Eschatology

Sanatana Dharma teaches that death is a natural state and is the result of being born. Everything that is born must die and everything that dies will certainly be reborn (Bhagavad Gita 2,27). There is nothing to fear, as all created things must eventually meet with destruction and the bodies decay and disintegrate according to the natural biological laws of dissolution. But the conscious Self is eternal and does not die when the body dies. In actual fact, death is one of the greatest opportunities for enlightenment and liberation. The predominant mind‐state at the moment of death conditions our next rebirth. So to die awake with awareness in a spiritual ambience is the most fortunate death!

Hinduism teaches the existence of both heaven and purgatory. Heaven being a state of superlative enjoyment and purgatory a state of extreme suffering. Mythologically these two are represented as realms, but philosophically they are taught to be the projections of the mind only. An extraordinarily wicked person who has constantly and consistently caused suffering to others internalizes all this negativity and thus creates a state of enormous suffering; conversely one who has been exceptionally virtuous creates the conditions for their own delight. The Scriptures known as the Puranas give detailed mythological accounts of the hells and the suffering meted out to recalcitrant sinners. The punishments are suited to the gravity of the negative Karma and is designed to rehabilitate the errant ones. But seeing that all conditioned states and places are impermanent, whatever the condition of the Self after death, whether it be hellish or heavenly, all will be reborn here on earth to continue their spiritual evolution.

Those jivas who are neither very selfish nor very altruistic (which includes the vast majority of people) incarnate soon after death in other bodies according to their merit. The Personalists believe that the jivas that have completely and sincerely taken refuge in Isvara and have practiced Dharma during their lifetimes achieve Liberation. The Impersonalist view is that the cycle of rebirth continues until one realizes one’s true identity as being essentially ONE with Brahman .

Liberation is a transcendental purely spiritual state beyond those of both hell and heaven and is the only permanent state.

Faith

Unlike the Abrahamic coalition Hinduism denies the efficacy of faith as a means for attaining Self‐ realization and beatitude. The great saint‐philosopher Ramanuja defines Faith (sraddha) as an unshakeable conviction that a specific practice will lead to the Goal. Faith for the follower of Sanatana Dharma is a conviction which is grounded in logic and reason and must be consistent as far as possible with reality as it is perceived. Faith is the firm conviction of the existence of the Atman (individual Self) its identity with the Paramatman (Supreme Self) and the efficacy of Dharma to remove obstacles to this reunification. The absence of faith as a “firm conviction” does not lead to eternal damnation but simply to rebirth. Whatever faith one has, in whatever form of the Divine, the Lord Himself strengthens that faith and causes one ultimately to come to Him. (Bhagavad Gita 4.11) Isvara reciprocates in whatever way the sincere seeker approaches Him. The existence of faith and devotion to Isvara is due to meritorious works and spiritual practices done in the previous life. The ultimate key to Liberation is meditation and total surrender to God and to all cosmic forces that are at play.