What is the purpose of sending a soul to Svarga or Narka? if ultimately it has to return back to Earth to get over whatever Karma it did in the previous lives. Link from Wikipedia here says:

Yama sends the virtuous to Svarga to enjoy the luxuries of paradise. He also assesses the vices of the dead and accords judgement, assigning them to appropriate hells as punishment commensurate with the severity and nature of their sins.A person is not freed of samsara (the cycle of birth-death-rebirth) and must take birth again after his prescribed pleasure in Svarga or punishment in Naraka is over.

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    What do you mean by purpose? It was designed like that. Sukshma sareera just roams in different lokas based on its karma until it gets moksha.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 16:35
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    You only answered your Q by saying "after his prescribed pleasure in Svarga or punishment in Naraka is over"...Well many criminals come back from jail..then what's the purpose sending them in jail if ultimately they will come back?🤔🤔
    – YDS
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 17:24
  • Actually you do extinguish your karmas in the afterlife (well lets just use this word for now), but in that way everyone will get moksha. The final punishment is another life on Earth. Earthly life has sufferings mixed with pleasure. In a way that's a blessing, because whatever good you have done will help you in the next life and you can try and make it better. Only you are the author of your destiny. It holds true in this case.
    – user9072
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 19:39
  • @UdayKrishna Anyway I believe that even to reach heaven or Swarga, one has to be qualified. So there is a difference between people who are qualified vs unqualified, according to the deeds and karmic accumulation.
    – user9072
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 20:37
  • And also one must strive towards that goal.
    – user9072
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 22:24

1 Answer 1


Actually the hells are there for specific types of sins. Sin in Hinduism is not a concept. Adharma, however, is. Adharma is categorized into many subclasses. I will give a few examples to highlight the existence of such special classes of hells.

"A man who kills a cow, foetus, or indulges in arson, descends into Rodha. A killer of Brahmanas fall into Shukara, and so a drunkard, a gold thief, a killer of Kshatriya or Vaishya fall into Taala". (3.56)

"He who kills a Brahmana or defiles his teacher's bed, or has sexual union with his sister falls in Taptakumbha. So also a soldier who speaks lies". (3.57)

"Similarly he who sells liquor and he who discards a devotee, also falls there". (3.58)


"All these fall into Rudhirandha. Those who administer poison into their guests sitting in a row, fall into the fierce hell Vidbhuj. There is no doubt in this". (3.68)

So this is just an example of why there are special hells. A sinner usually passes his time for specific Adharmas committed and the rebirth is usually for Adharmas of small measure. There are many many more verses you can look up in Garuda Purana's Dharma Kanda.

Your main answer can be summed up in a few verses from Garuda Purana only.

Part 2: Dharma Kanda

"The sinner is born again and again and dies again and again till he has exhausted his sin and acquired virtue".(3.84)

Shri Krishna said, "Whatever sin a man commits consciously or unconsciously stands in need of purification by means of atonement". (4.1)

"Whatever gifts a man has given, all stand in his favour at the hour of death". (4.16)

"If he accepts sannyasa as prescribed in the sacred texts, he is not reborn but is merged into Brahma". (4.37)

I know this doesn't answer your question 100%, but at least you get an idea of the hell. Its not a Christian hell, wherein any sin you commit, you end up in a fiery place. No, Sanatan Dharma has specifics. You won't even stay in a hell for even a second more, after you've finished your punishment quota. That's the beauty. Its all about Chitta Shuddhi.

~ Special thanks to @TheDestroyer for providing me with the Scriptures.

  • what do you mean by sin is not a concept. there is even a specific word for it - papa. adharma and papa are closely related. if you do adharma, you earn papa. when you undergo punishment, you spend papa.
    – ram
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 23:59
  • I meant "Sin" as the word is introduced to us. Christian concepts of hell and sin are not the same as Hindu concept. They have all sorts of Absolute Sin, Eternal Damnation etc. Sin is itself an English word, and whatever it means is not applicable to Hindu concepts of Paap and Adharma. Paap or bad karmas can be extinguished in this life, but not "Sin", the Christian concept of Sin. I honestly don't like using Western words. Like "Soul", "Salvation" are nowadays used to mean Atman and Moksha, which are actually not so if one studies the concepts minutely.
    – user9072
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 0:17
  • Atman is much more than simply Soul. There are yet many divisions of the soul in Hinduism. And secondly Moksha is not definitely "Salvation". We don't need a universal Saviour or Messiah to save mankind.
    – user9072
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 0:19
  • why do we need to assume that they are referring to one religion's interpretation of the word 'sin' ? even in christianity, sin is not eternal if you repent for it. we're arguing semantics here, so nevermind. and who said anything about universal saviour. if we are proud of our religion, there is no need to 'prove' that we don't need other religions. the very fact that someone is talking about how they don't need others is fact that they're not secure e.g. 'feminists' talking about how they don't need men.
    – ram
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 0:42
  • That's why I clarified what I meant by Sin is not a concept, but Adharma is. I think you've read what I've written.
    – user9072
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 7:57

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