Consider the following excerpt from Mahabaratha

"Then Shakra, the lord of the deities, endued with blazing prosperity, addressed Yudhishthira and comforting him, said, ‘O Yudhishthira of mighty arms, come, come, O chief of men. These illusions have ended, O puissant one. Success has been attained by thee, O mighty-armed one, and eternal regions (of felicity) have become thine. Thou shouldst not yield to wrath. Listen to these words of mine. Hell, O son, should without doubt be beheld by every king. Of both good and bad there is abundance, O chief of men. He who enjoys first the fruits of his good acts must afterwards endure Hell. He, on the other hand, who first endures Hell, must afterwards enjoy Heaven. He whose sinful acts are many enjoys Heaven first. It is for this, O king, that desirous of doing thee good, I caused thee to be sent for having a view of Hell. Thou hadst, by a pretence, deceived Drona in the matter of his son. Thou hast, in consequence thereof, been shown Hell by an act of deception. After the manner of thyself, Bhima and Arjuna, and Draupadi, have all been shown the place of sinners by an act of deception. Come, O chief of men, all of them have been cleansed of their sins. All those kings who had aided thee and who have been slain in battle, have all attained to Heaven. Come and behold them, O foremost one of Bharata’s race.

Krishna in Geetha says

As a person sheds worn-out garments and wears new ones, likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and enters a new one.

From the above two, we can comprehend that hell in Hinduism is temporary. But my doubt is that are there any slokas in Hindu texts mentioning permenant hell? Are there any explicit statements stating either in support or against permanent hell?

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    Everyone will eventually get Moksha. There is no concept of permanent hell. – Chinmay Sarupria Jul 25 at 11:53
  • Nope! But Permanent Hell can be equivalent to non-stopping rebirth for one manifestation cycle of Brahaman. But this also will be very rare I think. – TheLittleNaruto Jul 25 at 12:15
  • Related: How does the quality of "Tamas" viz. "ignorance", affect Moksha/Liberation?. There has to be limit of falling to hell. So yes it shouldn't be permanent as suggested by @Chinmay. – iammilind Jul 25 at 14:06
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    Their is no permanent hell. The only permanence is Brahman, which is Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss Absolute. The concept of a permanent hell is a Christian concept, and one that which was brought about by the Church, not by early Christian writings. It does not occur in the shastras as there was no concept of it, and therefore there is no statement for it or against it. – Swami Vishwananda Jul 26 at 6:01
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    @Pandya Sri Ramakrishna had mentioned it. "Everybody will surely be liberated. But one should follow the instructions of the guru; if one follows a devious path, one will suffer in trying to retrace one's steps. It takes a long time to achieve liberation. A man may fail to obtain it in this life. Perhaps he will realize God only after many births" – Chinmay Sarupria Jul 28 at 17:31

If permanent hells were to exist it would mean that some Jivas will never get Moksha.

But according to scriptures every Jiva will be liberated when it has gone through the 84 Lakhs of species (Yoni or womb). But it can't get Moksha before that.

Have a look at the following verses from the MAtrikA Bheda Tantram:

Sri Shankara Uvacha:

Chaturasitilaksheshu Yonigarthe Tathaiva Hi |
Bhramanam Kuruthe Jeevastato Mokshasya BhAjanam
||
Etanmadhye MahA GyAnam Yafi SyAd Veeravandite |
Tada MokkshamvApnoti Bhramanam Kena VA Bhaveth ||
Ataeva Maheshani Gupta BhAvam MayA Kritam |


Lord Shankara said:

A Jiva gets fit for liberation only after traveling through all the 84 lakhs of Yonis and not before that. Now if Mahagyana (the knowledge of Self) is obtained by it sometime before that time then it will be liberated. How will it travel through all the 84 lakhs Yonis then? Hey Devi, that's why I have said that for the purpose of maintaining secrecy.

So,apparently, each soul will get liberation after going through that number of wombs. Now, since that number (84 lakh) is finite it can't be that the period of bondage is eternally long.

This is an attempt of indirectly showing that in Hinduism the concept of an eternal hell can not exist.

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    This answer raises a lot of questions. Firstly, Is the claim here that there is an exact number of births necessary and sufficient for Moksha? – SudarshanaSuri Aug 9 at 12:54

There is no eternal hell. There are Gita verses that suggest that some Jivas can never get out of the cycle of Samsara.

These vicious men, oppressive, cruel and sinful as they are, - are always hurled down by Me into demoniac wombs, in life after life, in the transmigratory cycle.

Gita 16.19

O son of Kunti! Falling into demoniac wombs, in life after life, they go to still lower states of degradation, without attaining Me.

Gita 16.20

On the basis of such texts, some schools of Vedanta like those of Sri Madhva and Sri Vallabha have propunded the theory of taratamya or inherent qualitative differences in Jivas, some being made for salvation and others for degradation. There is no eternal damnation in Hinduism, but the confinement in 'adhamam gatim' or continued embodiments among the lowest creatures like insects, fish, snakes etc., corresponds to it as the wages for confirmed evil doers.

There is a theoretical possibility of salvation even for such degraded souls when Divine grace descends on them through Incarnations and through very holy saints. Since Samsara or the transmigratory cycle is a never-ending process, perpetual involvement in it is the attaining to that most heinous destiny - yant-yadhamam gatim.

Commentary on Srimad Bhagavad Gita by Swami Tapasyananda

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