Yama, aka: Yāma, Yāmā; 32 Definition(s)


Yama means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Yoga (school of philosophy)

Moral Disciplines; First step of the Ashtanga;

In Yoga philoshopy, there are five or ethical standards called the Fice Yama's. They act as moral guidelines.

The five yama's are:

  1. Non-violence
  2. Non-lying
  3. Non-stealing
  4. Non-sensuality
  5. Non-greed
Source: Wisdom Library: Yoga

Yama (यम, “forbearance”) is a Sanskrit word referring to “respect for others”. It is one of the eight brances of yoga, also known as the eightfold-path (aṣṭānga). Also see the fifth section of the Varāha-upaniṣad.

Yama is of ten kinds:

  1. ahiṃsā (nonviolence)
  2. satya (truthfulness)
  3. asteya (not stealing)
  4. brahmacarya (celibacy when single, not cheating on one's partner)
  5. kṣamā (forgiveness)
  6. dhṛti (fortitude)
  7. dayā (compassion)
  8. ārjava (non-hypocrisy, sincerity)
  9. mitāhāra (measured diet)
  10. śauca (purity, cleanliness)
Source: Wisdom Library: Yoga
Yoga book cover
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Yoga is originally considered a branch of Hindu philosophy (astika), but both ancient and modern Yoga combine the physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga teaches various physical techniques also known as āsanas (postures), used for various purposes (eg., meditation, contemplation, relaxation).

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Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

Yāma (याम):—Sanskrit technical term corresponding to 3 hours (or, 1/8th of a day and night), used in Rasaśāstra literature (Medicinal Alchemy) such as the Rasaprakāśasudhākara or the Rasaratna-samuccaya.

Source: Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra
Rasashastra book cover
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Rasashastra (रसशास्त्र, rasaśāstra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Yama (यम) is the Sanskrit name of one of Bharata’s sons, mentioned in the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.26-33. After Brahmā created the Nāṭyaveda (nāṭyaśāstra), he ordered Bharata to teach the science to his (one hundred) sons. Bharata thus learned the Nāṭyaveda from Brahmā, and then made his sons study and learn its proper application. After their study, Bharata assigned his sons (eg., Yama) various roles suitable to them.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Yama (यम) refers to a deity that was once worshipped in ancient Kashmir (Kaśmīra) according to the Nīlamatapurāṇa.—Yama is the son of the god Sun, he is lord of the dead. His seven names are: Yama, Dharmarāja, Mṛtyu, Antaka, Vaivasvata, Kāla and Sarvaprāṇahara. Dhūmrorṇā who is the wife of Yama according to the Mahābhārata and the Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa is mentioned in the Nīlamata, but her relation to Yama is not pointed out. Four places dedicated to Yama have been mentioned in the Nīlamata.

Source: archive.org: Nilamata Purana: a cultural and literary study

1) Yama (यम).—Kāla. (For more details see under Kāla).

2) Yāma (याम).—A band of special gods of the Svāyambhuva Manvantara (See under Manvantara).

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Yama (यम).—(Vaivasvata) the Lord of Pitṛs; punishes men after death according to their actions, sinful or otherwise.1 A son of Vivasvat (Sūrya) and Samjñā; explains the nature of dharma and the glory of Hari to his messengers (Yamadūtas). Appeared in the form of a child before the queen and the subjects of Suyajña weeping over his dead body and showed the truth that no amount of wailing would bring the dead back to life;2 welcomed Rāma and Kṛṣṇa and fulfilled their desire by restoring Sāndipāni's son; presented Pṛṭhu with a rod of justice. Punished Nṛga to be a lizard for having given a cow of a Brahmaṇa as a gift to another, and as the owner refused to accept the apologies and compensation offered by Nṛga;3 fought with Kālanābha in the Devāsura war; rode on buffalo to help Indra against Kṛṣṇa taking away pārijāta, but discomfited, ran away in fear;4 his authority set aside in the case of Ajāmila. Dhruva is said to have set his foot on his head; was a Śudra for a hundred years owing to a curse;5 His penance at Gokarṇa and Śiva made him lokapāla; his city being Samyamana; represents the planet Śanaiścara; served as calf for Pitṛs milking the earth; Dharmarāja; Lord of three deva gaṇas— Amarttas, Aprakāśas, and Jyotiṣmantas;6 narrated to Śaśabindu varieties of śrāddha; protested against the ill-treatment by his stepmother Chāyā and was cursed by her to lose his legs. [Cursed his legs to be sores and worms. His father gave him a cock to eat them. m.p.]. The father assured their restoration after a temporary loss; overlord of Pitṛs.7 in charge of hells;8 buffalo, his riding animal;9 his active part in Tripuram, defeated by Kālanemi;10 burnt with Kāma and attained godhood again by pleasing Śankara by tapas;11 dialogue of, with his servant about those who could not be taken to his region.12 acted as calf when Antaka milked the cow-earth; other names of; world of;13 in the war against Tāraka: war with Grasana and the latter's success.14 saṃvāda with Sāvitrī; the latter's praise of;15 Kāla and Mṛtyu are assistants; god to be worshipped in house building.16 Image of, with Citragupta by the side; gift of buffalo pleasing to;17 (Dharmarāja): a golden image of him standing on a copper plate to be given to guru in Saptamīsvapana;18 weapon of daṇḍa, used by, in the battle of Tripuram;19 seen by Sāvitrī while taking the life of her husband; blessed her with three requests of hers and finally the life of her husband;20 meting out justice impartially;21 father of two daughters Upadānavī and Himā.22

