God of death, brother of river Yamuna… Many secrets of Yamraj are hidden in Vedas and Puranas. theinsiderinsight

In the Gita, while explaining to Arjuna, who is sitting with his head bowed behind the chariot, gripped by grief and attachment, Shri Krishna explains to him the unchangeable truth of birth and death. He says that 'the one who is born is certain to die and the one who has died is certain to be born again. Here he is talking about death and rebirth and says that that is why mourning someone's death is false.

Jatasya hi dhruvo mrityurdhruvam janma mritsya ch.
Tasmadpariharyeyarthe na tvam shochitumharsi..2.27.

Death is discussed in another context of Mahabharata. When the Yaksha asks Yudhishthir what is the biggest surprise? So in response to this Yudhishthir says that every single day man sees someone dying suddenly, yet he thinks that his death is not yet imminent. Birth and death have been the two biggest mysteries of life. Even in the primitive era, man would have first considered someone's death as a matter of great mystery. How did that which was still alive, which had movement and which was capable of speaking, laughing, walking, saying something, suddenly become so lifeless? This question must have shocked the man a lot. That is why when he was able to say something, narrate or express his curiosities, he also mentioned death in great detail.

In Rigveda, along with Surya, Moon, Indra, Agni and Rudra, there is another god mentioned in the category of gods, his name is Yama. Yama means god of death. In the Puranas, Yama is easily considered the god of death, but in reality, in Rigveda, Yama is not the god of death himself, rather he is a symbol of religion and those people whom death kills, Yama keeps them in his world. . That is, here it seems that Yama and death are two different gods, but in the Puranas, Yama is considered to be the one who gives death. In these stories, Yama's direction is shown to be south and he is the ombudsman of this direction. That is why the south direction is considered the direction of death and in Sanatan tradition there is a rule to eat food only once while facing the south direction. When someone's father dies, he donates the ashes, tarpan, water and body of all these in the south direction only. Till the age of thirteen, one eats food facing this direction. On normal days, eating food while sitting towards the south is prohibited, because it is the direction of death.

In Rig Veda, Yama has been called Vivasvan Yama. Probably for this reason Yama has been called the son of Surya in the Puranas. Vivasvan is a name of the Sun in the Vedas. Yamsukta is the 14th Sukya of the tenth division of Rigveda. In this, while praising Yama, it is said that, Vivasvan Yama, you are the one who will take out the dead souls from the cremation ground and give them the best world. Therefore you come and accept this offering of Yagya. You maintain peace in this world and maintain the laws of nature.

Pareyivansam pravto mahiranu bahubhyah panthamanupaspashanam.
Vaivaswatam Sangamanam Jananam Yamam Rajanam Havisha Duvasya ॥1॥
Yamo no gatun prathamo viveda naisha gavyutirapabhartava u.
Yatra Nah Purve Pitrah Pareyurena Jajnaah Pathya Anu Swah ॥2॥
Matali kavyairyamo angirobhirbhrispatirrikvabhirvavridhanah.

Meaning: Offer sacrificial offerings to Yama, son of Vivasvan, who takes people who perform good deeds to the right place after death and gives them auspicious places according to their deeds. Everyone has to go to him. He is the only one who has the knowledge of sin and virtue and is the one who knows religion. No one can change the path of Yama, the path on which our ancestors have already gone, we will all go on the same path according to our karma.

The trend of calling Yama a religion also happened because Yama never wavers in his duty. When the time cycle of life is completed, Yama takes away the lives of everyone without any discrimination. This is the reason why in the Puranas, kings like Shiva, Yudhishthir, Vidur and Harishchandra are considered the incarnation of religion. This religion is none other than another name of Yamraj.

Regarding the birth of Yama, there is a story in Bhagwat Purana that he is the son of Sun God. Suryadev was married to Vishwakarma's daughter Sandhya, but Sandhya could not bear the brightness of the Sun and started staying away from him. After the birth of Surya's twin children Yama and Yami, she manifested a shadow of herself and went to live in her father's house. In this way Surya had four children. Yama and Yami from Sandhya, Shani and Tapti from Chhaya.

