“I lifted up my eyes to see the Heaven.
I saw it not.
I closed my eyes to feel the Heaven.
I felt it not.
I thought of God.
To my widest surprise, God said that
I am not only the Heaven but His Heaven.”
~ Sri Chinmoy
Heaven, Nirvana, Walhalla, Utopia, Samsara, Shamayim, Jannah, Tian.
From a young age I was fascinated by the concept of heaven.
I remember as a child, trying to envision what heaven must look like. Let me take you for a spin in my childhood brain: All people that pass over live in the same town, in their best clothing, in lovely homes, everyone being really nice to each other all day every day. Of course, this would be problematic if someone was married to someone, who then passed over and then they married another person, would they all have to live in the same house? And what about all the animals? Do dogs go to heaven, and squirrels? How does God decide which squirrel goes to heaven?
It was no wonder I was often caught out staring out of the window ‘blankly’, as opposed to focusing on how to multiply 3×7.
Heaven, or the afterlife, plays a big part in most religions. And most religions teach us that life and suffering on this planet prepares us for the better place to come after our physical body dies.
Of course, depending on your belief, the afterlife promises you different things.
For Christianity it is clear cut, if you led a good life or before breathing your last breath ask for forgiveness for your sins, you go to heaven. The holy trinity lives in heaven according to all Christians: God, Jesus and the Holy spirit. After that it gets a bit fractured, some Christians belief Mary to be Queen of heaven, some Christians belief in 7 heavens with a strict hierarchy.
In several religions we see multiple heavens. Christianity has its 7 heavens, the Aztec have a heaven with 13 different spheres, Jainism divides the upper sphere ‘Urdhva Loka’ into 16 devalokas.
Important is to distinguish that the purpose of heaven is different in different religions.
In some religions heaven is a place where souls stay until the apocalypse happens and the whole world is reborn, in others it is a place for deities only, and then there are those religions like Hinduism and Buddhism that have different parts of heaven that prepare the soul for rebirth.
A very interesting idea of heaven comes from Ancient Egypt, where heaven was a place in outer space, far beyond the stars and realms visible from earth. The travel to heaven could be dangerous and many different beings could be encountered on the way. Once a soul had finally reached heaven, the most scary thing of all, your heart would be checked for its goodness. Fail the test and your heart would be eaten and that would be it.
42 years in this lifetime, I still often wonder about the concept of heaven.
For me, it feels that heaven wouldn’t be so much a place, but more a state of being.
I do believe in multiple lifetimes and in karma. I don’t however, belief that this heavenly state of being is sectioned off or has judgement in it. More like a pool of eternal bliss.
I am always curious to hear about what people think about the concept of heaven.
Is heaven a place? A state of being? Maybe earth in itself is a realm of heaven?
Let me know your thoughts.