਿ ਬੈਕੁੰਠੈ ਆਹਿ ॥੪॥੮॥੧੬॥: Everyone talks of going there. (But) no one knows where heaven is. ||1|| Pause ||. (They) have not found the secret of themselves (i.e. they don’t even know who they are, but) they think that as if they have reached heaven by talking alone (ਨਿਰੀਆਂ ਗੱਪਾ – useless talk etc.). ||1|| As long as the mind hopes for heaven, till then one cannot dwell at the Charan’ (divine feet = Wisdom or Giaan). ||2|| (I don’t know) what kind of moat is there around heaven fort (of these people), what kind of city it is, what kind of wall it is. I don’t know what door is like (of the heaven of these people). ||3|| Says Kabeer, now what more can I say (these people do not understand that there is no heaven ahead). ‘Saadhsangati’ (the Association of – Wisdom, Virtues, pious people, Gurmukhs, ਨੇਕ ਇਨਸਾਨ…) alone is heaven (and that heaven is here and now). ||4||8||16|| (sggs 1161).

In exoteric thinking, hell is often viewed as place of extreme suffering, blazing fire, poisonous gas, boiling water, and so on, where people are sent by god to receive their punishment. On the contrary, heaven is generally viewed as a place full of pleasures and happiness!

Is so called god vengeful that he wants to send some of his children to hell, and rewards others by sending them to heaven?

Since the Gurbani’s god is NEITHER vengeful (‘Nirvair‘) NOR separate from man, god will not throw any one of us into blazing fire or boiling water, nor he will hand us over to someone with frightening face, long teeth, popping red eyes, and ugly head with horn. At the same time, he will not escort any one of us to enjoy damsels at some fictitious or imaginary ‘heaven’ either!

This sort of psychological set-up based on scare tactics that Rabb (Universal Energy) is vengeful and separate from man is unconducive to practicing a spiritual or divine Life. Because, it arbitrates against the very idea of Oneness of man and his Mool (Source, Jot Saroop…) which the seekers of Truth seek! Also, because of such subconscious barriers placed by a dualistic philosophy, a person who have been so indoctrinated may try but fail.

If the state of the mind is Gurmukh-Hood, Joyful, Blissful, Peaceful, Sahaj (Natural state of being, Wisdom, ਅਕਲ, ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ…), etc., then one is already in heaven (ਸਵਰਗ, ਦਰਗਹ, ਬੈਕੁੰਠ, Sukh Saagar…), Here and Now!

  • ਜਾਸੁ ਜਪਤ ਕਈ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਵਾਸੁ ॥: By understanding whose (Naam) spiritual bliss or tranquility is found (this is akin to obtaining abode in heaven, Here and Now). (sggs 236).

The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS logically rejects the fictitious or imaginary after-death hell or heaven.

In nutshell, the paid clergy or Pujaaree’s fake hell and heaven is that phantom place where an alive person can’t go, and a dead person can’t describe! What a FRAUD!

  • ਜੋ ਜਨ ਪਰਮਿਤਿ ਪਰਮਨੁ ਜਾਨਾ ॥ ਬਾਤਨ ਹੀ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਸਮਾਨਾ ॥੧॥ ਨਾ ਜਾਨਾ ਬੈਕੁੰਠ ਕਹਾ ਹੀ ॥ ਜਾਨੁ ਜਾਨੁ ਸਭਿ ਕਹਹਿ ਤਹਾ ਹੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਕਹਨ ਕਹਾਵਨ ਨਹ ਪਤੀਅਈ ਹੈ ॥ ਤਉ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨੈ ਜਾ ਤੇ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਈ ਹੈ ॥੨॥: There are people who say they know the Infinite (Universal Energy) which is beyond the reach of the mind; they think that as if they have reached heaven by talking alone (ਨਿਰੀਆਂ ਗੱਪਾ – useless talk etc.). No one knows where heaven is; but everyone talks of going there! ||1|| Pause || (The mind) cannot be pleased simply by someone saying or claiming something; this can happen only if false ego-sense (Haumai) leaves the mind, (this way, the mind) is satisfied. ||2|| (sggs 325).

Heavenly state is an integrated consciousness of universal oneness or sameness – a state of the mind beyond duality (Doojaa Bhaav).

