Lord Yama is the Hindu god of death, dharma, and justice. He rules the realm of hell, also known as Yamaloka. He has quite a big influence on the core believers in Hinduism. Throughout India, Lord Yama is widely recognised by other names as well, such as Yamraj, Kaladeva, and Dharmaraja.

According to Hindu scriptures, Lord Yama is in charge of carrying out afterlife justice on people’s souls. He’s mentioned in the scriptures as the first mortal who was later promoted as the god of death. In fact, he’s shown dying a few times in several puranas and being brought back to life by Lord Shiva.

Five Elements Of Nature Assist Yama

It’s said that the five elements, like time (kaal), fever (jwara), disease (vyadhi), anger (krodha), and jealousy (asuya), assist Yama in doing his duty of capturing the most sinful souls. People who practise and have good faith in Hinduism share mixed feelings about this god.

They see Lord Yama as both the saviour of their souls and the punisher. Only if they are held accountable for their collective bad karma in life. Thus, in this post, here is a list of five such unknown facts about Yamraj that you may not have known before.

The 14 Names Of Yamaraj

Being one of the most important gods in the Hindu pantheon, Lord Yama is called by many names, 14 to be exact. These names are used during the worship of Yama on the day before Diwali – the Hindu festival of lights. There is also an age-old tradition of lighting lamps in these 14 names of Lord Yama on that day.

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Yama (यम)Chitragupta (चित्रगुप्त)
Dharmaraja (धर्मराज)Vaivaswat (वैवस्वत)
Mrtyu (मृत्यु)Kaal (काल)
Antak (अन्तक)Dadhna (दध्न)
Sarva Bhoot Akshay (सर्वभूतक्षय)Neel (नील)
Audumbar (औदुम्बर)Parmeshthi (परमेष्ठी)
Chitra (चित्र)Vrkodar (वृकोदर)

It’s believed that by doing so, one can please Lord Yamaraj and escape the possibility of premature death. Also, one should recite the Yama mantra where all of his 14 names are mentioned to purify their souls.

यमाय धर्मराजाय मृत्यवे चांतकाय च, वैवस्वताय कालाय सर्वभूतक्षयाय च।
औदुम्बराय दध्नाय नीलाय परमेष्ठिने, व्रकोदराय चित्राय चित्रगुप्ताय वै नम:।

The Duty Of Yamaraj

Being the god of death, Lord Yama is the guardian of the south (the region of death in Hinduism) and the king of Yamaloka. According to the vedas, Yama was the first mortal who died on the face of the earth.

Therefore, he was promoted to be the god of death by Lord Shiva. Yamaloka, the abode of Lord Yama, is also called Naraka. There are 21 levels of hell in this place. In fact, this is the place where the purification of all souls takes place.

Among the many duties of Yamaraja, he’s best known for bringing souls to his abode in Naraka after one’s death. But it’s worth noting that Lord Yama himself does not take one’s life as a punishment. Actually, Chitragupta is the one who keeps track of one’s karma, whether good or bad.

The Weapons Of Yamraj

Lord Yama is shown with three weapons: a mace, danda, and noose. The Mace is said to be a part of the Surya Deva (the Sun God). Yamaraja uses his weapons to capture and punish souls for their bad karma.

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According to various puranas, when Yamaraja needs to punish a sinner, he uses his danda. Yama got this danda as a blessing from Lord Brahma. It’s said that no living being can escape from its grip.

This is why it’s also called the Kaladanda. As per a few legends, Brahma gave him the weapon to control the population and punish the sinners.

The Wives Of Yamaraj

According to the sacred texts like Vishnu Purana and Vishnu Dharmottara, Lord Yama had a total of three wives. They are Dhumorna, Syamala, and Hema-mala, respectively. 

The first wife of Lord Yama, Dhumorna is the goddess of the funeral pyre. Her name appears in the majority of ancient texts, whereas the other two, Syamala and Hema-mala, are only mentioned in a few Puranas, primarily the Garuda Purana.

The Yamraj Mantra

Hindus believe that if one regularly recites this Yama Gayatri mantra with full devotion and a pure heart, it will end the fear of death. It also ends the fear of premature death. If you can please Lord Yama by chanting this mantra, your past sins could be forgiven and bring you closer to getting moksha.

ॐ सूर्यपुत्राय विद्महे महाकालाय धीमहि तन्नो यम: प्रचोदयात्

Om Surya Putraya Vidmahe Mahakalay,
Dheemahi Tanno Yamaha Prachodayat