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Yama (यम), Kala, and Dharmaraja is the Hindu god of death and justice, responsible for the dispensation of law and punishment of sinners in his abode, Yamaloka.[1] He is often identified with Dharma, the personification of Dharma, though they have different origins and mythologies.[2] From there, he has remained a significant deity, appearing in some of the most important texts of Hinduism including the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas.


Etymology and characteristics

Yama (यम) means 'twin' (Yama has a twin sister, Yami), and later came to mean 'binder' (derived from "yam"); the word also means 'moral rule or duty' (i.e. dharma), 'self-control', 'forbearance', and 'cessation'.[3]

Yama (यम) is the son of sun-god Surya[4] and Sanjana, the daughter of Vishvakarma.

Yama (यम) is the brother of Sraddhadeva Manu and of his older sister Yami, which Horace Hayman Wilson indicates to mean the Yamuna.[5]

Yama (यम), according to the Vedas, is said to have been the first mortal who died. By virtue of precedence, he became the ruler of the departed,[6] and is called "Lord of the Pitrs".[7]

Yama (यम)is one of the Lokapalas (guardians of the directions), appointed as the protector of the south direction. He is often depicted as a dark-complexioned man, riding a buffalo and carrying a noose or mace to capture souls. Scriptures describe him as the twin of Yami, and the son of the sun god Surya (in earlier traditions Vivasvat) and Sanjna. Some of his major appearances include in the tales of the Pandavas, Savitri Satyavan and the sage Markandeya. He is accompanied by Chitragupta, another deity associated with death.[8] In modern culture, Yama has been depicted in various safety campaigns in India. He is the god of death and justice as mentioned above.

In Mahabharata

Yama (यम) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.3.13), (III.13.19), (IX.44.15),(IX.44.27), (XII.122.27)

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 3 describes Mainaka Parvata, north of Kailasa near Bindusara and dwelling of Bhagiratha. Yama (यम) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.3.13)[9]....On the north of Kailasa in the mountains of Mainaka, there is a huge peak of gems and jewels called Hiranya-sringa. Near that peak is a delightful lake of the name of Vindu (Bindusara). There, on its banks, previously dwelt king Bhagiratha for many years, desiring to behold the goddess Ganga, since called Bhagirathi after that king's name.....There the fierce Mahadeva, the eternal lord of every creature, has taken up his abode after having created all the worlds and there he dwelleth, worshipped with reverence by thousands of spirits.

There Nara and Narayana, Brahma and Yama and Sthanu the fifth, perform their sacrifices at the expiration of a thousand yugas.

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 13 mentions Arjuna's recites to angry Krishna the feats achieved in his former lives. Yama (यम) is mentioned in Mahabharata (III.13.19)[10]....Thou hadst slain all the Daityas and Danavas mustered in battle, and giving the lord of Sachi (Indra) the sovereignty of the universe, thou hast, O Kesava of mighty arms, taken thy birth among men! O slayer of all foes, having floated on the primordial waters, thou subsequently becamest Hari, and Brahma and Surya and Dharma, and Dhatri and Yama and Anala and Vasu, and Vaisravana, and Rudra, and Kala and the firmament the earth, and the ten directions!

Shalya Parva, Mahabharata/Book IX Chapter 44 describes the Gods, Kings and clans who joined the ceremony for investing Kartikeya with the status of generalissimo. Yama (यम) is mentioned in Mahabharata (IX.44.15) [11]....And there came also Kala, Yama, Mrityu, and the followers of Yama.....Mahabharata (IX.44.27) [12] describes....Yama gave him two companions, both of whom resembled Death, Unmatha and Pramatha, possessed of great energy and great splendour. Endued with great prowess, Surya, with a gratified heart, gave unto Kartikeya two of his followers named Subhraja and Bhaskara.

Shanti Parva Mahabharata Book XII Chapter 122 Yama (यम) is mentioned in Mahabharata (XII.122.27)[13]....After this the great god appointed a few among the gods as the lords or rulers of their respective classes. It was then that he made the divine Indra of a thousand eyes the ruler of the deities. Yama the son of Vivaswat was made the lord of the Pitris. Kuvera was made the lord of treasures and of all the Rakshasas.