  • ਖਸਮੁ ਪਛਾਨਿ ਤਰਸ ਕਰਿ ਜੀਅ ਮਹਿ ਮਾਰਿ ਮਣੀ ਕਰਿ ਫੀਕੀ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਜਨਾਇ ਅਵਰ ਕਉ ਜਾਨੈ ਤਬ ਹੋਇ ਭਿਸਤ ਸਰੀਕੀ ॥੪॥: (O Qazi), recognize (same One) Rabb in all and have compassion in mind, kill false ego-sense and render it insipid. When a person makes himself aware – that Rabb is within – and understands others like himself, then that person becomes a partner of heaven (i.e. he lives a heavenly life here and now, NOT after death – a state beyond duality). ||4|| (sggs 480).


Clearly, the heaven (ਸਵਰਗ, ਦਰਗਹ, ਬਹਿਸ਼ਤ, paradise, Sukh Saagar…) is when we are connected with the Gur-Giaan (Gur-Shabad, Naam, Wisdom, Virtues, Truth…) Here and Now, Not After Death.

To the contrary, if we are disconnected from the Gur-Giaan (Wisdom…) then we are in hell (Bhav Saagar, unwise, ਨਰਕ, ਦੋਜਕ, ਬੇਅਕਲ…) Here and Now, Not After Death.

Man’s false ego-sense or depraved mind gives rise to doubt (Bharam), fear and worry and keeps him unaware of his True Nature (Jot Saroop).

The role of egoistic mind in the play, therefore, is to keep the person in the dark (ignorance or Avidiya) and in the past. As revealed in the Gurbani, man’s this egoity is responsible for his repeated suffering. Owing to our lower or animal consciousness, the suffering resulting from this vicious cycle of repeated pain and delusion has been termed as ‘hell’.

  • ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਅਵਤਾਰੁ ॥: In Haumai or false ego-sense (i.e., as long as one is in the illusion of his existence separate from his Mool or Jot Saroop, until then) he considers Paap and Punn (i.e., counting or Ginatee-ਗਿਣਤੀ). (Similarly) In Haumai existence of heaven and hell. (sggs 466).
  • ਹੁਕਮੁ ਭਇਆ ਚਲਣਾ ਕਿਉ ਰਹੀਐ ॥ ਨਰਕ ਕੂਪ ਮਹਿ ਗੋਤੇ ਖਾਵੈ ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਮੀਨਾ ਹੇ ॥੮॥ ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਨਰਕ ਸਾਕਤੁ ਭੋਗਾਈਐ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਕੀਚੈ ਤੈਸੋ ਪਾਈਐ ॥ : According to the Hukam (System-Rule-Law of Nature, ਨਿਯਮ), one has to depart from here, then he cannot stay here at all. (Disconnected from Truth, one) plunges into the well of hell (Here and Now) and suffers like a fish (upon disconnecting from water). A ‘Saakat‘ (hence, a person disconnected from Truth) suffers hell of Chaouraasee‘ (at the level of the mind, Here and Now). (Hukam or the System-Rule-Law of Nature is such that) one reaps the fruits of one’s deeds (Here and Now). ||8|| (sggs 1028).
  • This ego is hell, and hell is a dragon not diminished by oceans of water. It drinks down the seven seas, yet the heat of that man-burner does not become less. It makes a morsel out of a world and gulps it down. Its belly keeps shouting: Is there any more? (Rumi).

Thus, it’s our our false ego-sense (Haume) begets hell for us, not any outside agency.

Since we are the product of our own false ego-sense, the hell or heaven is nothing but a state of our conditioned mind.

To say it otherwise, on the Mayaic plane, we relive many experiences by reactivating our Vaasnaas, creating for ourselves hells or heavens. This process continues as long as we keep performing Mayaic efforts in our polarized awareness. After we evolve to the point that our life has become one of Understanding (ਸੂਝ, ਸਮਝ, Aatam-Giaan). Then our mind revert back to its True Nature (Jot Saroop) within, where there is no duality – hells or heavens, pain or pleasure, likes or dislikes etc.

What is it that leads us to enter hellish life here and now? It is our lower or animal nature (Dushat Sabhaa). Our false ego-sense begets lust. If this lust becomes fulfilled, it breeds greed. On the other hand, if this lust remains unfulfilled, it manifests into anger. These perverted off springs of ego-sense are said to be the doorways through which man enters hellish life or Spiritual oblivion, here and now. Simply put: hellish life is nothing but degradation of our mind.

  • ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਸਚਿਆਰੁ ਕੂੜਿਆਰੁ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਪਾਪ ਪੁੰਨ ਵੀਚਾਰੁ ॥ ਹਉ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਰਕਿ ਸੁਰਗਿ ਅਵਤਾਰੁ ॥: The mortal acts as truthful or false (untruthful), it is all with Haumai or false ego-sense. The mortal thinks of Paap Punn in Haumai or false ego-sense. The mortal becomes inhabitant of heaven or hell in Haumai or false ego-sense (here and now). (sggs 466).
  • ਹੇ ਕਾਮੰ ਨਰਕ ਬਿਸ੍ਰਾਮੰ ਬਹੁ ਜੋਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਵਣਹ ॥: O lust (i.e. Bikaar), you lead the mortals to hellish existence and repeated suffering. (sggs 1358).
  • ਨਿੰਦਾ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਨਰਕ ਨਿਵਾਸੀ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਆਤਮ ਜਾਪੈ ॥: Slandering others, (a Manmukh) knows within his soul that he is living a hellish life. (sggs 1013).
  • ਜਿਸ ਕੈ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਰਾਜ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਨਰਕਪਾਤੀ ਹੋਵਤ ਸੁਆਨੁ ॥: One who has the pride of ‘Raj‘ within (to rule, contro or, dominate others etc.), (he is a dog and) that dog becomes vested in hellish existence (Here and Now). (sggs 278).

Therefore, the term such as ‘being consigned to hell’ simply indicates dealing with the effects of our own deeds (ਕਰਤੂਤਾਂ), here and now.

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮਗਨੁ ਨਰਕਿ ਲੈ ਜਾਈ ॥: The intoxication of Maya leads man to hellish existence (sggs 196).

As hell is nothing but our inner garbage or corruption, similarly heaven is none other then liberation (Mukti) from this inner pollution. The duration and intensity of one’s heavenly experience (or higher state of consciousness) depends upon the degree of his inner Purity (Wisdom, Virtues, Aatam Giaan…).

In other words, if we are living under the negative impact of lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy, slandering, dishonesty, falsehood, false ego-sense (Haumai), Mayaic consciousness, doubt (Bharam-ਭਰਮ), misapprehension, confusion, delusion etc. then the Gurbani tells us we are already living in horrible hell HERE AND NOW (i.e. suffering, Dukh-ਦੁੱਖ)!

For example, a person who is living a lifestyle of a Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree is already living in hell of Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), here and now.

  • ਜਿਤਨੇ ਨਰਕ ਸੇ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਭੋਗੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਲੇਪੁ ਨ ਮਾਸਾ ਹੇ ॥੧੨॥: The Manmukh undergoes hellish existence (i.e. sufferings); the Gurmukh is not even touched by them. ||12|| (sggs 1073).
  • ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਬਿਸਰੈ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਬਿਧਾਤਾ ॥ ਜਲਤਾ ਫਿਰੈ ਰਹੈ ਨਿਤ ਤਾਤਾ ॥ ਅਕਿਰਤਘਣੈ ਕਉ ਰਖੈ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਨਰਕ ਘੋਰ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਵਣਾ ॥੭॥: By whom the all-pervasive Creator (Universal Energy) is forgotten, that person ever remains in distress and suffering. No one can protect this ungrateful (selfish, ਨਾ-ਸ਼ੁਕਰਾ) person from being in horrible hellish condition. ||7|| (sggs 1086).
  • ਹੁਕਮ ਕੀਏ ਮਨਿ ਭਾਵਦੇ ਰਾਹਿ ਭੀੜੈ ਅਗੈ ਜਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਨੰਗਾ ਦੋਜਕਿ ਚਾਲਿਆ ਤਾ ਦਿਸੈ ਖਰਾ ਡਰਾਵਣਾ ॥ ਕਰਿ ਅਉਗਣ ਪਛੋਤਾਵਣਾ ॥੧੪॥: One may follow his mind’s dictates or commands (ਅਪਣੀ ਮਰਜੀ, ਅਪਣੀ ਇਛਾ, ਅਪਣੀ ਰਜਾ, ਅਪਣਾ ਭਾਣਾਂ, ਮਨ-ਮੰਨੀਆਂ ਹਕੂਮਤਾ…), but (he will) have to take to the narrow path hereafter (i.e. pay for his mind’s own Hukam, dictates…). The wrongdoer’s deeds are exposed, he falls into hellish existence (Here and Now – as punishment of his own wrongdoing) and at that time (he himself) looks very scary. He regrets in the end the transgressions he committed. (sggs 470-471).