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 26. 6; Matsya-purāṇa 8. 5; Vāyu-purāṇa 62. 186; 65. 52; 70. 8; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 22. 5.
  • 2) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 6. 40; VIII. 13. 9; VI. 3. 12-34; VII. 2. 36-58;
  • 3) Ib. X. 45. 42-6; IV. 15. 15; III. 30. 23; X. 64. 16-24.
  • 4) Ib. VIII. 10. 29; X. [65 (v) 41]; [66 (v) 33-5]; Viṣṇu-purāṇa V. 30. 60; VI. 5. 44.
  • 5) Bhāgavata-purāṇa VI. 3. 2; IV. 12. 30; I. 13. 15.
  • 6) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 21. 31; 24. 49; 29. 65; 36. 208; III. 1. 52; 7. 253 and 330; 13. 72; Matsya-purāṇa 93. 14; 266. 21 and 63; Vāyu-purāṇa 50. 88; 69. 215; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 8. 9; III. 7. 19, 35.
  • 7) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 18. 1; 24. 4; 59. 23, 52-80; Matsya-purāṇa 11. 4-20.
  • 8) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 2. 151; 7. 54.
  • 9) Matsya-purāṇa 67. 11.
  • 10) Ib. 133. 63; 137. 32; 138. 25; 177. 50.
  • 11) Ib. 191. 112-4.
  • 12) Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 6. 6; III. 7. 5, 13-20.
  • 13) Matsya-purāṇa 10. 19; 31. 12; 93. 14; 102. 22-3; 124. 22; 146. 77.
  • 14) Ib. 148. 79-81; 150. 1-49; Viṣṇu-purāṇa III. 2. 2.
  • 15) Matsya-purāṇa 211. 14-28 and ch. 213 (whole).
  • 16) Ib. 250. 46; 253. 25.
  • 17) Ib. 261. 12; 268. 13.
  • 18) Ib. 68. 20.
  • 19) Ib. 135. 77.
  • 20) Ib. 210. 5, chh. 211-14.
  • 21) Ib. 213. 3.
  • 22) Vāyu-purāṇa 68. 23; 69. 61; 75. 56; 82. 1; 101. 150, 286; 106, 46; 108. 4 and 31; 110 10 and 38.

1b) A Yājñiya god.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 36. 33.

1c) A muhūrta of the night.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 3. 42.

1d) A Sukha god.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 1. 18.

1e) A son of Havirdhāna.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 4. 45.

1f) An Āditya.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 6. 4.

1g) The father of Ilinā, (s.v.).*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 49. 9.

1h) A Vasu; a son of Dharma and Sudevī.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 171. 47.

1i) The agent of a class of devas.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 10. 72.

1j) The son of Sureṇu and Vivasvan; ill-treated by stepmother Chāyā, was about to kick her when she cursed him that he would lose his leg; he became Dharmarāja, lord of Pitṛs and Protector of the world.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 84. 22, 56-61.

1k) A mukhya gaṇa.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 100. 18.

1l) Prescriptions.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 104. 14.

