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Studies in Yama and MāRa

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image of Indo-Iranian Journal

Ehni points out that in the Vedas there is a word y´ma (accent on initial) meaning “tamer, guider (especially of the carriage horse)”, and another word yam´ (accent on final) meaning “twin”. This latter word is the name of the deity Yama. The Taittirīya Samhitā gives this explanation: “The gods and Yama were at strife over this world; Yama appropriated (ayuvata) the power and strength of the gods; therefore Yama has his name.” The Brhaddevatā has this: “He giving (prayachan) offspring here, and gathering (them) goes forth (to the other world): therefore the seer Yama calls him, the son of Vivasvat, Yama.” In the epic, “He is called Yama, it being he who keeps mankind in check.”


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