Hell or heaven – a state of the mind, here and now

Simply put, heaven is higher Spiritual state of consciousness, and hell is a lower state of consciousness. To say it otherwise, the enlightened mind is its own heaven whereas the unenlightened mind is its own hell.

Therefore, hell and heaven are within, Here and Now. They are not at some ‘other time’ or ‘other place’. Neither they are after death phenomena; for they are not post-mortem states!

In other words, there is no futuristic and otherworldly hell or heaven ‘up there’ which is not within all of us here and now. If we can understand the hidden symbolism in these terms, only then we can appreciate their inner meanings. However, unfortunately, majority of us get stuck to symbols only!

In short, hell is a mental state of ‘pain’ or ‘anxiety’, which is not permanent. Similarly, heaven is a mental state of ‘no pain’ or ‘no anxiety’. This mental state is also not permanent. Because once the experience is over, the experiencer falls down to earthly or material consciousness (Mayaic Mandal). The famous analogy of deep-sleep can help us understand the condition of this type of temporary joy. In deep-sleep, this type of condition of temporary joy is experienced by us when we are in our causal body, and we have therein the state beyond ‘pain’ or ‘anxiety’. Upon our waking up from deep-sleep, our externalized mind (false ego-sense) takes over and we come back to square one.

That’s why the Gurbani declares that it’s the false ego-sense in which the hell and heaven are experienced.

So many (‘ਘਣੋ’-numerous, gross, large number) of us in this world who are sunk (drowned, absorbed-‘ਬੂਡਤ’) in this horrible hell (‘ਮਹਾ ਨਰਕ’) of attachment and doubt (‘ਮੋਹ ਭਰਮ’) are its dwellers (ਵਾਸੀ).

  • ਮੋਹ ਭਰਮ ਬੂਡਤ ਘਣੋ ਮਹਾ ਨਰਕ ਮਹਿ ਵਾਸ ॥: Many are drowned in attachment (i.e. Bikaar) and doubt; this is dwelling in the most horrible hell (of suffering, Here and Now). (sggs 297).
  • ਤ੍ਰਿਤੀਆ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਬਿਖੈ ਫਲ ਕਬ ਉਤਮ ਕਬ ਨੀਚੁ ॥ ਨਰਕ ਸੁਰਗ ਭ੍ਰਮਤਉ ਘਣੋ ਸਦਾ ਸੰਘਾਰੈ ਮੀਚੁ ॥: ‘Tritia‘ (i.e. third lunar day): Under the influence of the three attributes of Maya, the living beings get only the poisonous fruits (of Bikaar), sometimes some (for a while) enjoy a good state (i.e. heavenize state), sometimes they fall into a low state (i.e. hellish state). Creatures (thus) keep on wandering in hell and heaven (Dukh and Sukh or suffering and happiness), and the fear of death is always the cause of their spiritual death. (sggs 297).

Hence, there are many people walking on this earth this very moment who are living in heaven, and there are those who are living in hellish state as well.

  • ਆਪਸ ਕਉ ਦੀਰਘੁ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਨੈ ਅਉਰਨ ਕਉ ਲਗ ਮਾਤ ॥ ਮਨਸਾ ਬਾਚਾ ਕਰਮਨਾ ਮੈ ਦੇਖੇ ਦੋਜਕ ਜਾਤ ॥: You believe that you yourself are great, and that others are of no consequence. Those who are false in thought, word and deed, I have seen them resorting to hellish existence (here and now). (sggs 1105).

Clearly, the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS asserts it’s not necessary for a Sikh to wait until end of life to become aware of the results of his life. It’s a matter of changing the thinking (Soch-ਸੋਚ), habits, and actions — inner transformation.

In nutshell, the hell is the life dictated by the Mayaic mind, the life dictated by ignorance (ਅਗਿਆਨਤਾ), the life devoid of the Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Wisdom, Virtues etc.), etc. So, according to the Gurbani, to avoid the hellish life or existence is to make the effort (Shabad-Vichaar…), and switch from the Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree lifestyle to the Gurmukh Lifestyle.

  • ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਸੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਖੋਜੈ ਹੋਰ ਸਭ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਈ ॥: One who becomes Gurmukh searches within his body; all others just wander around in confusion (sggs 754).
  • ਕਵਨ ਸੁ ਮੁਕਤੀ ਕਵਨ ਸੁ ਨਰਕਾ ॥ … ਹੁਕਮੇ ਮੁਕਤੀ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਨਰਕਾ ॥: (Outside of Your divine Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature) there is no liberation and no hell. … In (obeying) the divine Hukam (one finds) liberation, in (denying) the divine Hukam (one finds) hell (Here and Now). (sggs 1081).
  • ਨਾਮੁ ਬਿਸਾਰਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਅਨ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਨਰਕ ਘੋਰ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਹਿ ॥: Forgetting the Naam (Wisdom…), those who treads an another path (Maya etc.), remain in horrible hellish existence (Here and Now). (sggs 1225).

In other words, the darkness or ‘Dhundh-ਧੁੰਧ’ of ignorance is like ghost. The Gurbani says the body that has become ghost-cage suffers all sorts of afflictions and thus putrefies in hellish existence here and now.

  • ਪ੍ਰੇਤ ਪਿੰਜਰ ਮਹਿ ਦੂਖ ਘਨੇਰੇ ॥ ਨਰਕਿ ਪਚਹਿ ਅਗਿਆਨ ਅੰਧੇਰੇ ॥: (The ignorant beings are like) ghost. (For them, their body is like) ghost-cage and suffer all sorts of afflictions. (Thus these) spiritually blind ignorant beings putrefy in hellish existence (Here and Now). (sggs 1029).

As the Gurbani asserts, one thing seems to be pretty clear: The meaning of hell or heaven many of us often hear from our respective priest-class (Bhais, Pundits, Maulvis, Paadrees, Rabbis, and so on) is not the true meaning of these terms!

In short, mind is the hub, a vast ocean with infinite variety of creations or thought-forms (ideas, notions, fancies, thoughts-stuff). It is by firmly restraining that hub through intense Shabad-Vichaar that the whole wheel of illusion is brought to standstill. When the deluded mind is healed realizing its True Nature as Jot Saroop, the jugglery of imaginations (ਫੁਰਨੇ) is also healed.

Gurmukhs (Bhagat, Daas Jan…) rejects both hell and heaven!

Fittingly, the Gurbani says that those who have become Gurmukhs (Bhagat, Daas Jan…) reject both hell and heaven (ਰਦ ਕੀਤੇ, ਖੰਡਨ ਕੀਤੇ). In other words, those who believe in fictitious hell or heaven are Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree.

  • ਕਵਨੁ ਨਰਕੁ ਕਿਆ ਸੁਰਗੁ ਬਿਚਾਰਾ ਸੰਤਨ ਦੋਊ ਰਾਦੇ ॥ ਹਮ ਕਾਹੂ ਕੀ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕਢਤੇ ਅਪਨੇ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੇ ॥੫॥ : Satsangee (Bhagats, Gurmukh, Daas, Jan, devotees…) reject the idea of both hell and heaven. With the grace of my Gur (-Giaan or Wisdom), I don’t care about them. (sggs 969).(sggs 969).
  • ਸੁਰਗ ਬਾਸੁ ਨ ਬਾਛੀਐ ਡਰੀਐ ਨ ਨਰਕਿ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥ ਹੋਨਾ ਹੈ ਸੋ ਹੋਈ ਹੈ ਮਨਹਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ਆਸ ॥੧॥: We should neither seek living in heaven nor be afraid of being in hell (i.e. we should neither hope for Sukha or heavenish existence nor be afraid of Dukh or hellish existence – this happens whether one obeys the Hukam or denies the Hukam). Whatever is to happen will happen; do not have such hopes in the mind. (sggs 317).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਸੁਰਗ ਨਰਕ ਤੇ ਮੈ ਰਹਿਓ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਕੇ ਪਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲ ਕੀ ਮਉਜ ਮਹਿ ਰਹਉ ਅੰਤਿ ਅਰੁ ਆਦਿ ॥੧੨੦॥: O Kabeer! By the grace of my ‘Satigur‘ (the true Wisdom – ਸਚਾ ਗਿਆਨ) I have escaped from (the desire of) heaven and (the fear of) hell. I am always in the Joy of ‘Charan Kamal‘ (i.e., Wisdom…). ||120|| (sggs 1370).

In nutshell, the edict of the Gurbani is that there are no places or regions called heaven or hell. Thus, the hell, heaven, heavenly kingdom etc. is by no means a far-off thing to be experienced after death, but a very present reality fully existent in all of us this very moment.