2) Yāma (याम).—The twelve devas born of Yajña and Dakṣiṇā and waited on Hariyajña;1 they are Yadu, Yayāti, Vivadha, Srāsata, Mati, Vibhāsa, Kratu, Prayāti, Viśruta, Dyuti, Vāyavya and Samyama,2 born in the epoch of Svāyambhuva Manu.3

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa I. 3. 12; VIII. 1. 18.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 9. 45; 13. 89-90; Vāyu-purāṇa 10. 20; 31. 3, 6-7.
  • 3) Matsya-purāṇa 9. 3; 51. 40; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 7. 21; 12. 12.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Katha (narrative stories)

Yama (यम).—Yama also called Daṇḍa and Antaka bas been mentioned fifty times in Ṛgveda and three whole hymns are dedicated to him in the 1st and the 10th maṇḍalas. He gives bliss to the good and woe to the bad in Ṛgveda. He is the god of death who destroys the world.

Yama in his epithet Antaka or Kṛtānta has been referred to by Soḍḍhala as devouring the worlds, Bhuvanabhojin and also bearing the deadly daṇḍa.

Source: Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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Itihasa (narrative history)

Yama (यम).—In the Mahābhārata (XII.92: 38), Yama is subordinate to Śiva by whose appointment he becomes Lord of the Ancestors (Pitṛpati)—in other words Yama loses his automatic right to this position which he had initially earned through blazing a trail to the underworld as the first mortal. He does however gain compensation in other areas.

Source: Institute of Buddhist Studies: Buddhist Forum, Volume 4 (itihasa)

Yama (यम) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. IX.44.15, IX.44.27) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Yama) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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Itihasa (इतिहास, itihāsa) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Puranas, 2) the Mahabharata and 3) the Ramayana. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smriti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to shruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).

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Vedanta (school of philosophy)

In the Katha Upanishad, Yama is portrayed as a teacher. He is the father of Yudhisthira (also known as Dharmaraja), the oldest brother of the 5 Pandavas (Karna was born prior to Kunti's wedlock, so technically Karna is Yudhishthira's older brother) and is said to have incarnated as Vidura by some accounts in the Mahabharata period.

Source: WikiPedia: Upanishads
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Vedanta (वेदान्त, vedānta) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. There are a number of sub-schools of Vedanta, however all of them expound on the basic teaching of the ultimate reality (brahman) and liberation (moksha) of the individual soul (atman).

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Shaktism (Shakta philosophy)

Yama (यम) refers to one of the 53 gods to be worshipped in the southern quarter and given pāyasa (rice boiled in milk) according to the Vāstuyāga rite in Śaktism (cf. Śāradātilaka-tantra III-V). The worship of these 53 gods happens after assigning them to one of the 64 compartment while constructing a Balimaṇḍapa. Vāstu is the name of a prodigious demon, who was killed by 53 gods (eg., Yama).

Source: Wisdom Library: Śāktism

Yama (यम) is explained by Lakṣmaṇadeśika in his 11th-century Śaradātilaka.—While the Yogasūtras list five yamas and five niyamas (2.30, 2.32), the Śaradātilaka lists ten each (7–9ab). The ten yamas are specified as abstaining from harming others, truthfulness, refraining from theft, celibacy, forbearance, sincerity, patience/forgiveness, steadfastness, moderation in eating, and purity. Lakṣmaṇadeśika’s lists are similar to the ones found in later texts, such as the Yogakāṇḍa of the Vasiṣṭha-saṃhitā, and in Yoga-upaniṣads (e.g. Darśana-upaniṣad 1.6 and 2.1, Śāṇḍilya-upaniṣad 1.4 and 2.1, Varāha-upaniṣad 5.12cd–14ab and Triśikhibrāhmaṇa-upaniṣad 2.32cd–34ab).

Source: academia.edu: The Śāradātilakatantra on Yoga
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Shakta (शाक्त, śākta) or Shaktism (śāktism) represents a tradition of Hinduism where the Goddess (Devi) is revered and worshipped. Shakta literature includes a range of scriptures, including various Agamas and Tantras, although its roots may be traced back to the Vedas.

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

1) Yama (यम).—One of pair, a twin letter available in pronunciation before a nasal letter and similar to it, when the nasal consonant is preceded by any one of the four consonants of the five classes; a transitional sound intervening between a non-nasal and the following nasal as a counterpart of the n6n-nasal; cf. वर्गेष्वाद्यानां चेतुर्णो पञ्चमे परे मध्ये यमो नाम पूर्वसदृशो वर्णः प्रातिशाख्ये प्रसिद्धः (vargeṣvādyānāṃ ceturṇo pañcame pare madhye yamo nāma pūrvasadṛśo varṇaḥ prātiśākhye prasiddhaḥ) S.K. on P.VIII. l.1;

2) Yama.—Name given to the seven musical notes, found in the singing of Saaman; cf. मन्द्रमध्यमत्राख्येषु त्रिषु वाचः स्थानेषु प्रत्येकं सत स्थरभेदा भवन्ति कुष्टप्रथमद्वितीयतृतीयचतुर्थमन्द्रातित्वार्यः यमाः (mandramadhyamatrākhyeṣu triṣu vācaḥ sthāneṣu pratyekaṃ sata stharabhedā bhavanti kuṣṭaprathamadvitīyatṛtīyacaturthamandrātitvāryaḥ yamāḥ) ' T. Pr. XXIII. 13,14.

