Yama (Sanskrit: यम), also known as Yamarāja (यमराज) in India and Nepal, Shinje (གཤིན་རྗེ།) in Tibet, Yamano (야마노) in South Korea, Yanluowang (閻羅王) or simply Yan (閻) in China, and Enma Dai-Ō (閻魔大王) in Japan, is the lord of death, first recorded in the Vedas. The name Yanluo (simplified Chinese: 阎罗; traditional Chinese: 閻羅; pinyin: Yánluó; Wade–Giles: Yen-lo) is a shortened Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit term यम राज Yama Rājā, or "King Yama". Enma Dai-Ō is a further transliteration, meaning "Great King Yama", where Enma means Yama, Enma-Ō means Yama Rājā and Enma Dai-Ō would be equivalent to यम महाराज Yama Mahārāja.
Yama belongs to an early stratum of Vedic mythology. In Vedic tradition Yama was considered to have been the first mortal who died and espied the way to the celestial abodes, and in virtue of precedence he became the ruler of the departed. Yama's name can be interpreted to mean "twin", and in some myths he is paired with a twin sister Yamī.
Yama is a Lokapāla and an Aditya. In art, he is depicted with green or red skin, red clothes, and riding a water buffalo. He holds a loop of rope in his left hand with which he pulls the soul from the corpse. He is the son of Surya (Sun) and twin brother of Yami, or Yamuna, traditionally the first human pair in the Vedas. He was also worshiped as a son of Vivasvat and Saranya. He is one of the Guardians of the directions and represents the south. He reports to Lord Shiva the Destroyer, an aspect of Trimurti. Three hymns (10, 14, and 35) in the Rig Veda Book 10 are addressed to him. He has two dogs (cf. Hellhound) with four eyes and wide nostrils guarding the road to his abode. They are said to wander about among people as his messengers. There is a one of a kind temple in Srivanchiyam, Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to Yama.
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