  • ਬੇਣੀ ਕਹੈ ਸੁਨਹੁ ਰੇ ਭਗਤਹੁ ਮਰਨ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਿਨਿ ਪਾਈ ॥੫॥: Says Baynee – O Bhagat! Listen (to this truth): Nobody has ever attained liberation after death. ||5|| (sggs 93).
  • ਮੂਏ ਹੂਏ ਜਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਦੇਹੁਗੇ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੈ ਕੋਇਲਾ ॥: (O – so called – god!) If You liberate me after I am dead, no one will know that I am liberated (i.e. that’s why I do not believe or accept such phony liberation!!!!!!!). (sggs 1292).
  • ਜੀਵਦਿਆ ਨ ਚੇਤਿਓ ਮੁਆ ਰਲੰਦੜੋ ਖਾਕ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸੰਗਿ ਗੁਦਾਰਿਆ ਸਾਕਤ ਮੂੜ ਨਪਾਕ ॥੧॥ : As long as alive mortal does not remember (Rabb, Truth, Naam…), on dying he just mixes with dust! O Nanak! Such a foolish Saakat (i.e., one disconnected from his Mool), passes his life engrossed in the world. ||1|| (sggs 523).

Free of all mental encumbrances, notions of a vengeful god, eternal hell, Judgment Day and so on, such is a joyous and practicle spiritual teaching of the Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS.

That’s why a true Sikh, for example, celebrates birth and death alike, and sees Sukha and Dukha pleasure and pain or heaven and hell) with equal vision; for his joy is divine and his sorrow is divine too!

  • ਗਲੀ ਭਿਸਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਈਐ ਛੁਟੈ ਸਚੁ ਕਮਾਇ ॥: By mere talks (ਗੱਪਾਂ ਨਾਲ), you do not obtain Heaven. Salvation comes only from the practice of Truth (Sach-ਸੱਚ) alone.(sggs 141).

Therefore, instead of fearing the so called hell and desiring the so called heaven, we are urged by the Gurbani to understand them. How?

  • ਤਹ ਬੈਕੁੰਠੁ ਜਹ ਨਾਮੁ ਉਚਰਹਿ ॥: That (Heart) is heaven where the Naam (Wisdom…) is expressed (or lived in daily life). (sggs 890).
  • ਸਾਧ ਕੈ ਸੰਗਿ ਨਰਕ ਪਰਹਰੈ ॥: By persuading the mind to associate with the Saadh within (Gurmukh, Bhagat, Daas, Jan, Wisdom etc.), hellish existence is eliminated. (sggs 272).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਬਚਨਿ ਨਰਕਿ ਨ ਪਵੈ ॥: With the blessing of Guru’s teachings (Upadesh, Wisdom) man does not fall into hellish existence. (sggs 177).

To go beyond the Pujaaree’s LIES of hell and heaven, Baabaa Nanak provides us with a simple ‘Nuktaa-ਨੁਕਤਾ’ (point) as follows:

  • ਅਮਲੁ ਕਰਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਬੀਜੁ ਸਬਦੋ ਕਰਿ ਸਚ ਕੀ ਆਬ ਨਿਤ ਦੇਹਿ ਪਾਣੀ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਕਿਰਸਾਣੁ ਈਮਾਨੁ ਜੰਮਾਇ ਲੈ ਭਿਸਤੁ ਦੋਜਕੁ ਮੂੜੇ ਏਵ ਜਾਣੀ ॥੧॥: Make your deeds the earth, and let the Shabad (i.e. Gur-Giaan or Wisdom) be the seed (sown in the earth of deeds); irrigate it continually with the water of Truth (i.e. continually live your life truthfully). Become a farmer like this and make your life better. You fool! Only in this way will you understand what heaven is and what hell is (i.e. if you become Wise and truthful then your false notion of both hell and heaven will end). (sggs 24).
  • ਸੁਣਿ ਵਡਾ ਆਖੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਕੇਵਡੁ ਵਡਾ ਡੀਠਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ Every person (only from others) hears and says (O god!) You are Great or Big. How Great are you can only be told by seeing you (i.e. BUT, nobody can see you because you are not an embodied beings!!!!!!). (sggs 9).


  1. ਇੰਦ੍ਰ ਪੁਰੀ ਮਹਿ ਸਰਪਰ ਮਰਣਾ ॥ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ ਪੁਰੀ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਨਹੀ ਰਹਣਾ ॥ ਸਿਵ ਪੁਰੀ ਕਾ ਹੋਇਗਾ ਕਾਲਾ ॥ : Indr puree mahi sarpar maranaa… (sggs 237).

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