Letters of death by Lord Yama
What is your deepest desire? To be a millionaire, own the best sports car; find ‘Mills & Boon’ kind of love, or being aware of your death in advance, just so, you could finish up your impending wishes?
You may or may not get the rest, but you cannot deny that you definitely get a heads up before the death arrives. Yes, you do!
The god of death, Lord Yama, is also known as Lokpala (Guardian of all directions) of the South. According to Hindu legends, he was the first mortal to have died, but by the virtue of his precedence, Lord Shiva crowned him as the ruler of the departed.
Secret gateway to heaven or hell
It is believed that at time of death, Yamadoots arrives in to take along the soul from ‘Prithvi Lok’, to the gates of heaven and hell; where the soul is reprimanded for his Karmas in his life in front of Lord Yama.
Lord Yama, then decides the fate of the soul, whether to send it through hell or heaven. As per mentioned in ancient scriptures, Lord Yama promised one of his devout devotee, Amrita, to send letter of intimation before death.
Story of Yamraj and Amrita
Once lived a man named Amrita, in a village close to the banks of the River Yamuna, where he religiously performed austerities and atonement towards Lord Yama; for, he feared death. His purpose was to befriend Lord Yama, so as to keep death at a distance.
Giving up worldly pleasures
Aware of the real intention and impressed by Amrita, Lord Yama decided to grant him his vision, which was unlikely of him, as his glimpse is only granted to those who are in the arms of death.
Yamraj – Amrita samvad
He said, “I know by the aid of my divine powers that you seek to befriend me; your wish has come true. My presence is only available to those upon whose death my messengers or I take their souls to my domain.”
Then one day, in his sleep, he was surprised by the visit from Yamadoots. Startled, he searched his entire house to find the letter of death from Lord Yama.
Arrival of Yamdoots
He was angry over this betrayal, but as fate would have it, he was accosted to the Yamalok, in front of Lord Yama. Seeing him sitting with smile further enraged Amrita, who by now started accusing him of treachery.
He said, “You have betrayed me, you did not keep your word, you failed to send any warning letter and now you come in your fearful form to take me away. Are you not ashamed to thus deceive a friend?”
Lord Yama's final word
Lord Yama politely replied, “Your desire for pleasure made you blind, how then could you not see the letters which I had sent to you? Not one, but four letters were sent; you heeded them not.”
4 letters of death
Aghast by this information, Amrita said, “Four letters? But not one reached me! They may have gone astray in the post.”
Real signs of Death
To this Lord Yamaraj said, “Despite your cleverness, you were foolish enough to believe I would take up a pen and write to you. With your body as Paper, bodily changes as my Pen and time as my Messenger, O deluded mortal, I sent you four letters.”
“Years ago, your hair turned grey that was my first letter, when your teeth began to fall out that was my 2nd message, my third letter was sent when your eyesight failed, and the fourth when you became paralyzed.”
Rinsing your conscience
The moment our mind becomes conscious of the inevitable future, i.e. death, we must begin our journey to complete our Karmas- performing the worldly duties; and during the journey prepare ourselves for the 4 letters of Lord Yama.