यम या यमराज हिन्दू धर्म के अनुसार मृत्यु के देवता हैं। इनका उल्लेख वेद में भी आता है। इनकी जुड़वां बहन यमुना (यमी) है। यमराज, महिषवाहन (भैंसे पर सवार) दण्डधर हैं। वे जीवों के शुभाशुभ कर्मों के निर्णायक हैं। यमराज दक्षिण दिशा के दिक् पाल कहे जाते हैं और आजकल मृत्यु के देवता माने जाते हैं। यमराज की पत्नी देवी धुमोरना थी। कतिला यमराज व धुमोरना का पुत्र था। कुंती और यमराज के पुत्र का नाम युधिष्ठिर था | विश्वकर्मा की पुत्री संज्ञा से भगवान सूर्य के पुत्र यमराज, श्राद्धदेव मनु और यमुना उत्पन्न हुईं।

वैदिक काम में यम और यमी दोनों देवता, ऋषि और मंत्रकर्ता माने जाते थे और 'यम' को लोग 'मृत्यु' से भिन्न मानते थे। पर बाद में यम ही प्राणियों को मारनेवाले अथवा इस शरीर में से प्राण निकालनेवाले माने जाने लगे। वैदिक काल में यज्ञों में यम की भी पूजा होती थी और उन्हे हवि दिया जाता था। उन दिनों वे मृत पितरों के अधिपति तथा मरनेवाले लोगों को आश्रय देनेवाला माने जाते थे। तब से अब तक इनका एक अलग लोक माना जाता है, जो 'यमलोक' कहलाता है।

मार्कडेयपुरण में लिखा है कि जब विश्वकर्मा की कन्या संज्ञा ने अपने पति सूर्य को देखकर भय से आँखें बंद कर ली, तब सूर्य ने क्रुद्ध होक उसे शाप दिया कि जाओ, तुम्हें जो पुत्र होगा, वह लोगों का संयमन करनेवाला (उनके प्राण लेनेवाला) होगा। जब इसपर संज्ञा ने उनकी और चंचल दृष्टि से देखा, तब फिर उन्होने कहा कि तुम्हें जो कन्या होगी, वह इसी प्रकार चंचलतापूर्वक नदी के रूप में बहा करेगी। पुत्र तो यही यम हुए और कन्या यमी हुई, जो बाद में 'यमुना' के नाम से प्रसिद्ध हुई।


  1. "Yama". World History Encyclopedia.
  2. Kumar, Venkat Sai Krishna. "Yama". Hindugods.in.
  3. Danielou, Alain (2017-01-01). The Myths and Gods of India: The Classic Work on Hindu Polytheism. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-3638-9; "Sanskrit Dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit". spokensanskrit.org.
  4. Effectuation of Shani Adoration pp. 10–15
  5. H.H. Wilson: The Vishnu Purana Volume 1, p. 384
  6. Arthur Anthony Macdonell (1995). Vedic Mythology. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 172. ISBN 978-8120811133.
  7. Shanti Lal Nagar: Harivamsa Purana Volume 1, p. 85
  8. "Lord Chitragupta - Who helps Lord Yamaraj to maintain karmic accounts". Detechter. 5 December 2017.
  9. नरनारायणौ ब्रह्मा यमः स्थाणुश च पञ्चमः, उपासते यत्र सत्रं सहस्रयुगपर्यये (II.3.13)
  10. स तवं नारायणॊ भूत्वा हरिर आसीः परंतप, बरह्मा सॊमश च सूर्यश च धर्मॊ धाता यमॊ ऽनलः (III.13.19), वायुर वैश्रवणॊ [[Rudra|रुद्रः ] कालः खं पृथिवी दिशः (III.13.20)
  11. धर्मश च भगवान देवः समाजग्मुर हि संगताः, कालॊ यमश च मृत्युश च यमस्यानुचराश च ये (IX.44.15)
  12. यमः पराथाथ अनुचरौ यम कालॊपमाव उभौ, उन्मादं च परमादं च महावीर्यौ महाथ्युती (IX.44.27)
  13. देवानाम ईश्वरं चक्रे देवं दशशतेक्षणम, यमं वैवस्वतं चापि पितॄणाम अकरॊत पतिम