How does a soul enjoy the fruits of his deeds in heaven without a mortal body???
In the hells, the soul is NOT endowed with the physical body, but it still has a subtle kind of a body which is capable of feeling the pain.
The same question was in fact asked by Savitri (wife of Satyavan) to Yamaraja in Devi Bhagavatam's book 9.
O Bhagavan! What is the size of the several kundas or hells that Thou hast just now enumerated? How do the sinners dwell there? When a man departs, his body is reduced to ashes. Then of what sort is that other body by which the sinners enjoy the effects of their Karmas and why do not those bodies get destroyed when they suffer so much pains for so long a time? What sort of body is that? Kindly describe all these to me.”
See Yamaraja's reply to it:
O Fair One! Now I have described to you the states of those persons that are not under the control of Kâla, good and bad karmas, pleasures and enjoyments, etc., and those that do not suffer those pains. Now I am speaking of this visible body. Listen. Earth, water, fire, air, and ether are the five Mahâ Bhûtas (the great elements); these are the seeds of this visible body of the person and are the chief factors in the work of creation. The body that is made up of earth and other elements is transient and artificial, i.e., that body becomes burnt to ashes. Within this visible body, bound, is there a Purusa of the size of a thumb; that is called the Jîva Purusa; the subtle Jîva assumes those subtle bodies for enjoying the effects of karmas. In My world, that subtle body is not burnt by the burning fire. If that subtle body be immersed in water, if that be beaten incessantly or if it be struck by a weapon or pierced by a sharp thorn, that body is not destroyed. That body is not burnt nor broken by the burning hot and molten material, by the red hot iron, by hot stones by embracing a hot image or by falling into a burning cauldron. That body has to suffer incessant pains. O Fair One! Thus I have dwelt on the subject of the several bodies and the causes thereof according to the S’âstras.
Book 9, Chapter 36
In a similar manner, in the heaven too, the soul is endowed with some sort of a body, that is capable of receiving pleasures and happiness.
- The Karma, auspicious and inauspicious, done in many previous lives and preserved in seed forms, remains always inherent in a human soul. Urged on by this Karma, the Jîvas quitting their previous bodies, enjoy Heaven or Hell as effects of these, their own acts.
22-23. According to their good or bad works, the Jîvas acquire the higher happy body and enjoy various pleasures in the Heavens, or they take up very painful vicious bodies and suffer various pains in hell.
Book 4, Chapter 21
Soul is Ananda-swarupa ie. Supreme Bliss in it self. It doesn't experience punishment or enjoyment in heaven or hell. The one which experiences them is the body. Now the question arises that the dead body is burnt here itself so how can it experience good or bad fruit of deeds ?
The soul is actually wrapped under five bodies, known as pancha-kosha. The Taittiriya Upnishad discuses this. The body which was burnt here is called Sthula-sharira or anna-maya kosha. Anna maya kosh means the body made of Anna ie. Eatables. Our outermost body is made of eatables and dies in its scarcity. The 2nd layer of body is Sookshma- Sharir. This is the one which undergoes punishment/enjoyment as fruits of deeds of jiva. Refer to this article: