Biographies | Devtaa
Read his one story Here in Shiv Puraan
Yam Raaj is the Devtaa of Death. He is the one who keeps the account of the Paap and Punya of all the creatures through his assistant Chitrarath. When people die, he prescribes Swarg (Heaven) or Narak (pleasures or pains and sorrows) according to their Karm. He gives the dead person a resting place and prepares an abode for him. It is curious that though Yam rules the dead, he is not feared but loved because of the belief that upon death a person joins his ancestors in Heaven ruled by him.
Yam is also known as Dharm Raaj or god of justice. In this capacity he could punish the evil doer also and hence later he came to be feared. He is also mentioned in Rig Ved as one of the sons of Vivaswaan, a human. He is considered as one of the atmospheric divinities, perhaps because he was the first one to successfully reach the blessed celestial spheres. Yam and his sister Yamee are also found in the Paarasee scriptures as Yim and Yimeh.
In Hindu incest (marriage) between real sister and brother is considered a
great sin. In order to illustrate this, a dialog between Yam and Yamee is
described in Rig Ved, wherein Yamee wants to seduce her brother but Yam
successfully repulses her by pointing out the sinfulness of such a course. [
Rig Ved, 10-10]
According to Bhaagvat
Puraan, 5/8, there are four Lokpaal, one
for each direction - Indra is for East, Yam Raaj is for South, Varun is for
West, and Chandramaa is for North. To the East of Meru Parvat is Indra's
Devadhaanee Puree, to the South is Yam Raaj's Sanyamanee Puree, to the West
of meru Parvat is Varun's Nimlochanee Puree, and to the North of meru Parvat
is Chandramaa's Vibhaavaree Puree. There is an interesting Shlok about Yam Siblings of Yam
According to Bhaagvat Puraan, 5/8, there are four Lokpaal, one for each direction - Indra is for East, Yam Raaj is for South, Varun is for West, and Chandramaa is for North. To the East of Meru Parvat is Indra's Devadhaanee Puree, to the South is Yam Raaj's Sanyamanee Puree, to the West of meru Parvat is Varun's Nimlochanee Puree, and to the North of meru Parvat is Chandramaa's Vibhaavaree Puree.
There is an interesting Shlok about Yam
Siblings of Yam
Once an argument broke between Yamee and Tapatee so they both turned into
the rivers named Yamunaa and Taaptee because of one another's curse.
Yam's Earthly Children and Incarnations
Some Events of Yam's Life
(1) Yam is Cursed by Rishi Maandavya)
(2) Another Version of the Curse to Yam Raaj
Dharm said to Durvaasaa - "Hey Braahman, Why did you get angry in spite of being a Tapaswee? Anger destroys man's both grace and Tapasyaa, therefore one should abandon this anger at least at the time of Tapasyaa." Durvaasaa asked - "Who are you and who are all these people along with you?" Dharm said - "They are Brahmcharya, Satya, Tap, Dam (control on Indriyaan), Niyam (discipline), Shauch (cleanliness) etc etc. I am Dharm, please be calm and protect me. Why are you so angry?" Durvaasaa said - "I can see that I have done so much Tapasyaa with all necessary discipline but you are not pleased with me, that is why I am angry at you. I will give you three curses - "Dharm, you become a King and a maid's son and be born in Chaandaal caste." Thus after giving these three curses, Durvaasaa Muni went away. Because of these three Shaap, Dharm incarnated as King Yudhishthir in Bharat family; when he was born as a maid's son, he was known as Vidur; and when Vishwaamitra afflicted King Harishchandra, he was born as a Chaandaal to give him a job."
(3) Yam is Defeated by Shiv (Yam and Maarkandeya)
(4) Yam is Defeated by a Woman (Yam and Saavitree)
Saavitree came to the Aashram and waited for the D-Day. Three days before she kept fast, worshipped and the third day when the boy got ready to go to forest she also accompanied him in spite of stopping several times. There after a while he felt sick, Saavitree asked him to take rest and in the meantime, she saw a black man riding on a buffalo coming to her. She understood that he was Yam Raaj. She got ready to talk to him. When Yam Raaj returned after taking the boy's astral body, Saavitree followed him. To stop her coming behind him, Yam asked her to ask for a boon. Saavitree was intelligent, she asked the boon for her in-laws. they were blind and had lost their kingdom. She asked eye sight for them and return of their kingdom. She still continued to follow him. Yam Raaj again noticed her following him so he asked her to ask for another boon to stop her following him. This Saavitree asked many children for her parents. Yam gave them to her.
