On the Nature of Heaven and Hell and on the mode of the Resurrection

On the Nature of Heaven and Hell and on the mode of the Resurrection


Heaven and Hell


Of what manner now are Heaven and Hell? Heaven begins with the exalted Satarpaya, and Hell is below the surface of the earth. Heaven is luminous, fragrant, bliss-giving, and possessed of all sorts of brilliancy and charm. Hell is dark, full of wretchedness, stinking, lusterless, and given to every misery. In these (Heaven and Hell) there are many sort, of double bliss and double misery respectively. (Such bliss and misery) exist not on the earth that lies between. In the abodes of Satarpaya and Hamistagan are (the souls) both (of) the departed and the dead ( “Dead” signifies “afflicted and suffering”) having in them an admixture (of merits and sins.) Of them he that has the preponderance of righteousness has the passage to Heaven (i.e. to Satarpaya), while he whose sins are in excess is on the pathway to Hell; and he whose sins and meritorious deeds are in equal proportion has his abode in Hamistagan. What sorts of abodes are there in these three places of different grades? Of these sorts — the first full of bliss and charm, the second devoid of happiness and full of misery, and the third having a combination of the (awards of) righteous purity and sin.
3. The explanation of the (mode of) Resurrection is of this nature: Finally there will be a decrease of afflictions (i.e. injuries), and the Preserver — the Creator Ohrmazd — will restore to life the men (that have departed this life). The sinners will be purified of their sins and the vicious dissociated from their vices; and men, defiled with sin, will, after being made pure by the purificatory (laws), and being exempted from (further) punishment, become beings of a high order. Pious men, by the merit of their works will obtain the good everlasting recompense. And owing to all men abstaining from sinful acts, punishment will be done away with, and good recompense will be their portion. And all men will live in the condition of immunity from afflictions. (At that time) Ahriman and the other Devs will not remain (in this world); and Druj (i.e. the powers of evil) will be repulsed, overthrown, and slain. All harm or blemish will be removed from the good creation. And all people will continue to be in the state of innocence, — pure, faultless, connected with the supreme glory, free from affliction, ever joyful, and progressive.

(Holy Denkard, Book V, Chapter 9, English translation by Peshotan Dastur Behramjee Sanjana, 1900 )

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