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Yama (यम, “self-restraint”) forms part of the ancient Indian education system, which aimed at both the inner and the outer dimension of a person. Students living with the teacher (Guru or Ācārya) led a life of self-control, abstinence, obedience and devotion and regulated their lives by adhering to yama (self-restraint) and niyama (five observances), that is, śauca — purity of body, mind, thought; santoṣa — positive contentment; tapas — austerity; svādhyāya — self-study, introspection; and īśvarapraṇidhāna — faith in and surrender to the gods.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Education: Systems & Practices
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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Shilpashastra (iconography)

Yama (यम) is one of the Aṣṭadikpālaka (“eight guardians of the directions”), as defined according to texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The hand poses for the eight dikpālas (guardians of directions) are described in the Abhinayadarpaṇa and they are followed in the dance performance. Yama is found holding a club in his left hand near the left shoulder and in the right hand holding the rope of the buffalo on which he rides. In Abhinayadarpaṇa, the hastas described for Yama are as follows: When the left and the right hands hold pāśa and sūcī-hastas respectively, then it is yama-hasta. If the left hand assumes sūcī-hasta and is placed above the shoulder while the right hand holding alapadma-hasta indicates offering of piṇḍas (balls of rice) to Pitṛs (manes), then it is called yama-hasta. When the left hand assumes sūcī-hasta and is placed on the left shoulder while the right hand holds alapallava-hasta on the chest, then also it is called yama-hasta.

Yama can also be depicted with muṣṭi-mudrā in the left hand as if holding the gadā and kapittha-mudrā in the right hand as if holding the pāśa. This position of the hands for Yama is not mentioned in Abhinayadarpaṇa.

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Yama (यम, “binder, restraint”):—He is the vedic deity of death and judges them before his throne. He represents the embodiment of righteousness (Dharma). He is the son of Vivasvat, the Sun God, his brother is Manu and his twin sister is Yamī. He is married to ten daughters of Dakṣa (‘ritual skill’) and lives in Samyamini with his scribe Citragupta.

Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

Yama (यम) denotes ‘twins’, the birth of which is frequently alluded to in Vedic literature. Twins of different sex seem to be indicated by the expression yamau mithunau. There are traces of the belief—widely spread among negro and other races—that twins are uncanny and of evil omen, but there are also vestiges of the opposite opinion, that twins are lucky.

Source: archive.org: Vedic index of Names and Subjects

Yama (the Binder) is the god of death, the sovereign of the infernal regions. The wrathful one, who judges the dead, whom his messengers drag before his throne. He is the embodiment of righteousness (Dharma) and the king- of-justice (dharma-rāja). He is, however, compassionate. In the Vedas, Yama is the First Ancestor and the king-of- Ancestors (pitṛ-rāja). He rules over the kingdom of the dead where the Ancestors dwell. He is also the king-of- ghosts (preta-rāja).

Yama is the son of the resplendent Sun god —Vivasvat (Rig Veda 10.14.5), the embodiment of social morality represented as one of the aspects of the Sun and envisaged as the progenitor of humankind. Yama's brother is the Lawgiver, Manu, who shares with him the title of progenitor of humankind.

Source: Red Zambala: Iconography of the Vedic Deities

Yama (यम) is called Death (mṛtyu) and Ender (antaka); he is now the god of Death itself, not merely god of the dead. He grows in significance and menace along with the doctrine of transmigration which, in the Brāhmaṇas, is invariably seen as an unpleasant succession of deaths:

“Verily there are deaths connected with all the worlds and were he not to offer oblations to them, Death would get hold of him in every world; when he offers oblations to the Deaths he wards off death in every world.” (Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa XIII, 5.1.2)

As Death Yama has knowledge of death and knowledge of the means of escaping its clutches. Occasionally, he can be made to reveal aspects of this knowledge, which he does in ways which belie his dread nature.