But Saavitree still followed him. This time Yam Raaj warned her finally and promised to give her the third and final boon. Saavitree was looking for this opportunity, she immediately asked - "I want to have 100 sons." Since Saavitree was asking children for everybody Yam Raaj granted them to her also." but found her still following him. On asking she asked - "O Yam Raaj, What type of Devtaa you are? You are giving me boon of 100 sons and taking my husband with you?" Hearing this Yam Raaj got embarrassed, beat his head that a young girl had cheated him. He had to return her husband to her.
(5) Yam and Nachiketaa Or Yam Geetaa (Kath Upanishad)
Nachiketaa asked his first boon that "his father should not be angry at him when he returns home. He should be happy to see him in the same way as he was when he looked at him when he was born." In the second boon, he asked "I have heard that there is a land in which one lives free from old age and is forever young. They also say that you know an Agni Vidyaa (fire sacrifice or Yagya) that leads to this land. Teach me that sacrifice as my second boon." Yam bestowed these two boons without any hitch, but what Nachiketaa asked as his third boon shook him from head to foot. He had to bribe him with many things for asking some other boon instead of that one, but Nachiketaa remained unmoved. He asked - "I want to know the secret of life and death. When you take away the life of somebody, where does he go? Is that the end, or there is something which you cannot kill? And if that is the end, then also I want to be certain; and if it is possible to go beyond death, then show me the way." And Yam had to tell him everything about it - this is written in Kath Upanishad.
(6) Yam Raaj and Yudhishthir
When Sahadev did not come for some time, Yudhishthir sent his other brothers but all of them met the same fate as of Sahadev. Then Yudhishthir himself went there. He found his all brothers dead but without any sign of struggling of weapon or fighting etc. He did not understand how his so mighty brothers were dead just like that. He thought that first let him drink water then he would find out, so as he strated drinking water that the same Yaksh appeared again and said the same thing to him also. Yudhishthir respected him and answered his all questions correctly. After that Yaksh told him that he had killed his brothers because they tried to drink water without fulfilling his condition. Now since he was very happy with Yudhishthir, he was ready to bring his one brother alive. Yudhishthir said - "If you are pleased with me please bring my Sahadev alive." Yaksh was very pleased to hear this and he brought all his brothers alive.
Then the Yaksh asked Yudhishthir to ask for a boon. Yudhishthir said - "Now our A-Gyaatvaas is going to begin, grant us the boon that we are not recognized during that period." "So be it." After that Yudhishthir said - "May I ask you one question?" Yaksh said - "Sure." he said - "Who are you? You cannot be Yaksh as Yaksh have no power to bring dead people alive. If it is not objectionable, please temm your true identity." Yaksh said - "You are right. I am not a Yaksh. I am Dharm Raaj, your father. I wanted to see you that is why I played this game. I was the deer who ran away with Braahman's things. Take them." Yaksh returned Braahman's things to him and disappeared.
(7) Yam Geetaa
Yam Raaj and Raavan
Some Stories About Yam Raaj
Yam Deep Daan - Story Related to Dhan Teras (Kaarttik Krishn 13th day)
Yam Raaj came in the guise of a serpent to bite him, but shine of the dazzling jewels blinded him and he could not fulfill his duty. He waited impatiently with no results. The whole night passed like this waiting and nothing happened. The next day arrived by the break of dawn, and Hima's son was saved from the jaws of death. Since then, this day of Dhan Teras came to be known as the day of "Yam Deep Daan" day and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yam, the god of Death.
13 names of Yam Raaj
A Shlok by Yam Raaj
If the Supreme Lord gives one protection, even though one has no protector and is in the jungle, one remains alive, whereas a person well protected at home by relatives and others sometimes dies, no one being able to protect him. Our plans to protect or annihilate do not act, but whatever the Lord thinks of doing actually happens..... Prahlaad said that a child is certainly dependent on his father and mother, but in spite of their presence, the child is harassed in many ways........ Sometimes, in spite of a supply of good medicine and an experienced physician, a patient does not survive..... Therefore, since everything is dependent on the free will of the Supreme God, our only duty is to surrender unto Him and seek His protection.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 06/15/13