Question: I have read in the Bible that if one does not accept the teachings of Jesus Christ, his soul is damned forever to hell. Is this true?

Sri Chinmoy: My simple answer to this question is that it is up to you whether you believe or do not believe. If you believe that you must have faith only in the Christ’s teachings, then you must pray to the Christ-Consciousness to illumine you. However, if you do not believe this, then you have a perfect right to do what you feel is best. It is your inner being that will tell you whether to believe or not to believe. But if you accept the theory that you are damned to hell if you do not have absolute faith in Christ, then naturally you have to pray to the Christ-Consciousness to illumine and perfect you. I personally say that the Consciousness of the Christ, the Buddha, Sri Krishna, Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo and other great Masters is all the same Consciousness known under different names. But it is up to you to decide what to believe.

Heaven and hell are inside our mind. They are a state of consciousness, not a country to which one goes. If you cherish a good thought, then inside that good thought is Heaven. If you treasure a bad thought, you live in hell. Heaven and hell are inside us; at every moment we experience either Heaven or hell. Heaven gives joy; hell gives a painful experience. We are responsible for every thought. If we cry to God for Light, that is a good thought, and we get illumining experiences from good thoughts. If we do not cry for Light, then we experience a painful reality, which we call hell.