Source: Institute of Buddhist Studies: Buddhist Forum, Volume 4 (hinduism)

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

The god of death. (See, e.g., DhA.iii.337; Yamassa santikam = Maranasantikam).

When beings die they are led before him to be judged according to their deeds. Birth, old age, illness, punishment for crime and death, are regarded as his messengers, sent among men as a warning to abstain from ill and do good. Yama questions beings brought before him as to whether they have seen these messengers and profited by them. If the answer is in the negative, the nirayapalas take them away to the different hells (M.iii.179ff).

In the Mahasamaya Sutta (D.ii.259) mention is made of two Yamas (duve Yama), which the Commentary explains (DA.ii.690) by dve Yamakadevata (the twins, whom Rhys Davids calls the Castor and Pollux of Indian Mythology, in Dial.ii.290, n.1). Elsewhere (AA.i.374; MA.ii.953) Buddhaghosa speaks of four Yamas (im c esa eko va hoti, catusu pana dvaresu cattaro jana honti) at the four gates (of the Nirayas?). He says that Yama is a Vemanikapetaraja, who sometimes enjoys all the pleasures of heaven, in a celestial mansion, surrounded by kapparukkhas, and at other times experiences the fruits of his kamma. He is a good king.

In the Jatakas* the Nirayas are particularly mentioned as Yamas abode (Yamakkhaya, Yamanivesana, Yamasadana, etc.); but, more generally, all Samsara is considered as subject to Yamas rule, and escape from samsara means escape from Yamas influence, Yama being the god of Death. It is evidently in this sense that Yama is called Vesayi (q.v.) (J.ii.317, 318). Yama is sometimes mentioned** with Indra, Varuna, Soma, Pajapati, etc., as a god to whom sacrifices are offered. There is a tradition (A.i.142) that once Yama longed to be born as a human being and to sit at the feet of a Tathagata.

Yamas Nayanayudha is mentioned (SNA.i.225) among the most destructive of weapons.

* E.g., J.ii.318; iv.273; v.268, 274, 304. The Vetarani is mentioned as forming the boundary of Yamas kingdom (i.21; J.ii.317; iii.472; but see ii.318). At J.iv.405, Yamas abode is called Ussadaniraya. DhA.i.334 explains Yamaloka by Catubbidham apayalokam. Cp. PvA.33 (Yamaloko ti petaloko); ibid., 107 (Yamavisayam = Petalokam).

** E.g., J.vi.201; D.i.244; at Mil.37 the list includes Kuvera, Suyama and Santusita; cp. Mtu i.265; iii.68, 77; 77, 307.

-- or --

1. Yama. A class of Devas, mentioned in lists of devas between those of Tavatimsa and those of Tusita (E.g., Vin.i.12, A.i.228; iii.287; M.ii.194; iii.100, etc.). Two hundred years of human life are but one day to the Yama deva, and two thousand Years, composed of such days, form their life period (A.i.213; iv.253). Sirima, sister of Jivaka, was born after death in the Yama world and became the wife of Suyama, king of

Yamabhavana. From there she visited the Buddha with five hundred others. SNA i.244f.; see also VvA.246 for an upasaka born in the Yama world.Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

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Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Yama (यम).—Protector deity of the southern cremation ground.—Yama is associated with the south and with the sun (vivasvat, descended from Sūrya), hence he is also Vaivasvata (Guhyasamayasādhanamālā 34) or “Yamavaivasvata”. He is also god of death, Kāla, whose agents brings departed souls to Yamapurī. Iconographically, the Śmaśānavidhi describes Yama as mounted on a buffalo (mahiṣārūḍha), black, red-eyed, fat, fearsome, holding a stick/cudgel (daṇḍa) and a skull bowl.

Source: Google Books: Vajrayogini

Yama (यम) is the name of the protector (dikpati) associated with Subhīṣaṇa: the southern cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Vajravārāhī-sādhana by Umāpatideva as found in te Guhyasamayasādhanamālā. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.

These protectors (eg., Yama) are variously known as dikpati, dikpāla and lokāpala and can be traced to purāṇic legends where eight protectors are assigned to each direction by Brahmā. According to the Śmaśānavidhi verse 20, these protectors are in union with their wives and have four arms, two of which make the añjali gesture of obeisance, while the second pair usually holds a skull bowl and a tantric weapon. They are variously depicted upon their respective mounts, or sitting at the base of the tree.

The Guhyasamayasādhanamālā by Umāptideva is a 12th century ritualistic manual including forty-six Buddhist tantric sādhanas. The term sādhana refers to “rites” for the contemplation of a divinity.

