God of the Day: Yama

Today's god is Yama, the god of the dead in India. You can read more about Yama at Wikipedia. Yama is also sometimes regarded a god of justice, or Dharma. His abode is in the south, and he has a water-buffalo named Paundraka as his vahana, or vehicle. He is often shown carrying a pasha (a noose or lasso), and sometimes a danda (stick). Yama is assisted by a scribe known as Chitragupta.

In the Mahabharata, Yama (Dharma) is the father of the eldest of the Pandava brothers, Yudhishthira, who later becomes king.

In addition to his important role in Hindu traditions, Yama is also part of the Buddhist tradition; you can find out more about Yama in Buddhism in a separate Wikipedia article: Yama (Buddhism).


One of the comic books on Reserve in Bizzell contains a famous story from the ancient Upanishads about the god Yama and a wise and brave boy named Nachiketa: Nachiketa: A Collection Of Stories From The Upanishads. Bizzell Reserves call number: PN 6790 .I443 A437 v.702. Nachiketa is the son of a sage, and even as a young boy he is occupied with spiritual questions. When his pet deer dies, Nachiketa wants to know whether there is life after death. In a moment of anger, his father curses him to become a gift to Yama, the god of death. Nachiketa obediently marches to the abode of Yama, and Yama grants him three boons. Nachiketa asks for his father to be cheerful, then he asks for a sacrificial rite to alleviate hunger and thirst, and then he wants to know whether there is life after death. When Nachiketa insists on an answer, Yama enlightens him, and Nachiketa goes back home to his father. You can read more about the legend of Nachiketa at Wikipedia.

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