Lord Yama is a Hindu God of death, the God of Dharma, and the underworld. There are references to Lord Yama in Buddhism, Sikhism, and other religions as well. Apart from India, the mythologies of China and Japan also focus on Lord Yama. Here, in this article, we will focus on God Yama, his origin, weapons, and significance.
Lord Yama is the son of Lord Surya and Sanjana. As per the mythologies, he became the destroyer of creatures because of a curse. When Lord Surya approached his wife, Sanjana, she closed her eyes due to his brightness. The incident angered Lord Surya, and he cursed that the son Sanjana would give birth to would be the destroyer. Yama also has a twin sister, Yami. Yami, later on, became the River Yamuna.
However, with time, Sanjana moved to Earth, and Chhaya came as her Lord. Both of them had several children. Yama felt that his mother had become partial, and he raised his leg to kick her. Chhaya, who saw the incident, cursed Yama with an infected leg. Lord Surya helped him recover from the condition. But the wound still had affected his leg badly.
After some time, Lord Surya appointed Yama as the king of death. He is also the Guardian of the South, which is the region of death. Unlike the other representations of the God of death in western mythologies, Yama works by the rule of law. He is also the king of justice and is known as the Restrainer.
Apart from that, Lord Yama has three wives. They are Hemamala, Vijaya, and Susila. Katila is one of his sons, and there are ancient texts that present Yudishtira as his son.
Weapons held by Lord Yama: Lord Yama has three weapons with him. He uses a mace, danda, and noose. As per the belief system, the mace is a part of the Sun. Lord Yama uses it along with the noose to capture the souls or lives of the people. These people are those who were about to confront death. Lord Yama is also known as Pasi, which means noose carrier. Danda is a stick or a weapon for giving punishments to others as per the Vedic texts. He held it in one of his hands.
Yama carried them with him when he traveled on his buffalo. He has a garland of flames surrounding him as well. As per the depictions, he wore red, yellow, and blue garments. He has two hounds with four fearsome eyes that follow him. They also bring the souls of dead people to the underworld. Some birds, on behalf of Lord Yama, take the souls to Yamapura or the underground. Apart from the hounds and the birds, Lord Agni also helps in bringing the soul to Yama.
Significance and role of Lord Yama: Lord Yama is one of the Hindu Gods. We believe that he resides in Naraka. Naraka is a place that has 21 levels of hell. Naraka is where a soul goes after his or her death. It is in Naraka that the purification of the souls takes place. If a person has committed sins in his or her life, they would have to spend time in Naraka. Lord Yama plays a significant role in our lives. Lord Yama is also the first mortal who died on Earth. There are beliefs that state it was because he was the first mortal that he became the king of death.
Lord Yama is the person who brings souls to Naraka. However, he does not take people's lives as a punishment. Once the soul comes to Naraga after his or her death, Yama, king of death, would hear out the worldly deeds the person has done. He would then make the judgment based on the actions they have performed. Another thing to note is that a good deed does not cancel out an evil task that a person has committed. There are three options that Lord Yama can give a person. They include:
1. For people who have done great deeds in their life, the Lord would provide them Soma, a juice drunk by God. He or she will receive permission to reside in Swarga with the wise and saintly Pitrs. Here, they can enjoy their lives without any problems. There are seven Swargas or heavens. Bhuvas, Tharus, Maha, and Savitha are four among them.
2. For people who have done good deeds in their lives, Lord Yama would send them back to Earth. The Lord would offer them rebirth on Earth. However, it is not pertinent that the person will be reborn as a human being. However, he or she would have to lead another life on Earth.
3. When people have committed evil deeds in their lives, Lord Yama can send them to Naraka. There are 21 levels of hell. Lord Yama will send them to these different levels based on the deeds that they have done.
The references of Lord Yama in the ancient texts: As Lord Yama is a figure of immense importance, there are numerous references to him in different religions and ancient texts. Lord Yama is part of the Rig Vedic Hindu deities, and we can find details on him in Vedas.
It is in the Vedas that we see him as the first mortal person. In the tenth book of Rig Veda, there are three hymns dedicated to Lord Yama. One can find references to his birth and life in Vishnu Purana. There are a plethora of legends and mythical tales associated with his life, ascendance to the position of king of death.
Thus, Lord Yama is a God with great significance in our lives. He is the Hindu God who is the king of death, justice, dharma, and the underworld or Yamapuri. He uses a noose as a weapon to gather the souls of people who are about to confront death.