In the previous 2 articles, we discussed the nature of worldly happiness and wordly unhappiness. Thus, even though Shree Krishna explained to Arjun that by performing his dharm, he would receive more worldly enjoyments (by gaining the kingship through victory in the war, or by getting a good destiny and more prosperity in his next birth), Arjun was not sufficiently motivated to get up and fight. He was not interested in obtaining the pleasures of this world (chapter 1, verse 32). Krishna also offered the attainment of swarg as an incentive. He told Arjun that even if he were killed in the battle, since he had performed his dharm, he would go to swarg after death (chapter 2, verse 37). Before we find out if Arjun was lured by Krishna successfully, let us first understand what is Swarg, its nature, and if its pleasures last forever.
What is Swarg and where is it?
First, we must understand what swarg is. In English it could be translated as heaven or celestial abodes. It is not the same as God’s supreme Divine abode. Swarg is a part of the material manisfestation, and is a product of maya. Thus, when the universe dissolves, swarg is also dissolved. Swarg is a real place, where souls can go and reside temporarily as a reward for good karm.
Swarg is in its own dimension, yet included within the realm of maya. However, it cannot be perceived with the senses that we use to perceive this world. Thus, it is not visible to us, even though it is a real place. After death, a soul may be transferred to swarg, in which case they would receive a celestial body and senses in order to perceive and enjoy the celestial world.
Do you stay in swarg forever?
No. Those souls who gain access to swarg only remain there temporarily (chapter 9, verse 21). The length of a soul’s stay in swarg depends on the amount of punya they have accumulated with their good actions in this life. As pleasures are received in swarg, the punya is gradually used up, and eventually that soul is removed from swarg and returned to life on earth. It is similar to spending your savings when you go away on vacation. The punya are your savings, which you accumulate by following dharm. The more savings you have, the longer you can remain on vacation. However, while on vacation you are only spending, you are not earning more. Similarly, while in swarg, you use up your punya, but cannot earn more. Eventually you end your vacation and return to work so that you can earn more – eventually you must leave swarg and return to earth where you can earn more punya.
The human life form which exists on earth is the only life form that can perform karm. All other life forms merely receive the good and bad results of the karm they performed the last time they were human. Their doings are not counted for anything, and will produce no future result, neither reward, nor punishment. Thus, they are called bhog yoni. But humans are called karm yoni, because they have the right to perform karm, and that karm is received as prosperity or suffering in future births. It means that the human life form is where we perform our actions, and other life forms are only the means of undergoing the consequences of those actions. For this reason, no one stays in swarg forever – they are returned to earth, where they eventually receive another human birth.
But, is there real happiness in Swarg? Read Temporary And Unsatisfying Nature Of Swarg- 2 next week t find out.