Yama

The sons of Surya (Karna, Sugriva, Vaiwaswatha Manu, Aswini Twins, Sani, Yama)

Yama is the best son of Surya as far as I know. He is The Lord of Dharma. Yama in yoga is the first step of self-control. The Yamaha you drive around is named after him. Yama is worshipped in China, Japan and Kerala and has strong connections to the South of India. Mudrarakshasa has an episode, where in a person goes around with a picture of Yama telling people of his greatness. (mahima). This custom is followed for Sani in the south.

Much of the Dharma we have today has roots in Yama’s Dharma Sastras. Bhishma quotes Yama. There are Rg Veda Mantras in which Yama tells his sister Yami why a brother may not marry a sister. (By the way, Yama is against dowry system.)

Much of the Dharma we have today has roots in Yama’s Dharma Sastras.

Telugu movies generally make light fun of Yama as in the movies Devanthakudu, Yamagola and Yamadonga (same basic story in all three)., and he is seen only in the role of  the person who judges you at the time of death and decides where you will go. Some people and traditions even confuse him with mRtyu – death and kAla – time (death due to time).

Unlike this in the movie Sri Manjunatha, you see the devotee Manjunatha welcoming Yama as the one’s best friend. So I like the song. The character Manjunatha is played by the Kannada Actor incidentally named Arjun! The one you see with the famous noose in the video is Siva and not Yama, since Manjunatha was an an exceptional devotee. (As Indra came for Sravana Kumara, Yama came for Markandeya). Really lesser mortals get only messengers or dUtas.

Brothers of Yama : 

When you say the son of Surya Deva (the sun), most people think of the tragic hero Karna. When there was a conflict between Indra‘s son Arjuna and Surya’ s son Karna, Surya merely warned Karna in a dream about Indra’s plot, whereas Indra in the guise of a Brahmin, actively took away Karna’s Kavacha-Kundalas – Surya’s protective gift at birth. So on the one hand people blame Indra for interfering and on the other Surya for not doing enough! When there was a conflict between Indra’s son Vali and Surya’s son Sugriva, neither of them stepped in to help and in that round it was Surya’s son who won. Sugriva was an exceptional warrior and  friend of Rama, while Arjuna was Krishna‘s friend. It was Vishnu as the friend who once granted victory to Indra’s son, Arjuna as Krishna and once granted victory to Surya’s son, Sugreeva as Rama. Friends matter more than fathers some times! And father who grants you good looks and intelligence and does not support you through conflicts reminds me of our father Surya. He has given us life and and daily energy and expects us to take care of ourselves! Vaiwaswatha Manu, the Dravidian king and ancestor of Rama and Krishna, was the son of Vivaswan, which is another name for Surya! Vaiwaswatha Manu was also known as Satyavrata manu. Incidentally, it was Vishnu as the Matsya Avataram who saved Vaiwaswatha Manu. The Aswini (Ashwini) Twins are sons of Surya, who only got devata status thanks Chyavana, son of Bhrgu (Bhrigu, Bhrugu). They were initially kept out on the grounds that could not be Devas. s’ani (Saturn) is a son of Surya. He represents Karmic influences in Astrology. And many people worship Surya when they want relief from the periods of Sani in their life. While some traditions hold that Sani’s mother was Chaaya, the shadow of Surya’s wife Sandhya (dawn), one hindi tv serial holds that it is Sandhya who is the mother. Sani periods are pay up time and most people want to have as little to do with this lord of Karma as possible.

Yama in China and Japan

 

 Quoted from http://www.earnshaw.com/shanghai-ed-india/tales/library/chinajournal/journal1926/March/0303.htm

“In Tokyo one of the most popular festivals is celebrated on the day consecrated to Emma-o (the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese characters for Yen Mo Wang . The ceremonies in honour of Yama are attended by enormous crowds and are performed by laymen; the Buddhist clergy do not on that day, as far as I know, participate in the worship of Yama. A feature of this Japanese Yama festival are the religious plays enacted in tents erected for the occasion.

In China, Yen-wang or King Yama is certainly well known everywhere. I am told that his images are to be found in all the city temples which have been built throughout the country ever since the the Ming period. In the Tung-yueh-miao outside Ch’ao-yang-men, Peking, a terrible Yama image is also found. I have not, however, been able to find out whether a special festival is held anywhere in China in honour of Yama. His name is frequently mentioned by the Buddhist priests, who read the scriptures at higher-class funerals, and occasionally incense is burnt before the representations of the god in the various temples. I have searched for the special Yama temples which I was told existed in Peking, but in vain.

In Peking there are at least two streets called Yen-wang-miao Chieh, or “Street of King Yama’s Temple.” One of them is near the Government Printing Office. Many persons living in that street have been questioned as to the location of the Yama temple, which gave the street its name, but none could give a satisfactory answer. Even the memory of the sanctuary, which surely must have existed, had vanished.

The other Yen-wang-miao Chieh is just outside the Hatamen gate and the temple of Yama was easily located; but it was found that the temple contained no images. It had three years before been converted into a fire brigade station. This change will probably be acclaimed by many as another victory of modern science over the powers of hell, but it will be sincerely regretted by all those interested in comparative mythology.” 

Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula
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