Mahavira believed in three hells, because people are committing sins in different categories. Naturally, to put all of them in one hell and punish them in the same way is illogical. He was a man of logic; he was very mathematical. You will be surprised to know that twenty-five centuries before Einstein, he said everything about the theory of relativity that Einstein discovered in the twentieth century. Of course not in such minute detail, because he had no way to experiment; it was just his vision….
So he has three hells. Christianity has only one, Mohammedanism has only one, Judaism has only one – why does Mahavira insist on three? Because he can see that it is unjustified: somebody has committed a small sin, has simply stolen a little money from somebody else, and somebody has killed many people, murdered, raped. Now putting them together with the same punishment is illogical. So he has three categories.
In the first will be the light sinners: the people who have been smoking, and drinking tea and coffee, and eating ice cream etc. They are not doing very great sins, so just the first hell will be for them, just to give them a little torture. Not to give them their ice cream will be enough; to put them in hellfire seems too much! In the second will be the heavier sinners. And in the third will be the most heavy ones, the greatest sinners.
But it is not so easy to categorize into three. Buddha has seven hells, because he sees that with three you still cannot be fair, because there are so many kinds of people and so many kinds of sins that a little more scope is needed to be fair. He has seven hells. But nobody has any explanation; nobody can prove their existence. It is just hypothetical.
There was a man, Sanjay Belattiputta who was also a great teacher, contemporary to Buddha and Mahavira. He has seven hundred hells because, he says, “These people don’t understand the complexity.” And I think he is right. As far as complexity is concerned, even seven hundred hells may not be enough. You may have to find a hell for everyone, for every single sinner, because two sinners cannot be put together: it will be unfair to this person, or to that person. There is no criterion, no weighing machine so that you can decide how much sin you have done, how many kilos.
But it is all hypothetical. And whom to listen to? – all the three persons are great teachers, great masters. But what they are saying, although it seems to be reasonable, is still hypothetical. Somebody may come and may talk about seven thousand, and you cannot refute them and you cannot prove them.
Once you ask for an explanation for everything, your religions will start withering away. Your political ideologies will be found to be based on nonsense.
For example, communism is based on the equality of man – and there are not two men who are equal, or have ever been equal. It is psychological nonsense to talk of the equality of man. Each individual is unique; there is no question of comparison. All that your mind is filled with – if you take it item by item and try to find out evidence, proof, explanation – you will be surprised: you are carrying an unnecessary load.