Paradise is lost when violence, in the form of five vices and their offshoots, enters the human mind.
As per Bhagwad Gita, a person goes to heaven or hell on the basis of the karma he/she performs in this life. He has to be born again to clear his karmic load. In this way, the perpetual cycle of birth and death goes on. There is no permanent stay in heaven. One can live there for the time determined by his/her good karma in the earthly realm.
One can experience both hell and heaven in this life itself based on our actions. Heaven is the place or time of complete happiness with no trace of sorrow. Many people believe that heaven is a world apart from the earth we inhabit. That is why people are said to “ascend” to heaven after death. Mythological stories also describe angels coming to escort virtuous souls to heaven. Similarly, hell is believed to be the nether world, to where one “descends” if one has led a sinful life. However, heaven and hell exist on this very earth at different points of time; they are just different periods in the cycle of history.
looking at the situation of world that we live in today, one factor that can be considered as the the biggest cause of our downfall from an exalted stage of divinity is violence in all its forms. YES, it is violence that makes hell of heaven. In other words, paradise is lost when violence, in the form of five vices and their offshoots, enters the human mind. These vices are nothing but violence in its various forms which violate divinity as well as spiritual and natural laws. We must understand that a soul, in its original state, is a being of purity, peace, power and bliss. So, in heaven, all humans are divine because they are totally pure, which means there is absence of violence of all types, be it physical, verbal and mental. In addition, everyone in that period is soul-conscious, that is they are naturally conscious of the fact that they are souls and not bodies. Because of this the intrinsic qualities of the soul, which include love, happiness and knowledge, manifest themselves in all human actions. This means that no one causes harm to anyone in heaven and there is no dishonesty, greed, deceit, anger, selfishness or negativity of any other kind. Since everyone remains healthy, happy and prosperous, the feeling of discontent does not exist, nor do any wants exist. It is said that there are no police stations, courts and hospitals in paradise. This is because no laws are broken and no punishment is required.
It is only when the soul comes under the influence of the vices does it start to act wrongly. Now, to see if all this is true, we only need to observe our state of mind when we have behaved badly with someone. This would make us realise if our behaviour was dictated by anger, ego, jealousy, hatred or some other vice. All these vices cause pain to the self and make us inflict pain on others. Such violence is a violation of divinity and it drags us down from a divine status to that of an ordinary human being. After all, what is the difference between deities and humansIJ The former are always full of virtues and totally free of vices whereas humans have virtues in varying degrees and are prone to come under the influence of vices. So rare has virtue become today that if someone remains steadfast in even one virtue — say honesty — he stands out among his peers and is half-jokingly called a saint or a deity.
On the contrary if the vices become predominant, they can turn a human being into a devil. Remember, divinity cannot stay where there is violence. light and darkness, nectar and poison, divine and devilish traits cannot co-exist. So if we really want to bring peace to this world, we have to first root out the vices from our minds. Without this effort, no amount of political, social and economic efforts can ensure lasting peace. It is not a new idea. It was written into the preamble of the constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization that, “Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.” We only need to act upon it through spiritual effort.