“As for those saved, they do not stray again, but they are only drawn to the rebirths in higher realms and toil, afterwards they come to the hands of the Angels. Then the Angels make their way with them to the places wherein they are to be refined. For no Hearer ever at all goes on account of his deed to the hells, because of the Seal of Faith and Knowledge which is stamped on his Soul.” — Gospel of Mar Mani 89:1-3
These verses could easily be misunderstood if we do not take into account that the destination of the righteous and evil are not so easily defined as with only two words: “heaven” and “hell”. It has been misunderstood by many of the brethren that the term “Bahisht” is a single level of existence. That is not exactly true. Bahisht can be many worlds or paradises in the upper realms. The term is mentioned throughout the Holy Book. The following passages are a few to serve as examples: Teachings of the Apostles 3:18; Gospel of Mar Mani (GoM) 35:1; 49:11; 79:10. The marginal note for GoM 49:11 refers to the term “Bahisht” as being defined as “Nirvana, perfection, everlasting bliss, Kingdom of Light.” The marginal note for GoM 79:10 says that Bahisht consist of “celestial worlds and paradises.”
Notice the 3rd verse in our Scripture text for today says the individuals being described have already been saved – “they do not stray again”; however, it says, “they are only drawn to the rebirths in higher realms and toil”. When the verse says they have been saved – it means they do not return to the earthly realm. What is being referred to in our text today is another level of existence in Bahisht — not the final destination of the liberated soul, but a particular level where further refinements must be undertaken. Again, it is not a return to the earthly realm, but entry into another world.
Hearers must take in gnosis, but only the Father of Greatness and the Living Spirit know who has taken in the proper gnosis/divine knowledge. (See Teaching of Mir Izgadda 8:11) If it has been very little, the Hearer must return to the earthly realm. If he or she has only taken in so much, he or she would be assigned to work again and to help others in that same realm.
Some have asked, “What are these realms like?” The Divine Messenger says some are very similar to earth in that the Hearer experiences matter again, but only with less crime, less human-like population, less problems. It is an “easier” realm where spiritual growth can take place without so many worldly obstacles. There are other realms where matter is not as dense, and so on.
If a Hearer is grossly negligent of his or her duties or has sinned terribly, that Hearer would likely not enter into Bahisht, and would be required to return to a physical body.