MAMA. Yams is one of the deities in Hinduism. At first he was regarded as a man, the " first of mortals," corresponding, it would seem, to the Hebrew Adam. In course of time, however, he came to be regarded as the king of the dead, the god of departed spirits. In one of the hymns of the Rig Veda addressed to the " god of departed spirits " the following lines (as translated by Monier-Williams) occur : To Tama. mighty king, he gifts and homage paid. He was the first of men that died, the first to brave Death's rapid rushing stream, the first to point the road To heaven, and welcome others to that bright abode.
As the first man Yama had a twin sister Yami, and both of them were children of Vivasvat the Sun. The older mythology made Yami the wife also of Yama and the mother of mankind. When Yama became king of the dead his abode was the upper sky, and two four-eyed watch-dogs guarded the approach to it. Sometimes his
abode seems to be thought of as being actually in the sun. It is said, for instance : " my home is there where are the sun's rays." lama's friend and even messenger is Agni (q.v.). Finally Yama developed (e.g., in the Epic Poems) into the stern Judge who condemns and punishes the dead. He is " the Punisher," or " the King of Justice," or " the Rod-bearer," or the " Noose-bearer." He is represented sometimes as holding In his hand a noose, " with which he binds the spirit and its subtle frame after drawing it from the sick man's body " (Monier-Williams). But if a man dies with the wonder ful Tulasi plant near him, however many sins he may have committed, Yama cannot look upon him. See Monier-Williams; E. W. Hopkins.