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A Sanskrit word meaning “hell.” Hinduism recognizes various kinds of Hell. According to A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy (Grimes), these are:

Put — the childless hell (an interesting concept).

Avīci — hell for those awaiting reincarnation.

Samhāta — for general evil-doers.

Tāmisra — where the real gloom of hell begins.

Rjīsa— Where torments attack.

Kumala — the worst hell for those who will be reincarnated.

Talātala — The bottomless pit, the eternal hell of indescribable tortures and pain for those who have no hope of reincarnation.

In some Buddhist literature, the lowest hell, from which there is no hope of return, is avīcī (also written avīchī), literally “waveless,” suggestive of absolute zero, where all molecular motion ceases. The hell just above that is termed nirarbudha, i.e., “excessively cold.”

It is worth mentioning here that theosophy is not in agreement with the beliefs outlined above. Helena P. Blavatsky writes, “The Earth, or earth-life rather, is the only Avichi (Hell) that exists for the men of our humanity on this globe. Avichi is a state, not a locality — a counterpart of Devachan. Such a state follows the ‘Soul’ wherever it goes, whether into Kāma-Loka, as a semi-conscious ‘spook’ or into a human body, when reborn to suffer Avichi. Our philosophy recognizes no other Hell” (CW XII:637 fn).


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