Kashmir is a land of beautiful scenery. From its towering, snow-capped peaks rivulets cascade down the valleys. With its lovely forests and gardens, its beauty is unparalleled. People from all over the world visit Kashmir. It is like a paradise on earth.
What is Paradise?
Paradise is the name of a vast, ideal world created by God. This world is a perfect world in the full sense. Here everything is of the highest standard. God wants such people to inhabit this perfect world as are fitted to live in it by virtue of their sterling character – such as would live in this ideal world as ideal men. Paradise is that world, where a creation such as man attains his complete fulfillment, where he can think in the way that he wants to think; where he sees what he desires to see; where he listens to the sounds that give pleasure to his ears in the real sense; where he touches those things which give him the highest degree of pleasure; where he has the company of those people who make his life highly meaningful, where the winds are life-giving zephyrs for him, where he eats such food as he eternally craved for and he sips such drinks as are only beautiful figments of his imagination today.
To give man an introduction to the ideal world of paradise God created the present planet earth. When I look at Kashmir, I realize that it is an excellent example of paradise on earth. In the paradise of this earthly world all those things exist which exist in the heavenly world. But with a difference. The heavenly world is a perfect world, while the present earthly world is an imperfect world. The heavenly world is eternal, while the present earthly world is temporary. The heavenly world is free of all kinds of fear and sorrow, whereas the present world is filled with anxiety and grief. The heavenly world is a world of reward, while the present world is a testing ground.
The Creation Plan of God
God has created man according to a plan, His plan being to create man and settle him in this present limited world and give him full freedom as a test. He has given him the opportunity to live here without any curbs. And man is free to make proper use of his freedom or misuse it as he pleases.
Everyone who is born in this world is always accompanied by two invisible angels. They are engaged in preparing a complete record of all his words and deeds, and it is on the basis of this record that he will be awarded paradise or hell in his next eternal life.
In the world of paradise, man will be able to lead his life in total freedom. But he will be so mature and aware, that he will not misuse his freedom under any circumstances. In spite of having total freedom, he will maintain total discipline. It is for the selection of such a man that the present earthly planet was built. All those circumstances are to be found here which will exist in the heavenly world. Now strict attention is being paid as to which of all God’s creatures have successfully passed through the many vexatious situations of this world with patience and endurance and with total faith in the Almighty, thus proving themselves to be of a heavenly character: it is only such individuals who will be selected to inhabit the heavenly world.
God’s invisible angels are always with man and they are preparing his record at every moment. This is man’s test and his future hinges on the result of this test. This test probes whether he has acknowledged God’s greatness on all occasions, bowed to the voice of his conscience or ignored it; and when truth supported by argument was brought before him, whether he surrendered to it or was arrogant; whether, when there was a clash between his ego and the truth, he opted for the truth or for his ego.
Similarly, while dealing with people, did he uphold justice or did he keep his personal interests uppermost and then tread the path of injustice? Did he only make a public show of his being a man of good character, or did he follow the path of goodness in his private life as well? Did he make truth his supreme concern or were other things of greater importance to him? In a similar vein, on receiving power, did he misuse his power or, in spite of having power, did he strictly uphold justice? When he received wealth or experienced poverty, in either condition did he prove himself capable of adhering to the path of moderation or not? What was his attitude when he was given a front seat on any occasion and what was his attitude when he was given a back seat? Did he stick to principles when it came to his emotions and desires, or did he ignore his principles and pursue his desires? It is on the basis of this record that the eternal future of every man and woman is going to be decided.
The Heavenly World
The present world has been built for a limited period. After the completion of this period, all the men and women born in the world will be brought before God. And God, according to the record prepared by the angels, will decide their future. Those records which will show which men and women displayed a heavenly character throughout their earthly lives and used their freedom solely within the sphere fixed by God, thus proving that they were fit to inhabit the heavenly world; it is they who will be selected to live eternally in the heavenly gardens, while all those who failed to prove their heavenly character will be rejected and cast into the eternal dustbin of the universe, so that they will forever be fated to lead a life of utter frustration and despair.
Successful is one who has realized the eternal world in this temporary world; who has discovered in the failures of the present world, the secret to eternal success in the next eternal world.