Source: Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Yāma (याम) is part of the six groups of Gods inhabiting the Kāmadhātu (the first of the three worlds), according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter 32-34. The six classes of gods of the desire realm (kāmadhātu), attached to the five desirable objects, will fall into the hells (niraya) and be subjected to all the sufferings.

The Yāma gods represents one of the seven destination of rebirths in kāmadhātu, according to chapter XLIX, “[...] another, of pure generosity and morality, who loves to learn and whose mind is gentle, is reborn among the Yāma gods”.

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Mahayana book cover
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Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

Yama (यम) refers to the second of the “eight world protectors” (aṣṭalokapāla) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 8). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., aṣṭalokapāla and Yama). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

Yama is, besides one of the “eight world protectors” (aṣṭalokapāla), one of the “ten world protectors” (daśalokapāla) and one of the “fourteen world protectors” (caturdaśalokapāla).

Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

yama : (m.) the ruler of the kingdom of the dead. || yāma (m.), a watch of the night; 1/3 of a night.

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

1) Yama, 3 (m. nt.) (Vedic yama=yama2; fr. yam in meaning “to combine, ” cp. Av. y&schwamacr; ma twin, Mir. emuin id. ) (nt.) a pair, (m.) a twin Abhp 628. See der. yamaka. (Page 551)

2) Yama, 2 (Vedic Yama) the ruler of the kingdom of the dead. See details in Dicty. of Names. In cpds. often in general sense of “death” or “manes, ” or “petā”; e.g. —dūta Death’s messenger Sdhp. 287; cp. Yamassa dūtā Vv 522 (see VvA. 224), or deva-dūta A. I, 138 (see under dūta), alias niraya-pāla A. I, 138 and passim. —purisa (a)=°dūta Dh. 235 (cp. DhA. III, 335); VvA. 223; (b) °purisā Yama-people, i.e. Petas Pv IV. 33 (cp. PvA. 251). —loka the yama-world or world of the Petas Dh. 44, 45; PvA. 107 & freq. —visaya=°loka Pv. II, 82 & passim. —sādana Y’s kingdom, or the realm of the dead J. VI, 267, 304; VI, 457, 505. (Page 550)

3) Yama, 1 (fr. yam) restraint PvA. 98 (+niyama). (Page 550)

— or —

Yāma, (fr. yam in both meanings of yamati & yama3) 1. restraint, only as cpd. cātu-yāma 4—fold restraint D. I, 57; III, 48; S. I, 66; M. I, 377; Vism. 416. Cp. Dial. I. 751.—2. a watch of the night. There are 3 watches, given as paṭhama, majjhima & pacchima (first, middle & last) Nd1 377 sq.; or purima, m. & pacchima Nd2 631 (under sadā).—A. I, 114; IV, 168; Dh. 157 (one of the 3; interpreted as the 3 vayas at DhA. III, 138); J. I, 243 (tīsu yāmesu ekasmiṃ yāme); Mhvs 21, 33; PvA. 217, 280.—3. (usually pl. Yāmā devā) one who belongs to Yama or the ruler of the Underworld; a subject of Yama; the realm of Yama;— pl. inhabitants of Yamaloka A. I, 210 (yāmā devā); SnA 244 (°bhavana the abode of the Y.); KhA 166 (Yāmato yāva Akaniṭṭhaṃ from the Underworld to the Highest Heaven); Vism. 225 (Yāmā); VbhA. 519 (Yāmā); VvA. 246 (id.); ThA. 169 (Y. devā).

—kālika of a restricted time, for a (relatively) short period (lit.) only for one watch of the night, but longer than yāva-kālika temporary. It is one of the three regulation-terms for specified food, viz. y. —k. sattāhakālika & yāvajīvika, or short period, of a week’s duration, and life-long food Vin. IV, 83, 86, 176, 311; to which is added yāva-kālika, temporary at Vin. I, 251 (where mutual relations of the 4 are discussed). —gaṇḍika(ṃ) koṭṭeti to beat the block of restraint (?), i.e. exercise self-control (?) (or does it belong to yāma 3?) KhA 233. (Page 554)

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

yama (यम).—m (S) Yama, the deity that judges the dead, and sends them, according to their deeds, to Swarg or Narak, Elysium or Tartarus. He corresponds with Pluto or Minos. In common use Yama is understood simply as the Punisher of the wicked. 2 Hence applied to a fierce, savage, pitiless man. yamācēṃ bulāviṇēṃ The summons of Yama; the call of Death. 2 fig. A summons from a very rigorous or severe person; any irresistible, imperative, and strongly disagreeable call or occasion.

