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Yama – The Hindu God of Death

Yama is the Hindu God of Death. The popular belief is that he arrives with a noose on a black buffalo to take away the soul of the dead. As per Puranas, he is the son of Vavasvan and Saranju or Surya and Sanjna. His consort is Dhumorna. Yami is his sister. His vehicle or Vahana is black buffalo.

As per popular belief, Yama is the judge of the dead and decides whether a person should go to heaven or hell. He also decides on the punishment in hell. In these matters Chitragupta assists him.

But we often forget that Yama is one of the greatest teachers in the Vedas. In the Katha Upanishad, he shares the secret teachings of death and afterlife to young Nachiketa.

Again, the conversation between Yama and Satyavati after he takes away her husband is important part of Hindu teachings.

Yama also gets defeated by Shiva – For saving young Markandeya, Shiva appears and stops Yama from taking his life away.

Yam and her sister Yami is worshiped after Diwali. Dharmaraj Dasami is Chaitra month is associated with Yama.

Yama is also a dikpala or guardian of the southerly direction.

Sri Aurobindo On Yama

In the Rig Veda he [Yama] seems to have been originally a form of the Suneven as late as the Isha Upanishad we find the name used as an appellation of the Sunand then one of the twin children of the wide-shining Lord of Truth. He is the guardian of dharma, the law of the Truth, satyadharma, which is the condition of immortality, and therefore himself the guardian of immortality. His world is Swar, the world of immortality, amrite loke akshite. Yama and the ancient Fathers have discovered the path to that world which is a pasture of the Cows whence the enemy cannot bear away the radiant herds. — Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, 221