Where is Heaven and Hell, Where is The Soul?
By Venerable Galle Unit Nayaka Thero
Answers by Venerable Arrant Kumar Kassapa (Part 1)
Answers by Venerable Arahant Kumara Kassapa to the transcendental nature of questions from King Payasi who lived in 6 century B.C. in India. This article is by Venerable Galle Udita Nayaka Thero with a reference to Payasi Rajanya Sutra.
Arahant Kumara Kassapa lived in Rose wood park in Setavya of Kosala with five hundred Arahants and the King Payasi who didn’t believe the next world, beings of spontaneously born and the effects of Karma visited him to challenge him with his wits and arguments. Then, he speaks to Venerable Kumara Kassapa.
King Payasi: I don’t believe that there is another world.
Venerable Kumara Kassapa: Then are Sun and Moon in this world, or another?
King: They should be in another world. But I don’t believe another world. I don’t believe it because I told my relatives who used to commit evils that if they are born in the hell according to the words of the religious priests to come and tell me the fate that they faced. But they never came to report their fate. Venerable Kumara Kassapa replied.
Venerable Kassapa: Suppose there is a person who fell into a pool of stools and your people may have taken them to the palace and cleaned him, showered him, dressed him up applied perfume to him, given him good accommodation etc, and do you think that the man should think of returning to the pool of stools?
King: It won’t happen.
Venerable Kassapa: Your Majesty, 100 years of human world is one day in Tusita Heaven. Therefore, if the person born in the Tusita heaven is thinking of conveying a message to you after few days’ of resting in the heaven, Will you be in the human world then?
King: Definitely I won’t be living. But still, I don’t believe the Karma or the next world.
Venerable Kassapa: The blind people by birth won’t accept that there are stars, there are sun and the moon; there are colours such as blue, red, yellow and green etc. as they are not able to see them. But Arahants could survey the next world with their psychic powers. In the same way, divine beings don’t like human world and a person who is born in the heaven won’t like to come back to the human world.
King: Those recluses say that people who do meritorious deeds are born in the Tusita Heaven where they can enjoy extreme happiness. Then why don’t those monks make it a short cut to go to Tusita Heaven by committing suicide in spite of struggling for long standing Nirvana.
Venerable Kassapa: Do you think that they are foolish to commit suicide? They would prolong their life instead of committing suicide because; they wish to attain their goal by practising more precepts and meditation for a long period. What have you said is like the Brahmin who married two wives. One of the wives gave birth to a son; the other was pregnant when he had passed away. Then the son of the first wife asked the mother for the whole property to hand over to him but second mother told the son that if she would give birth to a son, the property could be shared or if she would give birth to a daughter she would be given to him for his service. Although mother promised to keep the word the son was impatient and he appealed and appealed the mother for the property. Finally, the mother takes a sharp knife and cut her belly to find out whether she could get a daughter or a son. By doing such foolish thing not only she lost her life but her child also. Monks won’t do such foolish deeds for their precious lives.
King: I have put a criminal in a pot and sealed it and burned the pot with fire to find out what could come out from his body. When I knew that the criminal was dead and took him out. But I did not see anything has come out from his body such as a soul.
Venerable Kassapa: Your majesty, have you ever dreamt enjoying in the park when you were having a nap in the park surrounded by your royal servants.
King: Yes. Bhante, I have had such dreams.
Venerable Kassapa: Then, Your Majesty, have your people seen anything come out from your body while you were dreaming of walking in the park?
King: No, Bhante. But still, I don’t believe there is a next world, or there is Karma. I weighed a live person and he was lighter and I found him out heavier after his death.
Venerable Kassapa: It is the same as when the iron is hot, and it is heavier when it is cooled down. The person is lighter when he bears the life, heat and the consciousness. His body becomes heavier in the absence of vitality, heat and the consciousness when he is dead.
King: I have cut the legs, hands and other parts of a criminal and turned him to upside down, right side left side and I didn’t see anything in the body such as a soul
Venerable Kassapa: I tell an anecdote of how a person blew a conch and there was very nice sound for people to hear. Then, people asked the person how was the sound coming out. Then, the person replied him that the sound came from the conch. People wanted to hear the sound from the conch and requested for him put it on the ground and told the conch to make a sound, but no sound come out from the conch. Your majesty, there must have human effort, the wind and the conch to produce the sound. How could there be a sound without all these. Therefore, Your Majesty, when a human is endowed with life, he possesses heat and the consciousness, and only with these, he is able to work. Possessing the mere body of elements definitely does not mean the body has the power to function.
This article was published in For You Information Issue 407.