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yama (यम).—m S Restraining, confining, controlling. (As distinguished from niyama Any religious and voluntary observance.) Restraint or government of the senses, affections, and passions. 2 The eight great observances or courses incumbent upon one who would work out his salvation (i. e. emancipation from personality and absorption into Brahma) are yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhyāna, dhāraṇā, samādhi. 3 A common term for five great acts or excellencies; viz. Refraining from violence, patience, sincerity, obedience to a Guru, observance of all purificatory ceremonies.

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yama (यम).—a S Twin, fellow, one of a pair or brace.

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yāma (याम).—m S The eighth part of a day; a watch of three hours. 2 Forbearance. 3 Cessation or desisting.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

yama (यम).—m The god of hell. A pitiless man. Confining, restraining. yamācēṃ bōlāvaṇēṃ The call of death. yamācyā dāḍhēnta paḍaṇēṃ-asaṇēṃ Be under or fall under some great tormentor or trouble.

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yama (यम).—a Twin, fellow.

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yāma (याम).—m The eighth part of a day Forbearance.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Yama (यम).—a. [yam-ghañ]

1) Twin, twinborn.

2) Coupled.

-maḥ 1 Restraining, controlling, curbing; यमो राजा धार्मिकाणां मान्धातः परमेश्वरः (yamo rājā dhārmikāṇāṃ māndhātaḥ parameśvaraḥ) Mb.12.91.42.

2) Control, restraint.

3) Self control.

4) Any great moral or religious duty or observance (opp. niyama); तप्तं यमेन नियमेन तपोऽमुनैव (taptaṃ yamena niyamena tapo'munaiva) N.13.16; यमनियमकृशीकृतस्थिराङ्गः (yamaniyamakṛśīkṛtasthirāṅgaḥ) Ki.1. 1. (yama and niyama are thus distinguished:-śarīrasādhanāpekṣaṃ nityaṃ yat karma tad yamaḥ | niyamastu sa yat karma nityamāgantusādhanam || Ak.2.49; See Malli. on Śi.13.23 and Ki.1.1 also. The yamas are usually said to be ten, but, their names are given differently by different writers; e. g. brahmacaryaṃ dayā kṣāntirdānaṃ satyamakalkatā | ahiṃsā'steyamādhurye damaśceti yamāḥ smṛtāḥ || Y.3.312; or ānṛśaṃsyaṃ dayā satyamahiṃsā kṣāntirārjavam | prītiḥ prasādo mādhuryaṃ mārdavaṃ ca yamā daśa || sometimes only five yamas are mentioned:-ahiṃsā satyavacanaṃ brahmacaryamakalkatā | asteyamiti pañcaite yamākhyāni vratāni ca ||).

5) The first of the eight aṅgas. or means of attaining Yoga; the eight aṅgas are:-यमनियमासनप्राणायामप्रत्याहारधारणाध्यानसमाधयोऽ- ष्टाङ्गानि (yamaniyamāsanaprāṇāyāmapratyāhāradhāraṇādhyānasamādhayo'- ṣṭāṅgāni); Śāndilya Up.1.1.2.

6) The god of death, death personified, regarded as a son of the sun; he presides over the पितृ (pitṛ)s and rules the spirits of the dead; दत्ताभये त्वयि यमादपि दण्डधारे (dattābhaye tvayi yamādapi daṇḍadhāre) U.2.11.

7) A twin; धर्मात्मजं प्रति यमौ च (dharmātmajaṃ prati yamau ca) (i. e. nakulasahadevau) कथैव नास्ति (kathaiva nāsti) Ve.2.25; यमयो- श्चैव गर्भेषु जन्मतो ज्येष्ठता मता (yamayo- ścaiva garbheṣu janmato jyeṣṭhatā matā) Ms.9.126.

8) One of a pair or couple, a fellow.

9) Name of Saturn.

1) A crow.

11) A symbolical expression for the number 'two'.

12) Ved. A rein, bridle; पृष्ठे सदो नसोर्यमः (pṛṣṭhe sado nasoryamaḥ) Ṛv.5. 61.2.

13) Ved. A driver, charioteer; अग्निं रथानां यमम् (agniṃ rathānāṃ yamam) Ṛv.8.13.1.

