By Swami Harshananda
Origin of Yamasukta
The Yamasukta is a part of the Ṛgveda. It comprises 16 ṛks or mantras. Yama, the god of death and dharma, is the rsi or the sage to whom it was revealed. Yama, the pitṛs and Sārameyas are the devatās to whom the sukta is addressed.
Content of Yamasukta
- The first mantra urges the yajamāna to worship Yama with oblations.
- Yama is the person who takes the souls of beings who have performed good deeds, to higher worlds safely avoiding the two fierce dogs of Yama.
- At the same time, prayer is offered to Yama in the eleventh mantra to see that his dogs protect this spirit.
- The twelfth mantra describes how the two dogs of Yama move about in this world among persons who are about to die to take them to Yama.
- In the thirteenth mantra, there is an appeal or a direction to the ṛtviks to press the soma juice to be offered to Yama.
- In the fourteenth mantra, the ṛtviks are requested to offer the oblation of ghee to Yama so that he can grant a long life.
- In the fifteenth mantra there is an appeal to the ṛtviks to give sweet oblations of puroḍāśa to Yama.
- Then obeisance is offered to the ancient ṛṣis.
- The last sixteenth mantra describes Yama as taking part in three kinds of sacrifice:
- This sacrifice occupies six regions of creation to witness the doings of all the living beings.
- Some of these mantras are used in aparakarmas or the rites performed after the death of a person.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore