We know that we are made up of the body, mind and soul. When we die, the body and the mind die but the soul can never perish. In hinduism, the law of karma is the ultimate law that rules the living. According to this law, all beings are destined to face the consequences of their each and every action done in a lifetime. These consequences are either met with during the present lifetime or get carried over to the next life.
The next life? Yes, as per hinduism, rebirth is what happens to you after you die. No heaven, no hell. Just the circle of life, death and rebirth. People who are enlightened, though, do not face rebirth and are liberated from the cycle. Others who are bound by the law of karma tend to take birth in some form or the other and experience the results of their past actions.
So when the body and the mind die, we are dead, but the soul isn’t. The soul awaits rebirth in the land of the dead which belongs to Yamaraj or Yamadev in hindu mythology. But did you know that Yamaraj can never be reborn? He is stuck in the land of the dead and there is a story in the oldest Veda, the Rigveda, about it. Let’s explore!
According to Rigveda, Yama was the first man and the son of the sun god Surya. He had a sister called Yami. Yami approached Yama to lay with her and reproduce children. To this Yama refused because they were siblings. Thus, Yama died childless while his sister, Yami, mourned for him.
In this way, Yama became the first one to enter the land of the dead, also called Pitr-loka. It is believed that rebirth can only occur when one leaves children in the land of the living. These children reproduce and thus, the ancestors staying in the land of the dead get reborn as their children.
Yama didn’t have any children and is, therefore, still in Pitr-lok. He is the oldest forefather and the king of the ancestors. He ensures that dharma is upheld by enabling rebirth based on a person’s previous merits and demerits. For this reason he is often referred to as Dharma. His accountant, Chitragupta keeps account of all our good and bad deeds. This is why he is known as the lord of accountants.
This is the story of Yamaraj, the one who can never be reborn but ensures that others do. He is the balancer of karma and the lord of dharma in hindu mythology. People fear his fierceness when it comes to doing justice with the kind of life a person will have after being reborn.
The being of the dark, Yamadev rides a buffalo as per hinduism and is known for his ruthless yet honest decision making capacity in the land of the dead. Fearsome he may be, but he will always remain the true and just king of the dead and the unborn in hinduism.