Chapter XVI: 21-22
|Triple is the gate of this
hell, destructive of the self lust, anger and greed; therefore one should abandon these
A man who is liberated from these three gates to darkness, Oh Arjuna, practices what is good for him and thus goes to the supreme goal.
The expression used in the first verse is "hell" while that used in the second verse is gate to darkness. The significance of the synonym is clear. Hell is a state of ignorance: ignorance of the meaning and purpose of human birth, ignorance of the spirit encased in the physical body, ignorance of man's place and his duty in society.
These two verses do not exclude the idea of there being a heaven and hell in outer space, but just as feasible is the attitude that, since in our materialistic times spiritual ignorance has enormously increased the number of sinners, the great cities - those creations of materialism - are virtually our hells; and our heavens, so rare and few, are those places of retreat such as my Master's monastery in the Himalayas. The darkness of city life is the darkness of spiritual ignorance; and the contented harmony of such withdrawn groups of people who are consciously practicing the rules of the spirit, heavenly bliss.
From our position on this earth, there are four gates leading out. Three of them open out to hell. They are: lust (all sorts of desires), anger (hatred) and greed. The ignorance-blinded man goes out through one or other of these gates and arrives in hell where he suffers self-destruction. Has he not destroyed a precious opportunity to attain self-realization?
These three gates are open wider than the fourth that the ignorant man does not perceive at all. This gate leads to the heaven of redemption and is the gateway of goodness. In order to pass through this gate one should carefully lead a good life, willing to sacrifice temporary pleasure in favor of eternal bliss.
Web Editor's Notes