Yama: The Glorious Lord of the Other World
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Short DescriptionsThe image of Yama, the god of death in Hindu mythology, has come to have many variants. Dr. Merh’s study tries to capture these against their essential literary settings to explore all possible traits of Yama’s personality.
In the Hindu pantheon, Yama holds a unique place. A counterpart, in the indigenous tradition, of Avestan Yima, Egyptian Osiris or Greek Pluto, he inspires terror in the heart of an average mortal : not only owing to his overlordship of the abode of the dead, but also for his identification with death itself. Yama’s image in Hindu mythology, however, has come to have full many variants — which Dr. Merh’s study tries to capture against their essential literary settings. Based on the prodigious mass of India’s old-world scriptural literature — the Vedas, Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads, besides the puranic texts, the book meticulously explores all possible traits of Yama’s personality, highlighting how the mythical view of this glorious, other-world god passes through a striking change over the millennia between the Rigveda and the later Puranas. Unfolding the deity’s ‘Vedic’ and ‘Puranic’ descriptions — respectively in part 1 and part 2 of the book, the author focusses specially on Yama, the creator, preacher, the philosopher, the law-giver, the punisher and above all, on his role as an eschatologist. Invaluable to the scholars of Indology, Hindu mythology and comparative religion.