Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 4:24 AM
According to Hindu mythology, Yama also known as Yamaraja, is the lord of death. Based on one's good and bad deeds, Yamaraja decides which Naraka (lower world or hell) or heaven (higher world) the soul needs to spend time in, before returning to the earth- only world from which the soul can permanently escape the birth and death cycle. Hell (Naraka) is only a purgatory where the soul gets purified of sin by sufferings. There are many hells, and Yamaraja, sends human beings after death for appropriate punishment. Yamaraja rides on a buffalo and carries a heavy mace and a noose, which he puts round the necks of his victims in order to drag them back to his abode. In images, he is depicted with green or red skin, red clothes.
Yamaraja is no longer the generous figure who welcomes the dead to heaven. He presides not over the delightful abode of the Manes or Pitris but over hell (Naraka). His gloomy palace, Kalichi, is situated in the lower regions in the southern quarter of the compass, of which he is the regent. All souls must pass before his throne of judgment in Kalichi, where his recorder, Chandragupta, reads out from a great book the sum of the dead one's virtues and sins. According to this register a judgment is passed by Yamaraja, who may consign the soul to one of his hells, to the abode of the Pitris, or to another life on the earth. Heaven or Hell is allotted as per previous karma (actions of body, speech and mind) of a man. Yamaraja also keeps another register, the great Book of Destiny, in which each person's allotted period of life is recorded. When the Book of Destiny shows that a man’s particular time of death has come, Yamaraja sends his messengers to fetch him. All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India.