14) Name of a deity who chastises beings for their misdeeds; यमं कालं च मृत्युं च स्वर्गं संपूज्य चार्हतः (yamaṃ kālaṃ ca mṛtyuṃ ca svargaṃ saṃpūjya cārhataḥ) Mb.12.2.3.

-mam 1 A pair or couple.

2) (In gram.) The twin letter of any consonant.

3) Pitch of the voice.

-mī Name of the river Yamunā.

-mau (m. du.)

1) Twins; कथं त्वमेतौ धृतिसंयमौ यमौ (kathaṃ tvametau dhṛtisaṃyamau yamau) Ki.1. 36.

2) Name of the Aśvins; यमौ यमोपमौ चैव ददौ दानान्यनेकशः (yamau yamopamau caiva dadau dānānyanekaśaḥ) Mb.14.61.38.

3) Nakula and Sahadeva; भीमार्जुनयमा- श्चापि तद्युक्तं प्रतिपेदिरे (bhīmārjunayamā- ścāpi tadyuktaṃ pratipedire) Mb.3.6.14. °मैथुनौ (maithunau) twins of different sex.

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Yāma (याम).—a. (- f.) Relating to Yama; तेनानुभूयता यामीः शरीरेणेह यातनाः (tenānubhūyatā yāmīḥ śarīreṇeha yātanāḥ) Ms.12.17; मा भैर्मन्द मनो विचिन्त्य बहुधा यामीश्चिरं यातनाः (mā bhairmanda mano vicintya bahudhā yāmīściraṃ yātanāḥ) Mukundamālā 1.

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Yāma (याम).—[yam-ghañ]

1) Restraint, forbearance, control; लेखाः सुयामास्तुषिता ब्रह्मकायाः (lekhāḥ suyāmāstuṣitā brahmakāyāḥ) Mb.13.18.74.

2) A watch, one eighth part of a day, a period of three hours; अविदितगतयामा रात्रिरेव व्यरंसीत् (aviditagatayāmā rātrireva vyaraṃsīt) U.1.27; पश्चिमाद् यामिनीयामात् प्रसादमिव चेतना (paścimād yāminīyāmāt prasādamiva cetanā) R.17.1; so यामवती, त्रियामा (yāmavatī, triyāmā) &c.

3) Going, proceeding.

4) Motion, course.

5) Ved. A road.

6) Progress.

7) A car, carriage.

8) A class of gods; यामैः परिवृतो देवैर्हत्वाऽशासत् त्रिविष्टपम् (yāmaiḥ parivṛto devairhatvā'śāsat triviṣṭapam) Bhāg.8.1.18.

Derivable forms: yāmaḥ (यामः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 619 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Prāṇāyāma (प्राणायाम, “breath control”) refers to one of the six members (aṅga) of the Ṣaḍaṅgay...
Yamadūta (यमदूत).—One of the Brahmavādī sons of Viśvāmitra. (Mahābhārata Anuśāsana Parva, Chapt...
Yamāntaka (यमान्तक).—an epithet of 1) Śiva. 2) of Yama. Derivable forms: yamāntakaḥ (यमान्तकः)....
Suyama (सुयम).—Third son of the Rākṣasa called Śataśṛṅga. Sudeva, the army-chief of King Ambarī...
Yamadaṇḍa (यमदण्ड) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter, ...
Yamaghaṇṭa (यमघण्ट) participated in the war between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, on the side of the latter,...
Yamayātanā (यमयातना).—the tortures inflicted by Yama upon sinners after death, (the word is som...
Yamadaṃṣṭrā (यमदंष्ट्रा).—'Yama's tooth', the jaws of death. -ṣṭrāḥ pl.) the last eight days of...
Antaryāma (अन्तर्याम).—1) suppression of the breath and voice. 2) °पात्रम् (pātram), a sacrific...
Yamapuruṣa (यमपुरुष).—Yama's servant or minister. Derivable forms: yamapuruṣaḥ (यमपुरुषः).Yamap...
Yamavrata (यमव्रत).—1) an observance or vow made to Yama. 2) an impartial punishment (as given ...
Yamasabhā (यमसभा).—Yama’s assembly. This assembly is described in Mahābhārata, Sabhā Parva, Cha...
Yamakiṅkara (यमकिङ्कर).—a messenger of death. Derivable forms: yamakiṅkaraḥ (यमकिङ्करः).Yamakiṅ...
Yamadvitīyā (यमद्वितीया).—the second day in the bright half of Kārtika when sisters entertain t...
Ayātayāma (अयातयाम).—See Guruparamparā.

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