In the Vedas and Upanishads, Yama has been described as the symbol of truth and religion and has also been called the most knowledgeable person. Yama is the one who understands and explains the real value of life. This is also confirmed by the story of Kathopanishad, in which Yama himself gave the knowledge of deep secrets of life to a seven year old boy Nachiketa. The story goes that Nachiketa's father Vajashrava performed a big yajna and pledged to donate all his cows. In fact these cows were sick and old. Nachiketa did not like this. He started stopping his father from donating and said that he donates only his favorite and best things. I am the most dear to you, so tell me to whom you will donate me. Vajashrava became angry when Nachiketa repeatedly asked such questions and he angrily said, “Go, I will donate you to Yama.”

Nachiketa traveled to Yamalok to keep his father's words. After reaching there, he pleased Yamraj and obtained knowledge of the basic essence of life from him. In this story, Yama's fierce nature has been described, but he has also been described as having a calm mind and a knowledgeable person along with mysticism. This story of Nachiketa written in Kathopanishad is the first attempt to solve the confusions found in humans regarding the curiosities of life.

The conversation between Yama and his sister Yamuna (Yami) is also recorded in the Samvad Sukta of the Rig Veda. This Samvad Sukta explains the values ​​of family in the Indian system and also underlines the sanctity of the relationship between brother and sister. There are many contradictions among the Veda pundits regarding this story of Yama-Yami in Rigveda. Actually once Yamraj goes to Yami's house. Yami and Yam's father is Vivaswan, but Yami, who has always been separated from her brother, considers him as her lover. When Yama reaches Yami's house, she proposes his love to her. Then Yama tells him that we are children of the same father and the same mother. Your mother Sandhya is my mother too. So don't propose love to me. Hearing Yama's words, Yami becomes very disappointed and starts repenting. This decision of Yama has been seen with great greatness in the Rigveda and this story also becomes an example of the dignity of relations between brother and sister.

O chitsakhayam sakhya vavrityaam tirah puru chidarnavam jaganvan
Piturnapatma dadhit vedha adhi kshmi prataram didhyaanh. 1..

Na Te Sakha Sakhyam Vashtyetatsalakshma Yadvishurupa Bhavati
Mahasputraso Asurasya Veera Divo Dhartar Urviya Pari Khyan. 2 ..

Ushanti gha te amritaas etdekasya chittijasam martyasya
Ni te mano manasi dhayyasme janyuh patistanv1ma vivishyah. 3..

Na Yatpura Chakrima Kadha Nunamrita Vadanto Anritam Rapem
Gandharvo Apsvapya Cha Yosha Sa No Nabhi: Param Jami Tannau. 4..

A story of Yama and Yami is described in the context of different incidents in Vishnu Purana, Kurma Purana and Markandeya Purana. According to Vishnu Purana, one day Yama reached the house of his sister Yami. According to Bhagwat Katha, no one is happy when Yama (i.e. death) himself reaches his doorstep, but on the contrary, Yami was very happy to see her brother. Yami gave seat to Yama with great respect. Prepared dishes and fed him and made him very satisfied with the food etc. Seeing such hospitality for the first time, Yama was very happy and asked Yami to ask for a boon. Yami did not ask for anything for herself but said that any sister who serves food to her brother on this day and welcomes him into her home should never fear death. Yama also said that any brother who visits his sister's house on this day and honors her and takes care of her will not fear untimely death.

In the Puranas, the story of the formation of Yamuna river also seems to originate from this union of Yama and Yami. When Yama tells Yami that he is her brother and hence he cannot accept Yami's love, Yami feels very sad. She starts regretting. Gradually his body melts and turns into water and from this stream of water emerges the Yamuna River. The antiquity of Yamuna river is much older than that of Ganga. After this story of Yama-Yami, the day of Yama Dwitiya, which falls after Diwali, has great significance. On this day, it is important for brothers and sisters to take bath in Yamuna together and it is believed that some food should be prepared and fed on the banks of the river. This tradition is going on in many areas of North India.

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