V&A The Wheel of Rebirth
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    Information on the Hells

The Eight Hot Hells
Going downwards one encounters the Reviving Hell first.

Reviving Hell
In the Reviving Hell people hack each other to death. A cold wind then blows to revive them. This continues relentlessly throughout their stay there.

Black Line Hell
In the Black Line Hell, a black line is traced on the body, which is then sawn with blazing saws and chopped with flaming red-hot axes.
Gathering and Crushing Hell
In the Gathering and Crushing Hell mountains in the form of sheep heads come together, crushing the beings between them. The hills then draw apart, a cold wind rises and restores the people to their former condition. They are crushed and restored time after time. Some are also squeezed between iron presses, their blood squirting out like four rivers.

Wailing Hell
Beings in the Wailing Hell scream with terror as they are burnt.

Great Wailing Hell
Beings in the Great Wailing Hell scream even more loudly.

Hot Hell
In the Hot Hell beings are tortured by fire. Boiling metal poured into their mouths burns their insides and their bodies are pierced vertically by spikes.

Very Hot Hell
In the Very Hot Hell they are tortured even more. Without skin, they are burnt by molten metal being poured down their throats to such an extent that fire comes out of their bodily orifices. Then they too are pierced vertically, this time by tridents.
Worst Agony Hell
The Worst Agony Hell is a huge blazing iron building within which there are enormous copper and iron cauldrons. These contain molten iron and bronze and they are kept hot by unbearable fires. Beings are thrown in and boiled alive. This Hell is so named because the suffering there is unremitting.

How long do you stay in Hell?
Scriptures say that a life-span in the Reviving Hell is 6,120 billion human years. In the Black Line Hell the life-span is the equivalent of 12,990 billion human years.

A life-span spent in each of the other Hells gets progressively longer and longer.

The neighbouring Hells
These are situated in the four cardinal directions from the eight Hells mentioned above. The first of these is the Glowing Coals Hell, where beings are knee-deep in glowing coals. As they take steps, their flesh, skin and blood completely burn off when they put their feet down, yet when the lift their legs again, all is restored. This is the first additional Hell. In front of that is the Impure Swamp of Putrefaction Hell, infested by white worms with black heads. With their sharp, pointed beaks, they bore through the beings' flesh right to the bone. This is the second additional Hell.

In front of that is the Great Razor Highway Hell, where beings are molested by a forest of sword-like leaves, terrifying large black dogs, ravens with iron beaks and iron trees with slicing leaves and branches. This is the third additional Hell.

In front of that is the ‘Most Extreme’ river, full of boiling lye (a liquid like a strong bleach) in which the beings are cooked. They are kept from leaving the river by individuals bearing weapons who stand along the banks. This is the fourth additional Hell.


The Eight Cold Hells
These are:
1. Cold Sore Hell
2. Burst Cold Sore Hell
3. Chattering Teeth Hell
4. Sneezing Hell
5. Alas Hell
6. Hell where the frost bitten skin cracks in the shape
    of an utpal flower
7. Hell where the cracks are like a lotus
8. Hell where the cracks are like a giant lotus
These Hells are named after the sufferings experienced in them. In the first two Hells the cold is so unbearable that the beings have cold sores or (in the second) festering cold sores. The next three are named after the sounds and cries that the beings there make due to the unbearable cold. The latter three derive their names from the bodily changes that take place there. In the sixth, the skin turns blue with cold and cracks open in five or six-fold cracks, looking like an utpal flower. In the seventh it has turned from blue to red and the cracks have ten or more lips, looking like a lotus, and in the last the skin is violently inflamed and split into a hundred or more flaps, like an open giant lotus.

The life-span of the Cold Sore Hell beings has been summarised thus:

‘The life-span in the Cold Sore Hell is about the time it would take to empty a store of sesame seeds by taking just one seed out every hundred years. The life-span in the others is increased by a factor of twenty’.

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